Venurama – Where Shit Goes Down at the HBC Fest

In a previous article I made a comment on the venues and the fact that they really aren’t that bad. I mean it believe it or not. The venues are crucial to the HBC Fest and without them there wouldn’t be much of the Haebangchon we all know, let alone a festival to celebrate.

Over the years the venues have chopped and changed, some have been in and some have moved out, but these neighbourhood venues that rely on your day-to-day business happily pay out for this festival twice a year. The HBC Fest has brought a lot of business to Haebangchon, putting it more on the map than previously expected at the time. It is reasonable to suggest that the HBC Fest has brought the spotlight on Haebangchon as a home away from home for many westerners who live in and outside of Seoul.

So what of these venues?


Oh bar with the beautiful smelling jacks, what would Haebangchon be without you? This long standing home of foreign drinking changed its name some years ago to New Phillies, but that didn’t chase away the clientele and the bar has seen the neighbourhood grow around it. Phillies is the only bar that has participated in every festival, growing from a single upstairs venue to one that now hosts but acoustic and full band acts on two levels. Expect to queue for the toilet here, but don’t let that take away from your festivaling pleasure. The venue will feature a plethora of diversity with loads of festival regulars. Names I recognise are:

Jennifer Waeshcher

Mia Zepeda


Sejong Boys

Sticky Fingers (‘Stones cover band featuring half of the Forty Days former lineup)

Pinnacle and the Antidote (rock and rap)

Sotto Gamba (put on yisser dancin’ shoes)


Famous for its burgers, Jakoby’s will have to put eating to the side on October 9 as the focus will be on music. To be honest I’ve never really been here. I tried to get a seat once but the nice man behind the bar explained that there was around thirty people ahead of me waiting to get fed, so I’ll have to wait for another opportunity. Music wise, yer spoiled rotten also. There is a long list of festival regulars here with plenty of talent to shake your burger at. The one’s I know are:

John Valentine (he’s on the radio)

Two Guitars (LRD & Saggy John La T will show you how to play the guitar)

International Goat Breeders (no live goat breeding but how many will there be?)

Le Verte

Newest arrival to the fest, Le Verte is a fancy looking veranda equipped venue opposite Phillies that is conveniently painted green in case the name confuses you. I stood out drinking beers for a while watching the crowd at the last festival. This time I can actually watch the festival! Expect a chilled atmosphere inside with folky types:

Hippy Johnny (could be the same Saggy J La T of Two Guitar fame…)

Mississippi Dave (Known Dave for five years and always puts on a great show)

Yvon Malenfant (Known Yvon as long as Dave and always worth checking out)

Drunk Democracy (with a name like that, how could you not miss them?)

HBC Café

For me this place is new, but for some you think this bar had always been there. Run by Mikey you can expect to find plenty of your festival regulars holding up the bar when the fest isn’t on. This is a small but cosy venue with plenty of beer and friendly homestyle service with a smile. They have had a barbecue out front but we’re not sure if they know how to run it. This is another great spot for getting away from the crowd and enjoying a quality intimate live performance. Performers I reckon could be worth checking are:

Roger Peacock (banjo strumming tunes with possible all-star accompaniment)

Steve Goldman (all the from Iksan with several studio albums among other things)

Orange Tree

Under new management, the Orange Tree will hopefully maintain its reputation as a venue for alternative performances. With it’s wide open windows and ample seating space, the bar offers a great view of the action down on the street while the wide open stages gives plenty of room for manoeuvring and manipulating the environment, as could be seen by Actors Without Bard’ers Shakespearean performance last May. While there is no acting this October, there’s plenty of music and a lot of the acts are, as far as I can tell, new to the scene. Although I’m probably wrong. Regardless, never let this put you off attending as this stage mostly includes acoustic groups. It should prove to be interesting:

Zak Calloway (has played at practically every fest, not a rock star just likes to play)

Kenji Onizuka (from Japan, so he must be good, right?)

Johnny Red

Space Rhymne Continuum (I assume this is the rap)


Don’t let the bland white walls or the name of the bar fool you, the VFW is centre stage for the HBC Fest. The biggest venue and only place with its own stage, not forgetting the best sound-system at the festival; when the lights go out at the fest the VFW only deals out one flavour – LOUD ROCK! FUCKYEAH!!! Hold onto your ears and be prepared for plenty of energy because this is the stage to be at. Really, nothing much can be said about this venue, just go there and let it speak for itself. Featuring:

Drunk and Disorderly

The Tremors


Solitaire Love Affair

I’ve done my best to give as decent an account of all the venues. As for the artists I’ve mentioned, I’ll be doing my best to catch as many of them as possible, although I know that this isn’t possible. But don’t take my word for their quality, and whatever you do, move around the venues and catch as many as you can for the full experience!

Happy Festivaling!


Please support the HBC Fest’s partners

*New Phillies*

*Jakoby’s Burgers*



*Orange Tree*

*Le’ Vert*

*Deeleebob Music*


*Pita Time*

*Groove Magazine*

*Kobawoo Supermarket*


“Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”
– St. Oddball

(As with some previous posts, feel free to share it with others as much as you like, but remember who wrote it. Sure ye wouldn’t like it if I did it to you! Sound.)

2 thoughts on “Venurama – Where Shit Goes Down at the HBC Fest

  1. Whoaaaaaaaaa!!! That vid of me and Lance doing the “John’s English Pops” TV show …. hee heee hoo hoooo …. In my own defense, there were actually a hair stylist and a clothing coordinator on the studio set who forced me to follow their “concept” of hair and clothes. They did this by being very cute and I just couldn’t say “No” to them. Last time I watched that vid I got heartburn and a stye in my eye. Lance was good though, as usual.


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