Billy Carter

One of Korea’s most distinct cultural outputs, KPop is world renowned, and – led by the comic satire of Psy in recent years – has established a genuinely global audience, with the US, in particular, a huge market. Its stars, though, rarely appear in Ireland.

Rarer is a showing from a Korean rock act – in fact, it’s probably not even an annual event – and it’s a genre that two years living in Korea taught me is genuinely impressive. The arrival of Seoul act Billy Carter on our shores this May, then, marks an unusual event for the Dublin music scene. We caught up with singer Kim Ji Won ahead of their Whelan’s show at the end of this month.

A lively bunch, Korean psychedelic psychobilly rockers Billy Carter (빌리카터) find their spiritual home in the Seoul student district of Hongdae. That means they’re born out of Korea’s young rebellion: an escape from cultural conservatism, they developed amid an arts-focused drinking district, a party spot where the soju flows like water, and sweaty basement rock gigs are long the norm. Breaking out is less common.

Speaking of the rarity of getting gigs around the world for Korean acts – and particularly for Korean acts that fall distinctly apart from the Kpop genre – Billy Carter vocalist Kim Ji Won explains “Hongdae got extremely huge and full of tourists and local people who want to hang out. Rents got very, very expensive, and so many live venues had to shut down or move. Still there are more venues in the Hongdae area than in any other part of Seoul, but we can find good venues in other areas too. Hongdae is our local but the atmosphere changed a lot. Maybe it’s time to move on to the bigger world.”

It’s only May, yet many of both Ireland and Europe’s best festival offerings are now the preserve of those who bought early, or can afford the risky and overpriced world of the black ticketing market. Electric Picnic sold out without a single act announced. Glastonbury has undergone its annual (extremely brief) Spring resale and will offer no more. The biggest gigs of the summer – including U2 and Radiohead – have largely seen tickets fly.

The summer still holds plenty of promise for those music fans with a little less foresight, though, with some fantastic festival offerings still on sale both at home and abroad. As prime time for late ticket buyers arrives, we explore six of the best offerings you can still access, both at home and abroad…

Indiependence (€119) The steadily growing festival in Mitchelstown, County Cork has always had a monster of an atmosphere and well-curated quality deep into its lineup, in particular with its strong selection of local acts. Already on the last of their tickets for 2017, it’s a real bargain by Irish festival pricing standards, with the added bonus of being walking distance from the town’s pubs (where you’ll also find an additional music trail).

Starring: Manic Street Preachers, Frank Turner, The Coronas, All Tvvins, Tom Odell and The Riptide Movement.

Roskilde (€269) One of only a handful of European festivals to hold a torch to legendary Somerset offering Glastonbury, Danish super-fest Roskilde is also one of the most expensive festivals to get through the gates of, but makes up for it with eight days of camping for your money. Highlights of that extended stay (which sees punters build their own villages amid the tents) include the traditional naked race, a penchant for the unusual when it comes to music, and a truly stellar headline line up. As well as the music, it comes with countless artsy zones and a charitable philosophy.

Starring: Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, A Tribe Called Quest, The Weeknd, The XX and Blink-182.

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