Take Your Pick

Two Korean concert promoters have each scheduled a major rock festival on the same weekend (July 24-26), forcing local rock fans to decide between the two.

Yellow 9’s new Jisan Valley Rock Festival will feature such major international artists as Weezer and Oasis, while the fourth Pentaport fest, organized by IYESCOM, will mostly offer underground Korean acts as well as local punk superstars No Brain as a headliner.

The face-off is ironic because both organizations joined together in 2006 to create Pentaport, which is held in Incheon, the port city located just west of Seoul.

The festival started in 1999, when it was called the Tri-Port Festival. However, that year’s event was canceled thanks to extreme weather conditions.

Pentaport has since become the nation’s premier rock festival. Last year it attracted 50,000 people, with foreign fans making up about 20 percent of the audience.

According to the Korea Herald newspaper, the split was finalized when Yellow 9 broke its contract with IYESCOM to start its own festival.

What particularly annoyed IYESCOM is that Yellow 9 also registered the Pentaport brand name and trademark rights without notifying IYESCOM it was doing so.

“For three years we have been 600 million won in the red and the only reason we registered the rights to the festival was due to IYESCOM’s demands for exclusivity without including the city of Incheon or the other third party organizations that took part in the festival’s production as co-holders of the rights to the Pentaport name,” a Yellow 9 representative told the paper.

Yellow 9 says it will return the rights once IYESCOM agrees to share it with others.

If the company’s scheme sounds like blackmail, Yellow 9 admits that its main reasons come down to money. It says that IYESCOM owes it for “losses we met from our participation in the previous editions of the festival.”

It told the newspaper that it has every intention of returning the rights to the Pentaport name to the city of Incheon and IYESCOM. For its part, IYESCOM claims it has no financial obligations toward Yellow 9, but even if it did that would not give Yellow 9 the right to “hoard the rights” to the Pentaport name.

In the meantime, fans are left in the lurch. Since IYESCOM has already established a festival that always takes place on the last weekend of July, it says that moving the dates would damage its reputation.

But it was Yellow 9 that managed to secure Weezer and Oasis, who are playing the same weekend at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.

There is no way it can hold the festival on any other weekend if it wants those two artists.