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2012 Andong International Maskdance Festival

The traditional and modern dance groups from East and West come from far and wide to perform heart-pounding maskdances at the Andong International Maskdance Festival, and you can be a part of the performances.

The city of Andong, located in the province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, is most traditionally renowned as the center of culture and folk tradition with deep roots in Confucianism and Shamanism. It is also home to Hahoe Folk Village, the most well-known traditional village in Korea. The village was even inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010. This quiet and conservative city becomes the center of traditional and modern culture every autumn when thousands of people from all over the world gather together to enjoy the dance and music festivities.

(photo courtesy of Andong Festival Tourism Foundation)The Talchum performance at last year's festival (photo courtesy of Andong Festival Tourism Foundation)

The Andong International Maskdance Festival will celebrate its 16th annual fiesta for ten days from September 28 to October 7, at the Maskdance Park in downtown Andong and Hahoe Village. More than 150 amateur dance teams and 20 professional teams from Korea and abroad will take part. The teams are composed of artists from different ages, genres and nationalities, but they have come together as one through the common medium of the mask.


The festival first began in 1997 to recreate and preserve the region’s traditional cultural heritage. Over the past two millennia, Andong has become rich with socio-historical and religious heritage from different periods. It is a city of rich cultural and historical heritage such as the Hahoe Folk Village, as well as the center of famous Andong traditional games and performances such as Chajeon Nori (which involves two teams of hundreds of men competing together), Notdari Bapgi (a female version of Chajeon Nori), and Haengsang Nori (a demonstration of a funeral ceremony). This heritage is the basis of the Andong International Mask Dance Festival, and all of it is recreated at the event along with other masked performances, both traditional and modern.

(photo courtesy of Andong Festival Tourism Foundation)More than ten dance teams from abroad will take part this year (photo courtesy of Andong Festival Tourism Foundation).

There is no separation between the performers and the audience in Korean traditional folk performances. The performers are on the same floor as the audience, so naturally the spectators become part of the dance. All Korean dances at the festival are performed this way, making the festival an even greater draw. Performers often spontaneously play with the spectators, inviting them to participate.


The Andong Festival Tourism Foundation seeks to make the festival even more dynamic and colorful every year by organizing it around new themes and programs. The theme of this year’s festival is “The Festival of Adorable Devils.” Cute and devilish icons that can be seen in all cultures will materialize through the diverse masked performances. The stories of different devil characters in Eastern and Western folklore such as the Korean gumiho (nine-tailed fox) or the Western vampire will be recreated on different stages throughout the festival.

(photo courtesy of Andong Festival Tourism Foundation)The festival is enjoyed by visitors from all nationalities (photo courtesy of Andong Festival Tourism Foundation).

One of the highlights of the festival will be the Daedong Nanjang Parade. Visitors and performers will all wear masks of different shapes and colors and dance to the music. Men and women of all ages are invited to take part in what is considered the most exciting part of the festival.


Date: Sept 28 – Oct 7
Venue: Maskdance Theater & Hahoe Village, Andong
Admission fee: Fee for Maskdance Theater
- On site: Adults 5,000 KRW, Students and Children 4,000 KRW
- Pre-booking: Adults 4,000 KRW, Students and Children 2,000 KRW
* email to for ticket reservations
How to get there:
- Bus: From Seoul, take a bus at Dongbu Seoul Bus Terminal Station (Dong Seoul Bus Terminal Station on Subway Line 2) to Andong. From Andong’s Express Bus Terminal, you can walk to Maskdance Park: Turn left at the terminal and then go straight for about 15 minutes. To get to Hahoe Village, take bus 46 across the street from Andong Station.
- Train: Take the train from Cheongnyangni Station in Seoul to Andong Station. Visit for train schedule.
* For more information visit

Article from Korea Magazine (September 2012)

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