Badabie, cradle of Hongdae artists’ independent culture
Badabie, cradle of Hongdae artists’ independent culture
  • Lee Min-jeong
  • 승인 2011.11.18 13:12
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▲ The performance stage in Badabie is close to the seats, which allows vivid communication between fans and the performer.
A bit tucked away from the bustling Hongdae, Salon Badabie is located at Donggyo-dong 182-5 at Mapo-gu, not that far away from the main gate of Hongik University. Entering the salon, a dark, narrow stage appears. Performers of the night are pumped up and the audiences are feeling the music through their skin, captivated by the rock music. This stage might seem small in its size, but when considering what kinds of performances have gone through on Salon Badabie’s stage, nobody can say that this shabby-looking place is small nor disregard its unique culture.
Salon Badabie, which opened in December 2004, is a complex cultural space where all types of artists can perform their talents.
“I wanted to make a place where a special circus could be held, a place where sitcoms become the reality. Since circus attracts everyone, I wanted to make a circus floor for the artists,” said a poet and the owner of Badabie Woo-joong-dok-bo-haeng, which means “walking alone in the rain” in Korean.
As Salon Badabie offered its space and stage for artists every Thursday with no charge, a myriad of underground artists were “raised” by Badabie. Jang Jae-in, one of the four finalists on Korea’s one of the most popular audition program “Superstar K2,” and 10cm, a famous duet group in K-pop, are them.
Salon Badabie’s admission fees were the main source of Badabie’s revenue, but it was not enough to run the salon. The salon’s monthly rent sharply went up, about three times higher compared to that of 2004, and its utility bills were in arrears for months.
“I had to do part-time jobs and even went to construction sites to make money,” Woo-joong-dok-bo-haeng said. “The salon suffered from several financial difficulties and closure crisis.”
To make matters worse, Woo-joong-dok-bo-haeng was diagnosed with a brain tumor, meningioma, this August. His absence and the salon’s financial problem seemed to be the end of Salon Badabie.
However, when musicians who  reminisce Badabie’s stage heard the news, they voluntarily gathered and planned a benefit concert to revive Badabie. News about the concert spread, and thanks to their efforts, a total of 137 teams participated, including Korea’s star musicians like Jang Ki-ha and The Faces and Crying Nut. Other eight performance halls in Hongdae also supported the benefit concert by providing their own stages. This concert, named “Badabie Never Die,” was held everyday from Sept. 15 to 25. Despite the concerns of its possible failure, the concert was a huge hit. A massive number of crowds participated by doing volunteer works, attending concerts and bazaars for Badabie.
“I was sorry to see such a symbolic place like Badabie, the so-called ‘incubator of independent culture’, disappear. So I helped the salon by putting up promotion posters and going to the concert,” Ahn Ji-young (Advertising and Public Realtions, 3) said.
The concert gathered about 48 million won, which was enough to cover Badabie’s renovation costs and the owner’s medical expenses. A two-year contract was also renewed for the salon’s place.
 “I felt love and positivism when I heard the great success of the restoration concert. Thanks to the cheering messages from musicians and fans, I was able to recover faster than anyone in the hospital,” Woo-joong-dok-bo-haeng said.
To celebrate the reopening of Badabie, a new showcase concert “Badabie Returns” is held from Nov. 12 to Dec. 11, planned with various genres of arts.
“Badabie is the place where you can see the essence of various independent cultures. I hope students, including international students, enjoy and hold constant interest in Badabie,” Woo-joong-dok-bo-haeng said.
Anyone who is interested in Badabie’s concert can get the information on daily performance lineups at the official Web site of Badabie (

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