For better or worse, quite a few festivals have been canceled due to swine flu fears or financial considerations. This makes it hard to keep up with which events are still on and which ones have been canceled - therefore, double-check to ensure things are still on before making the trip.
Compiling a list of events is necessarily a community-oriented endeavor, thus I attempt to give credit where credit is due. Special thanks go to 10 Magazine and Korea4expats.com for their work in compiling more events than have been listed below.
1st - 25th: Incheon Global Fair and Festival - my two visits there were lots of fun - definitely worth checking out if you haven't already. Here's their official website in English.
5th - 24th: Seoul International Dance Festival - Seoul Arts Center and Sogang University Mary Hall (among other places). This ain't your sister's ballet recital - with companies across the world, it'll be a hard choice to pick the events you want to see. Take a look at their English website for the schedule - there's also free performances across Seoul from the 10th to the 24th (that schedule's over here).
8th - 12th: Suwon Hwaseong Fortress Festival - concerts, fireworks, laser shows, singing contest, and even a hanbok beauty contest. There's several other festivals happening in Suwon, including a Food Culture Festival and a Royal Parade / Citizen's Happiness Festival . Check out their English website for more information.
8th-10th: Korean Temple Food Festival - Suwon - try some completely vegetarian food, or learn about the Buddhist thought behind the food they eat. (HT to Hermit Hideaways)
8th - 16th: The PIFF (Pusan International Film Festival) in Busan. Easily Korea's biggest film festival, and a chance to get a look at more films than you can handle. Check out dozens of Korean and international films being screened on at least thrity-four different screens within the same city. Check out their website at http://www.piff.org/structure/eng/default.asp, but be aware that not every film will have English audio or subtitles.
9th - 29th: The Seoul Design Olympiad - Jamsil Sports Complex will host the behemoth of an event. Last year's event was a lot to take in, but also a lot of fun.
9th - 10th: The Seoul International Jazz Festival - the website's in Korean, but go to Seoul Science Park and Nakseongdae Park (near Nakseongdae station on line 2, near Seoul National University) to check out the action.
9th - 12th: Moran Folk Craft National Competition - Korean folk artists. What more do you need? Go to the Seongnam Folk Craft Pavilion in Bundang (Sanseong station. line 8, exit 1) to check it out - their website's over here, but it's in Korean.
10th: Round one of the Seoul Player's Night of a Thousand Plays - as many short plays (3 minutes or less) as they can fit into a night of theater. Their website mysteriously doesn't have any information about the time or location - hopefully they'll fix that oversight before much longer :)
12th - 16th: Hongdae Street Art Festival - This isn't the Fringe Festival over again - although the theme is basically the same. I can't find out much about it online, except that it will be around the streets of Hongdae and the playground.
13th - November 21st: The Seoul Performing Arts Festival - 40 days of performing art spread out over 9 venues around Seoul.
14th-16th: It's fabulous!! The Daegu Fashion Fair hosts a number of opportunities to see what's happening in fashion. Their English website isn't complete, but there's enough there to help you figure it out. Located at the EXCO in Daegu - directions are over here.
17th: Round two of the Seoul Player's Night of a Thousand Plays.
23rd - 25th: The 48 hour film project - make a film with your team in 48 hours starting with you'll get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre to make your movie from scratch and have your movie screened in a theater. Definitely a sleepless - but presumably exhilarating weekend.
24th - 25th: The Grand Mint Festival - Olympic Park. Don't look at the name too closely - it's actually a music festival. Choose from four music stages and six different zones, or just take a look at the lineup for yourself. A 1 day ticket costs 55,000 won; both days costs 88,000 won.
31st: Happy Halloween! Last year, most Hongdae and Itaewon clubs had parties for the holiday. Get out, dress up, have fun - quite a few younger Koreans get into the spirit of things as well.
31st: Flea market for foreigners - 12pm-4pm - Sinseol-dong (Seoul), near the Seoul Folk Flea Market. It's free to sell stuff or buy stuff - e-mail [email protected] for more information.
Entire month of October: The Daegu Opera Festival. Featuring performances such as Carmen and The Four Operas, it's billed as a chance for the general public to learn more about opera. For tickets and discounts, check out this page; the schedule's over here.
Every Saturday in October will feature free musical performances in Seoul Forest starting around 5pm.
For even more events, check out 10 Magazine's event calendars for Seoul, Gyeonggi, Gangwon, Chungcheong, Jeolla, Busan/Gyeongsang, and Jeju. Korea4expats has an extensive page of events as well.
Have you heard of something cool happening around Korea this month? Comments are open.