September 21, 2019
September 21, 2019
Rock and roll in Pyongyang: the 1989 World Festival – NKNews Podcast Ep.76
Rock and roll in Pyongyang: the 1989 World Festival – NKNews Podcast Ep.76
Journalist and author Bradley K. Martin discusses his experiences covering the landmark event
June 14th, 2019

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This episode is part two of a special summer miniseries on the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students. You can listen to part one here.

The 13th World Festival of Youth and Students was held in the North Korean capital almost thirty years ago next month. A global gathering of international Communist Party-affiliated youth organizations, it represented something of a last hurrah for a world that was soon to disappear in a storm of revolution and unrest.

Hosted by North Korea — in large part as a response to the South’s successful hosting of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games — the festival cost the country billions and saw thousands of international students descend on Pyongyang for an event devoted to “Anti-Imperialist Solidarity, Peace and Friendship.”

Bradley K. Martin had been covering North for over a decade already when he visited the DPRK capital for the event. 

In this episode, Martin tells us about the relative liberation observed and enjoyed by the North Korean public during the festival, the massive costs of the event, and why it was the beginning of the end for the Cold War-era North Korean economic system.

Bradley K. Martin is a journalist for Asia Times (in which he recently some North Korean propaganda about the Lim Su-kyung case here) and is the author of “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty.” He has covered the region since the 1970s.

About the podcast: The “North Korea News Podcast” is a weekly podcast hosted exclusively by NK News, covering all things DPRK: from news to extended interview with leading experts and analysts in the field and insight from our very own journalists.

Featured image: Retro DPRK

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