What Happens at the Daegu Body Paint Festival? (Canceled 2022)

Imagine a couture fashion show, except with body-paint instead of clothes. That’s the Daegu Body Paint Festival. It occurs every year in late August, having become an international sensation since its start in 2008. 

Tourists and artists flock to Daegu from all over the world, the former to watch art, and the latter to create art. Some of the best body painters have participated in the Daegu Body Paint Festival.

Every year, the festival has a different theme. Last year, the theme was ‘Love’. Before that, it was ‘Fairy Tales’. Since the festival was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was no theme. 

However, organizers have issued statements about the resumption of the festival next year. If you’re thinking of going, here’s everything that happens at the Daegu Body Paint Festival:

Amazing Musical and Artistic Performances

Firstly, the festival has some of the most amazing musical performances and concerts in the area. The performers are mostly amateur groups or independent artists.

Since the festival is open to international participants, both Korean and international music is performed. For example, in 2017, musicians from Ecuador performed traditional Ecuadorian folk songs. 

Traditional Korean dance performers also make frequent appearances at the festival. Local girl or boy groups give k-pop performances at the festival.

These performances usually occur on the main stage, i.e. where the competition will take place.

The Daegu Body Paint Festival Competition

The Daegu Body Paint Festival Competition is the main event of the festival. In the past, more than 40 countries have participated in the competition. For example, artists from Japan, Italy, Germany, the US, the UK, and France have participated before. 

Artists from all over the world come to win the cash prize and award. The prize is set at 10 million won or $9000. 

After the opening speech and performance, all artists are given six hours with their models. The artists are told to go into Daegu Duryu Park, where they’re assigned tents to work in.

Some artists allow on-lookers to watch them work. However, some don’t. Therefore, it’s important to respect the rules and stay outside the marked tents. 

At the end of the six-hour limit, all artists display their models in the relevant areas. According to the Daegu Body Paint Festival rulebook, there are two main categories in the competition.

Firstly, there’s the ‘Fantasy Make-Up Application’, where participants are tested on their make-up artist abilities. Models are allowed to wear clothes and headdresses in the portion.

Secondly, there’s the ‘Body Painting Application’, where body painters are judged on their ability to use the human body as a canvas. Models can only wear undergarments and headdresses for this portion. 

The final show happens in the Kolon Field Concert Hall within the park.

Face Painting With Professional Artists

If you’re visiting the Daegu Body Paint Festival, it’s only appropriate to paint some parts of your body. However, you don’t have to be as elaborate as the model pictured below:

Many artists volunteer their services at free face-painting stalls. You can get into the spirit of the festival. 

Face painting is perfect for Instagrammers. Unlike children’s face painting, these artists create beautiful decorations around your body. You can ask for anything. However, it’s recommended to get a painting in line with the festival’s theme. 

For example, for the ‘fairy tale’ theme, many people asked for mermaid and unicorn face paintings.

Moreover, if you want to volunteer as a model for the festival, you have to notify the organizing committee a few months beforehand. Otherwise, it’s against the rules. 

However, you should try your luck and stick around. You never know if an artist may need a model or not.

The Daegu Body Paint Festival Fireworks Display

Lastly, there’s the Daegu Body Paint Festival fireworks display. It’s not as elaborate as the Lotte Tower Fireworks display in Seoul. However, it’s still a mind-blowing end to the night. 

The display is mainly a way to congratulate the winners of the show. It happens right after the announcement of the competition winners. 

Since the area is completely outdoors, the fireworks make a striking contrast to the night sky.


In essence, if you get a chance, you should undoubtedly go to the Daegu Body Paint Festival. It’s right up there with the Venice Biennale (in Venice, Italy) and Adelaide Fringe (in Adelaide, Australia). Both of these are considered the best art festivals in the world.  

However, the best part about this festival is that it’s free to the public. You can experience everything, and don’t have to pay a dime.

Now, if you’re looking for things to do in Daegu, you should visit Kim Gwangseok Street. Don’t forget to check out this guide to Kim Gwangseok Street.