One of South Korea's biggest cultural exports is K-pop. But that's not all, it's also a phenomenon within the country itself. All over the country there are festivals, concerts, collaborations, and music shows. For international fans like myself, such ready access to Korean musical acts is rare indeed. A trip to Korea allows for the kind of musical exposure international fans would have to spend years gathering.
Broadcasting companies like SBS air events like the "Asia Song Festival", hosted by KOFICE, and the Korea Tourism Organization sponsors seasonal events like the "2015 Summer K-pop Festival". Musical activities like this are not unusual as I got to experience during the Korea Joa trip. In the U.S. to see a K-pop group often requires a plane ticket, a hotel booking, a concert ticket, and hours waiting outside. In Korea, a small country despite its rich culture and history, travel isn't quite so strenuous and the opportunities are much more prolific.
My several experiences with K-pop concerts while in Korea showed high-production values supporting big name acts. The IKON debut concert put on by YG was rolling in wicked sets, lighting and effects. The 2015 Gangnam K-pop Festival put on by SM and featuring big name SM artists such as EXO, Henry, and Red Velvet, sported fantastic lighting, big screens, and excellent crowd control despite its free entry and outdoor location right by the Coex Artium in Gangnam.
The One K Concert was an opportunity provided to the Korea Joa members that wasn't part of the official Korea Joa schedule. It was held at the Sangam World Cup Stadium and hosted by the Organizing Committee of New Era Unification Song Campaign. The live SBS broadcast was a huge concert with over thirty acts, multiple sponsors such as A Presidential Preparatory Committee for Korean Unification, 70th Anniversary of Korea's Independence Campaign Commission, and the Ministry of Unification. Acts such as VIXX, Girl's Day, SISTAR, EXID, Kolleen Park, and MFTBY made their rounds on the stage and participated in the performance of Kim Hyung-suk's new Unification Song. Its purpose was to raise awareness around the world about what unification means for South Korea. Most K-pop events aren't on a scale this large, especially because this concert was geared towards a socio-political cause.
My experience was just a taste of what the South Korean K-pop scene has to offer. Because South Korea knows how influential K-pop is within its borders and outside of them, it puts a lot of time, resources, and effort into its upkeep and development. The result is constant music opportunities that you, HanCinema readers, should check out when you travel to Korea.
You can find all of our Korea Joa 2015 coverage on this page.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Korea Joa] K-Pop Festivals in Korea"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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