Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kpop Concerts 101: Everything You Need to Know

I welcome you the complete HOW TO guide on attending KPop concerts in Korea. I frequently get asked all sorts of questions about attending KPop concerts so this post will adhere to those every needs and desires ;)



What is my credibility to speak on this?

I've seen Rain (4 times), Big Bang (6 times), G Dragon <solo> (6 times so 12 times total^^), Taeyang <solo>  (once), 2NE1 (6 times), Psy (3 times), Shinee, TVXQ, Super Junior (twice), 2PM, Infinite, UKiss, Se7en, Lee Hi (twice), Xia Junsu, Girls Generation (3 times), VIXX (4 times), BTS, Spica, B.A.P., M.I.B., 4Minute, Sistar, Jay Park (3 times), B2ST (twice), Park Hyo Shin (twice), CN Blue, Boyfriend, 2AM, Kara, IU, Teen Top, Tablo (twice), B1A4 (twice), ZE:A (twice), Jewelry, 9 Muses (twice), JinuSean and many others.

I think that sums it about up! So shall we begin?


What I'll go over
  • Tickets
  • Location/Time
  • English Help
  • Merchandise
  • Overseas fans
  • What NOT to do
  • Media

Tickets
The price for Kpop concerts is based soley on the company to which the artists are signed. To my knowledge it seems if the artist has been in the game a while, their tickets tend to be a bit more expensive (like Rain's concert 166,000 or Psy's 132,000) but overall you'll end up paying anywhere between 88,000 W - 100,000 W. ($82-$94 USD)

Price 
*April 2015 Update*
So I know a lot of you are preparing for Big Bang's new world tour. Since releasing ticket info, Big Bang's concert has gone up in price $30 for general admission and $62 for a new "special" seat.
________
YG Family Concert: 88,000 won

2NE1 88,000 won (YG Family Concert & New Evolution Tour)

Big Bang *April 2015 Update*
BB World Tour on April 24 - 26 is $110 for general and special seats are $150

88,000 - 90,000 (YG Family Concert & Alive Galaxy World Tour)
(From 2011 - 2013 these were the ticket prices)

G Dragon: 88,000 - 90,000 (One of a Kind World Tour)

Psy 110,000-132,000 (Super Soaked Concert) 55,000 - 166,000 (Psy Happening)

Se7en 88,000 (YG Family Concert)

B2ST: 90,000 (Beautiful World Tour)

Mblaq: 90,000 (Blaq% Tour)

Rain: 166,000 (Rain The Best of Tour)

Junsu: 90,000 (Tarentallegra Tour)

Super Junior: 99,000 (Super Show 5)

2PM: 77,000 - 99,000 (What Time is it Tour Grand Finale)

SM artists tickets tend to be between 90,000 - 99,000 won.

JYP artist's concert are around 90,000 won.

In Korea there's usually one set price for ALL tickets, meaning nose bleed section and standing in front of stage section are going to be the same price. So it's all about timing, getting the seat you want before it's gone. The other option the companies use is the standing section will be a little higher but not by much. Ex: Standing Sections 90,000 W Seating Sections 88,000 W.

Extra info: Sunday night is the best night to attend a KPop concert as the fanclub's always have something special planned and the encores go on a little longer ;) Second best night would be Saturday.

How to Know Schedules of Upcoming Concerts (Update Feb 14th)
There really isn't a single place that keeps up with upcoming concerts so you must do this yourself. Subscribe and follow blogs and websites of your favorite groups. Since I'm a BB fan and use blogger, I subscribe to various VIP blogs that always update on anything happening. So if you're a B2ST fan, follow B2ST fan blogs around the globe no matter the language. (Heck I follow a Spanish Miyavi blog!) Subscribe to get emails whenever the admin posts, if you use Blogger, follow the blogs, if you use WordPress  do that thing they do with WordPress. Lol.

If you're a YG fan, you MUST download the YG Ent Official Family App. It's amazing and ALWAYS updated. Most events they post about are in Korea, but if you want to keep up with YG Family, this is how you do it. And IT'S FREE.

Google Play Store
Download YG Family App

ITunes Store
Download YG Family App (IPhone)

Where to Purchase
Tickets are usually sold on one of 4 Korean sites. 

1) Gmarket
4) Yes24

Useful Online Vocab
매진 - Sold Out

*April 2015 Update*
Big Bang's tickets are exclusively sold on GMARKET so you will not be able to find them else where (unless they're bootleg or a resell)

Please note that yes some of these sites do have a English language option BUT it WON'T allow you to purchase concert tickets.

The Global Interpark site is the ONLY site that people outside of Korea can register and buy tickets from. All you need is your name and phone number. Also you must enter in a number for your home phone but since most people don't have one nowadays, simply type in 000-0000-0000. If you leave it blank it won't let you complete your registration.

For the other 3 sites you MUST have an Alien Registration Card to be able to register and purchase. If you do not work or permanently live in Korea then you wouldn't have been registered an ID.

When purchasing online, you pick your tickets up on the day of the event, have them mailed or pick them up on site. It just depends on what site you use and what options they give.

Registering on the all Korean language sites takes a good 45 minutes (if your not a native Korean speaker) so be patient. You will need your passport number, ID card, address, work address, and work number. When you look up your address just type in your city. From there, choose the zip code closets to you then type in the rest of your address. (This part can be quite a hassle.)

*A tip you will thank me for*
As tempting as it is, don't try to buy tickets when they first go on sale. You'll never get in (because the massive about of people trying to access the site at once will make things go bonkers) and you'll feel hella disappointed when only sucky seats are left. (Trust me I know!) If you want a good seat, just go to the venue the day of the concert you want to attend and wait in line. 

At the Venue

Usually the ticket booth opens 3 hours before the show. There is always a line for tickets so get there an hour or so ahead so you can have a good spot in line. If the concert starts at 6pm, I'd say get there between 1- 2 pm. (Trust me time goes by FAST!) Plan to stand in line anywhere from 30 minutes to 1-3 hours. Depending on the popularity of the artist and what time you get there depends on your wait time. KPop concerts are an all day thing (especially if you don't have a ticket yet.) I say this because there's so much to do, standing in line for tickets and merchandise, entering into various contests, playing games at the different booths, etc. It's quite the experience!

If you have standing section tickets then you must exchange your ticket at the designated white booths for a wrist band. It'll let them know you are in the standing section. The booths usually have a white canopy over them and are infront of the line for the standing section outside. (The words are usually in English.) You also need to get in line early so that you can get a good spot close to the stage when they let you rush in there. If you have seating tickets then there's no need to line up early. Just hop in line when you see it moving. Doors usually open up at an hour to 45 minutes before show time.

Ticket Scalpers
There will always be a handful of Ajushi's suspiciously walking around whispering "Ticket, Ticket." I've even seen them put tickets inside a glove and walk past the official ticket line to try and entice people. I've never bought from them as I'm nervous to what would happen if I presented the ticket at the door and someone say something was wrong. I wouldn't have a receipt to show and that would be a problem. I'd personally rather pay my own money for a legit ticket at the booth and not have to worry myself. If you do choose to buy from an unofficial Ajushi, let me know how it goes.

Special thing to note:
In Korea, everything is done outside. No matter the temperature, no one's allowed to go inside the venue until show time. Tickets, merchandise, everything is done outside.

Location
KPOP concerts are held at one of two areas in Seoul.

Olympic Park Stadium
Olympic Gymnastics Hall
Jamsil Stadium

Olympic Stadium (but for some reason, written on the building
says Olympic Hall. So don't get confused.
Now the EXTREMELY confusing part about these two places is that they go by two to three different names. I've ended up going to the wrong venue many times and it can be difficult to find which is right.

Aliases
Olympic Park aka Olympic Gymnastics Arena
This area also includes Olympic Gymnastics Hall which is across from Olympic Arena.
This arena is AT the actual Olympic Park Station (역). For some reason in Seoul there are two parks named Olympic. Most concerts will/have been at this venue, GD One of a Kind World Tour, BIGBANG Alive Galaxy Tour, 2NE1 New Evolution, Super Junior Super Shows etc.

Olympic Gymnastics Hall is a smaller venue that a lot rookie groups or solo artists use. Artists who've performed there include EXO K, Infinite H, MBLAQ Blaq% Concert, and Jay Park New Breed Concert.

How to get there; Purple line #5 Olympic Park Station, Olympic Stadium Exit. It's about an 8 minute walk to the stadium through the park.

Next Popular Venue
The other large venue goes by even more aliases. Seoul Olympic Stadium aka Jamsil Sports Complex aka Seoul Sports Complex aka Jamsil Gymnasium aka Jamsil Indoor Stadium.

Whew! Right?
The most frequent name I've seen used is Jamsil Stadium, but it depends on who you ask!

Xia's Tarantellegra and 2PM's What Time is It Seoul Finale concerts used this venue along with the Samsung Thunders Basketball team playing all their home games there.

How to get there:
Green line #2 Sports Complex Station, Stadium exit.

*April 2015*
Lately a lot of concerts have been held at various venues other than those listed above (and usually more intimate.) When I get time I'll list some of them but otherwise just make sure you research the directions well so you don't get lost.

English Help

Out of all the concerts I've been to YG surpasses them all when it comes to English speaking help. I know the companies don't HAVE provide English service BUT in today's era where they're actively promoting to English speaking people, these services should be available. YG artist concerts ALWAYS have fluent English speaking staff that can help solve any problem or question you have. I've attended YG concerts since 2011 and it's always been consistent. Other concerts I've attended, it's always a gamble. Sometimes I have trouble finding assistance in English, sometimes I don't. Hopefully soon Kpop companies will have consistent and better English services as they see the increase of non-Korean speaking fans attending concerts in Korea.


Fan Chants
If you stay around or near the venue for long enough you'll have someone come and talk to you about the fan chant or event taking place that day. Also as you enter the venue you should be given directions/materials for that day's events. Ex: For The Final BIGBANG Alive Tour Saturday and Sunday concerts, a girl came up to my friend and I in the cafe near by and asked us if we knew about the chant for the song "Lies." When we got to the venue we were given balloons and a small card with directions translated in English for what to do during "Haru Haru." For the Sunday show we were given yellow "Thank U&U" cards with directions in English on the back.

Merchandise


Merchandise from 2NE1 New Evolution Tour (Seoul)
Merchandise for Kpop concerts are usually displayed very elaborately. You'll usually get a brochure of the products available and can pick from there. The only concert (other than free ones) that I've seen no official products sold was the Jay Park New Breed Concert. Possibly because it technically wasn't a "Kpop" concert.

The merchandise booths usually open pretty early, anywhere from 10:30 am onward. The close about 2 hours before showtime (YG concerts.)
For the Big 3 and Cube they'll be designated tents where you can purchase merchandise. There will also be what I call "bootleg" merchandise you can buy. It's basically unofficial merchandise sold by Kpop stores around Korea that come to the concerts to sell their related Kpop stuff. It's best to purchase stuff from them Sunday night since they try to get rid of as much as they can so they'll give a discount. It's definitely okay to buy from these places so have no worries.

GD One of a Kind World Tour Merchandise
Concerts (Big Bang, 2NE1, Rain, 2PM, Super Junior, Junsu and probably all the others) will have tents that say "Merchandise Pay" where you pick out your stuff and pay for it. They'll then give you two receipts and you move over to the next tent connected labeled "Merchandise Pick Up." This is where you give them your receipts. they stamp them and you'll receive your merchandise. And bam!

If something breaks or messes up while you're there (that same day), go back to the merchandise tents and explain what happened (even if it's closed.) Make sure to keep your receipts to verify you purchased the product.

Free stuff
A lot of times the various fan clubs will give out free stuff. Either it be fans, candy, stickers or pictures. They're not affiliated with the companies so the girls probably won't be able to speak much English. Be aware that sometimes they don't want to share. I personally have gotten the side eye from some fan groups when I came over to ask how to get a fan, picture ect. Other times I'll have the fan club come up to me and give me free ish. (Looking at you Korean VIPS who dress up in animal costumes <3.)

Overseas Fans

Any KPop concert you'll attend you'll see a large number of buses parked with many people coming out dressed really cute. You'll think "Oh wow, what's this?" You'll soon find out it's the Japanese fans attending in large droves. It's really cool to see their outfits as they always put together the most elaborate and cool costumes. It's nice to see different cultures coming together for Kpop but sometimes a situation can occur that affects you personally.

Problems that can occur

J fan clubs have a lot of pull. Sometimes standing section tickets (online) will have been allotted for only J fans to purchase. I've only had a situation(s) occur at Junsu's concert. It seems some companies allow dollars (eh hum, more appropriately Yen) to manage what they do. Since we're non Korean, we're all foreign fans and should be treated equally so. It's not right to shun certain fans because that fan's demographic's spending power isn't as great as another foreign fan bases is. This problem falls with company's and what they allow to happen. If a problem like this happens to you at any concert, don't be afraid to voice your opinion and write to who you see fit.

What Not to Do

The only major no-no is recording or taking pictures when there are posted signs that say not to do so. I don't know HOW people sneak and do it ESPECIALLY at YG concerts! They DON'T PLAY. The huge security guard will TAKE your camera or phone and delete ALL your photos, no matter if they are of the concert or not, AND/OR kick you out. I've seen plenty of folks escorted out. It's so NOT worth it. I had my camera taken away once at my first YG Family concert in 2011. At that time I had only attended one other Kpop concert (Rain The Best of) and didn't know of the no camera thing. My camera got taken away and he tried to kick me out but I just ducked into the crowd and every time I saw him I'd look away and duck some more. I think since it was so many people he just said "Forget it." I had even looked up and dude was in the audience RIGHT BEHIND ME. Oh gosh. YG security guards are SO SCARY. They're like 6'3 300 lbs. Anywho after it ended I asked for it back and randomly started saying stuff in English to him. I think he thought I was a bit crazy. I waited 10 minutes after the show and it was returned back to me.

The camera thing solely depends of the company though. I've recorded freely at the Jay Park and B2ST concerts. Also if it's a free concert you're free to record and TRUST Koreans take full advantage of that. They'll bring freaking 5 ft camera stands with an expensive Canon and just sit there recording the entire show. Lol.

I guess this next part has more to do with simple etiquette than anything.

At the Free Gangnam concert with GG, SS and TVXQ, this foreign chick BROUGHT a stool, STOOD on it BLOCKING EVERYONE and freaking recorded Kyuhyun during SJ's set. Then when TVXQ came on stage she SAT down in her stool BLOCKING EVERYONE around her going through her damn camera ignoring TVXQ. RUDE! I bit my tongue so hard to not say something to her. Aish!
Also yelling random ish in English from the crowd when the host/person on stage isn't talking to you is not okay! This happened at the MU:CON showcase with VIXX. M.I.B. A host was asking a foreign fan something from the stage and another chick yelled out "LA!" The host basically told her he wasn't talking to her.
Last but not least yelling "Speak in English" is quite rude and pointless. You're in Korea, the artist is Korean...that should explain enough.

Media

There's no denying that when you're a foreigner (specifically from the west or non Asian) you will get attention from the media. They love to show that "foreigners love Kpop." I mean it's awesome and everything as long as you don't let it get to your head. :)

Screen cap of me from the 2NE1 New Evolution DVD.
I'd advise to not go around "seeking" attention: standing by the KBS bus or acting out etc. Just let it naturally come to you. If your dressed up like that artist or have a cool hairdo, you'll gain attention. The best part of Kpop concerts (other than the show itself) is dressing up (in my opinion.) Being able to just go wild for a day and let the creative juices flow, is music to a fashionista heart. ;)

For some reason I've gotten the most interviewed at Rain concerts. His Rain the Best Show and Rain Last of the Best free Gangnam concert, both times I got interviewed 4-5 times. Maybe since he was about to enlist, the media had a heavier presence but usually I just get my picture taken or say some encouraging stuff on camera.

Media I've acquired
2NE1 New Evolution Tour DVD
Taeyang Music Experiment Official Facebook Photo
YG Family Concert Official Facebook Photo
Various Rain Interviews

So I hope this guide helped you enough! I might have forgot a few things so if you have any other questions, post it in the comments and I will answer them. As I do, I will add the information to this post.

Good luck!

Resources
Olympic Park
Jamsil Stadium

16 comments:

  1. This is so awesome~! Thank-you so much for sharing us these precious information. Because it is INCREDIBLY hard to get tickets to ANY concert as a foreigner OUTSIDE of Korea. I will try to get tickets outside the venue on the day of the concert for a BB or YG Family concert. Like how you got I'm sure I'll get, because you got good seating on a SUNDAY~! That amazes me. I just know I'll have to line up early. But I know it will be worth it! ^________________^ LOVE YOU!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem! Glad it was able to help you out!
      And yes it'll be worth it! Good luck :)

      Delete
  2. can I know where I can find the latest schedules for upcoming concerts from any artists/ companies? thx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Well there really isn't one single place that has information on upcoming concerts.
      You just have to keep up with the blogs and websites of your bias/favorite groups/singers. Since I'm a fan of Big Bang/Rain/2NE1 and I use blogger frequently, I sub to BB/비/2NE1 blogger sites which easily allows me to keep up with what's going on in their schedule ect. So if you like Super Junior ect, follow fan blogs by email/feeds/blogger/wordpress and just keep checking. Also if you like YG, there's an amazing YG app that you can download that updates on EVERYTHING YG. Just go to the Google play store (if you have an Android) and type in YG app.

      Hope that helps. :)
      Good luck!

      Delete
  3. Thank you for this article. Very informative and useful.
    May I ask how can I participate as an audience at TV music shows like: Music bank, inkigayo and so...? ( I'm comming to Korea next month with 4 teenagers and I want to take them there).
    Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!
      Thanks so much. I'm happy you enjoyed it.
      Actually I don't really know about the music show stuff. But there are many resources online translated in English by English speakers who attended. If you Google "How to attend a Music Show in Korea" many things will come up. Those type of shows are based on lottery and you have a bring a few things like a copy of the artist CD and at times you must be an official member of the the artists fan club. Also there are few to no English services or help which makes it a bit difficult to figure out.
      But anywho I wish you and your family luck! It's an awesome experience and I know you all will enjoy!
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much. I'll keep trying to search online.
      Have a wonderful weekend. :)

      Delete
  4. Hi, thanks for the article I found it very useful! I know B2ST has an upcoming concert this month and I really want to go but I cant get the tickets online.. do you know whether it is possible for me to buy the tickets on the day?
    Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Glad you enjoyed that article.
      As I stated in the post, it's possible to queue in line on the day of a concert to get tickets so it would be the same for a B2ST concert too.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much for your reply :D!

      Delete
  5. Hi! I got really bummed when they opened the ticket sale for Junsu's concert only to korean netizens. Do you know if there are any site where people sell tickets that they won't be able to use? I've only looked on Yahoo Japan but the prices are crazy o.o Thanks for the really informative post!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, JYJ's stuff seems to only be written and available in Korean. I don't know of any other sites where tickets can legally be obtained. And yes the Japanese ticket site prices are going to be out of this world (which is normal price over there :O). I wouldn't suggest queuing in line for that concert because of what I stated in the above post. 9.9/10 it'll already be sold out. But I think he'll be performing on the music shows so fortunately there will be more chances to see him.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  6. Hi! Thanks for your tip! I happen to be in korea during g dragon final encore concert. So I will be trying to queue up for the ticket. Are you going too? I'm excited to see it in korea ..heard that new songs will be sung too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      That's great you're planning to go to GD's final concert. Not sure if I'm going because it might be when I go back to America so I'm not sure yet.

      Hope you have a great time.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. I want to know what app that people use to show cheer on their phone. The one that usually with pink font, they write the cheer on the phone and the text will go from right to left or simply blip. Do you get what i mean? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that app is only in Korean. If I taught my middle schoolers still I could ask them what the app is but I'm not around that age group anymore so I wouldn't know how to find out otherwise. Have you tried googling it? I'm not even sure what an app like that would be called in Korean.

      Sorry I don't have more info.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Delete

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