Expo Show Madness

Organizers of Expo 2010 Shanghai have come under fire with regards to a planned free concert by K-pop stars.

According to various media outlets, some 10,000 music fans lined up for 5,000 free tickets at the Expo’s Culture Center May 30.

Scuffles broke out in the early morning as the crowd, mostly teenage girls, struggled with security staff who were trying to keep order.

Even after the tickets were distributed, hundreds of young people hung around the venue demanding they be let in for the concert, which featured Super Junior, KANGTA and BoA.

“I have never seen such chaos at a concert,” one student told China Daily. “We read in the newspaper that 5,000 free tickets would be given away … but security staff told us only a few hundred were distributed. They are cheating us.”

Other witnesses said that security staff didn’t step in to bring order until the situation had already gotten out of hand.

It was also reported that scalpers were selling tickets to the show for prices ranging from 300 to 3,000 yuan ($44-$440). China Music Radar estimates that tickets for a concert by any of these artists could easily fetch between 480 and 1,580 yuan ($70-$231), and that in the past they have easily sold out venues of 10,000 seats or more.

Officials of the South Korean Pavilion told China Daily that they had “strengthened security” in anticipation of the crowds but that “overreaction” on the part of fans made it difficult to control the situation.

One official denied that most of the tickets had been retained for the organizers. Many reports said that at least half the seats were reserved for South Koreans.

She also said she didn’t know of any serious injuries. However, several media reported that one girl who fell from a second-level balcony during the stampede had died.

Apparently, there was even a video of the incident that has since been blocked.

Most of the government-sanctioned press have simply reported that there were a lot of fans blocking the roads.