Asia: Download Replaces Ozzy With Judas Priest, K-pop Diversity Backlash, Hong Kong Disney

Judas Priest
Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images
– Judas Priest
Judas Priest’s Rob Halford is in charge during the band’s show at Warfield Theatre in San Francisco April 19.

Judas Priest To Replace Ozzy At Japan Download Fest
Quickly on the heels of Ozzy Osbourne’s cancellation of his headlining appearance at the Download Festival Japan on March 21, the event’s organizer, Creativeman Productions, announced the Black Sabbath singer’s replacement will be Judas Priest. 
The veteran metal band is also slated to appear at the Australia and New Zealand editions of Download in March, and was previously set to tour the UK and Europe with Osbourne. Those shows have been postponed until September. Judas Priest is in the midst of its Firepower world tour, which passed through Japan last November.

Beijing’s Yugong Yishan Closing
After 11 years, the legendary Beijing live house, Yugong Yishan, has announced it will be closing, according to That’s magazine. The venue, which is in the capital’s Doncheng district, is a local music landmark, hosting about 200 shows a year at its peak and featuring many bands that have gone on to become some of the most influential in China’s indie scene. 
That’s does not specify a reason for the closing, though a number of concerts were canceled last year due to “health and safety concerns.” Moreover, venues and promoters in the city have been plagued with police crackdowns on licensing issues. 
Last year, Yugong Yishan reportedly went through a “hibernation” period, despite hosting one especially exciting show by UK’s The Cribs and a music festival the venue sponsored in the Yanqing district. A representative of Live Beijing Music told the magazine that the place had the best mosh pit in the city. 
Nevertheless, management is supposedly looking for a new venue in the same area. In 2007, Yugong Yishan left its original location when the site was closed due to preparations for the 2008 Olympics, so it’s not as if they aren’t used to moving.
K-Pop Diversity Backlash
The government of South Korea recently issued guidelines in an attempt to shake up the world of K-pop, which the authorities say is stifling diversity due to that they see as “the serious problem of uniformity among singers.” Most female idols are thin and wear identical makeup and revealing outfits regardless of the group they belong to.
According to media reports, the guidelines, which were issued by the Ministry of Gender Equality, were met with scathing criticism online, as well as from one lawmaker who said that the order smacked of the kind of censorship that was routine during the country’s authoritarian era that ended in the late 1980s. 
The politician, Ha Tae-keung, called the guidelines “totalitarian and unconstitutional.” Another online critic said, “It is truly surprising that South Korea is doing what communist dictatorships, like China and North Korea, would consider doing.”
As a result, the government announced on Feb. 20 it was withdrawing the guidelines and apologized for “causing unnecessary confusion,” but added that it didn’t have the authority to control TV production and simply wanted to prevent “media … from undermining human rights or fostering discrimination unintentionally.”
The heart of the problem, according to many critics, is a certain standard of beauty that almost all K-pop female idols adhere to and which compels many young women to seek cosmetic surgery. In its original recommendation, the ministry mentioned that pop stars and TV celebrities have a huge impact on young people in South Korea. 
As an example, several press outlets that reported on the controversy mentioned the K-pop quartet SixBomb, all of whose members underwent extensive plastic surgery in 2017 before they released their first single.

Hong Kong Disney Record Revenue
TTG Asia reports that Hong Kong Disneyland recorded its highest ever revenue and pretax earnings in the 2018 fiscal year. Revenues increased over the previous year by 18 percent to HK$6 billion ($765 million) for the year ending September 29, 2018, with pretax earnings going up by 48 percent to HK$1.4 billion. The boosts were attributed to increases in “occupied room nights at resort hotels, park attendance and guest spending.”
Attendance for the year reached 6.7 million, an 8 percent increase over the previous year. Growth in all three attendance categories was up – 40 percent for locals, 34 percent for mainland Chinese and 26 percent for international guests. It was the second year in a row that international attendance set a new record. Most of the foreign guests were from Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. Total cumulative attendance since the park opened in 2005 has been more than 77 million.
Per capita spending at the park also increased, by 6 percent, making for nine straight years of continuous growth. Hotel occupancy was 75 percent, another increase, thanks mainly to the new Disney Explorers Lodge, which opened in April 2017. 
The park’s operator said visitation increases were due to “innovative initiatives” like new large-scale outdoor concerts, including one by the top Taiwanese rock band Mayday, and weekend long-distance running events. 
In addition, the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and High Speed Rail increased potential for more visitors, and accordingly the operators of the park promoted the resort facilities more aggressively.