Asia: K-Pop Charity Concert Called Off; Shanghai Disneyland Reopens With Precautions

K-Pop Charity Concert Called Off

An annual K-pop concert that is held for charity was cancelled by its corporate sponsor, Daebo Group, because of concerns over new outbreaks of COVID-19, despite multiple days without any new cases and more relaxed public guidelines that would have allowed for outdoor gatherings.

The Seowon Valley Charity Green Concert, which started in 2000 at a golf course in Seowon Valley and was scheduled this year for May 30, has drawn more than 440,000 K-pop fans over the years, not only from South Korea, but also from Japan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and the United States. The festival is basically free, with all proceeds from merchandising and side events going to the charity.

Though the festival was likely not going to happen anyway, its fate was certainly sealed when a cluster of infections was discovered during the first week of May originating from the Itaewon nightclub district of Seoul. The government immediately shut down the district as a precaution.

Shanghai Disneyland Reopens With Precautions

Following almost four months of being shuttered, Shanghai Disneyland reopened for business on May 11, albeit in a limited way. China’s most popular theme park was the first in the Disney international chain of six to reopen during the coronavirus epidemic.

For the time being, however, visitors are required to wear masks, practice social distancing and undergo body temperature screenings when they enter the park. Also, certain areas of the park would remain closed to the public.

Various media reported that capacity would be limited from between one-fifth to one-third of the park’s usual 80,000 people, which is less than the number requested by the Chinese government. When tickets went on sale May 8 at 8 in the morning for the May 11 reopening, they sold out “within minutes.”

Reuters interviewed several visitors when the gates opened, and one said she felt the safety measures were in order. Parades and fireworks would not resume for the time being, the latter was replaced with a “projection show,” and interactive play areas and live shows that take place indoors have been suspended. Most of the rides, however, will be open, as will be the restaurants. Other facilities will open in the future depending on how well the virus is contained.

Annual pass holders have been asked to reserve entry days and times in advance. Everyone entering the park has to show park personnel a green health code symbol on their mobile phones, and everyone is required to wear a mask. In areas where people normally congregate, markers have been placed on the ground to indicate where individuals should stand in order to maintain social distancing. The same goes for seating positions on rides.

Disney has estimated that the closing of its parks worldwide will lead to a loss of about $1.4 billion.

Ultra Korea
– Ultra Korea

Ultra Korea Pushed To 2021

South Korea’s biggest electronic dance music festival, Ultra Korea, has been postponed from June 20-21 at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium to sometime in the fall of this year, according to an official announcement by the organizers. However, anyone who already has a ticket to the event can get a refund.

The official statement reads, in part, “The current health crisis is an unprecedented situation, and there is not higher priority for us than the health, safety and physical well-being of all our fans, as well as those involved with the production of the event.”

Believe In The Future Attracts 270 Million Views

The organizers of Believe in the Future, the biggest online concert in Chinese history, reported that the broadcast received 270 million views during the two nights that it took place, according to the various platforms involved.

A total of 65 acts performed on May 4-5, which are the last two days of China’s May Day holiday period. Among the top draws were Faye Wong, Lang Lang, Wang Feng, Pu Shu, Karen Mok, Cai Zukun, Coco Lee and Black Panther. The national table tennis team also joined in to sing a patriotic song.

The virtual concerts were broadcast on Youku, Tencent Video, Yangshipin and Due to the success of the initial two-day venture, the organizers said there would be more follow-up concerts in the coming week. The entire project was put together in only 15 days thanks to the platforms involved as well as various record companies and concert presenters like Live Nation and Modern Sky Entertainment.

The ticketing platform Damai said it was cooperating with Youku to launch a new program that would provide independent musicians with high quality venues and services for streaming purposes and support them with most of the proceeds from any paid endeavors they helped organize.

Following the broadcast, a media unit of the South China Morning Post published a piece reporting that while the concert was touted as a “benefit” for coronavirus-related relief efforts, it is not known if any money was actually raised.

Filipino Musicians Performing In Hong Kong Spotlighted

The New York Times ran a feature on the Filipino musicians who make up the bulk of performers in Hong Kong live music scene.

Already sidelined to a certain extent by the anti-government protests that have partly crippled the territory for more than a year, the musicians have doubly lost work due to the pandemic. The article points out that Filipino entertainers have been performing throughout Asia for decades, mostly Western pop music which they learned through the prewar U.S. occupation as well as the American military bases that were prominent after the war.

In recent years they have gravitated to Hong Kong with its steady concentration of Western expats in need of entertainment. Cover bands are extremely popular, and handle an amazing range of styles, from rock to R&B to reggae. Jazz is also a big specialty.

Though Filipino musicians are, by dint of their constant gigging, superior technicians and often better than homegrown Hong Kong musicians, they tend to get paid less, which is also a reason for their popularity among club and bar owners.

As with many Filipinos who work overseas, these musicians tend to send a good portion of their pay back home to support families, but for the past several months there has been almost no work thanks to the pandemic, so many have to make do with other part-time jobs. Some told the New York Times that once flights resume between Hong Kong and the Philippines they will likely return home. Some are lucky enough to get studio work or film work, but not many.