Asia News: Asian Sound Syndicate, Olympics Refunds, Blackpink & More

Asian Sound Syndicate Goes Digital
Asian Sound Syndicate, one of Asia’s biggest hip-hop festivals, will return December 19-20, albeit in a “virtual form,” according to the organizers. Among the acts who will be performing online are Jay Park, Bobby, Hoody, Punchnello, Ramengvrl, Mino, pH-1, Aklo & Jay’ed and Tuan Tigabelas. 
During a viral press conference held in November to announce the changes, creative director Fajar Faisal said that the offline event has been postponed until 2021, but that the organizers still wanted to present something as a “consolation for hip-hop lovers” in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. 
“Our production team is working very hard to present a work that will be remembered by the audience in the hope that Asian Sound Syndicate at Home 2020 can be a beautiful closure for the year 2020.” The press conference also featured Indonesian rapper Tuan Tigabelas, who said, “Asian Sound Syndicate at Home unites musicians from many countries to perform on one platform, and Indonesia is the host. I hope this event can be a milestone for Indonesia’s virtual music festival on an international scale. I am ready to collaborate with viewers from all around Asia to give the best performance.”
Tickets are about $14 for one-day view and about $26 for both days. The festival is being streamed exclusively on Part of the proceeds for the festival will go to 20 Indonesian schools to provide digitalized learning methods during the pandemic, including the purchase of laptops, projectors and other tools. 

Refund Window For Olympics Tickets Closes

In November residents of Japan who had purchased tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were given a three-week window to request full refunds. The window closed on Nov. 30. 
The organizers of the Games have since reported that about 18 percent of the tickets sold will be refunded. That means more than 3.6 million seats remain “domestically” reserved for the games, which have been postponed from July 2020 to July 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. 
Apparently, refunds for about 810,000 tickets have been requested out of a total of 4.45 million that had been sold through a domestic lottery. The organizers say they will resell the refunded tickets, though the method for doing so has not yet been determined. 
The window for refund applications for tickets purchased for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics is currently open and closes Dec. 21. Persons who purchased tickets outside of Japan and wish refunds will need to contact local retailers. 
In other Olympic news, the organizers have also revealed safety measures for the Games, regardless of the state of the pandemic when they open on July 23. However, no decision has yet been made on how many spectators will be allowed to attend each event until the spring. Also, if events are cancelled or curtailed in some way, the organizers say they will carry out more refunds.
Blackpink Plots Paid Livestream Concert
BlackPink On Red:
– BlackPink On Red:
Blackpink took on one of the U.S.’s largest festivals when it played Coachella Valley Music & Arts festival April 12. The group visited North America, Europe, Australia and Asia on its 2019 world tour.

K-pop’s biggest girl group, Blackpink, has announced its first paid online concert, which will take place in partnership with YouTube on Dec. 27, according to the group’s management company, YG Entertainment. 

The concert, titled YG Palm Stage — 2020 Blackpink: The Show, will start at 2 p.m. Korean time and other times for other regions of the world. The concert will mark the first time that the four-member vocal group will perform live in almost 17 months, following their global tour, which visited 23 countries on 4 continents.
The concert, according to YG, also marks the first time a “global artist” will livestream a show to the world via YouTube Music. Presently, Blackpink’s YouTube Channel has 53.9 million subscribers, making it the second most popular YouTube Channel in the world for a music act. 
In addition to performing their hits Blackpink will also interact with fans. Tickets are $29.99 and $39.99. Price includes access to the online stream, rebroadcasts and custom emojis. The more expensive tickets also include access to behind-the-scenes content. 
Shrine Draws Throngs Of Concertgoing Hopefuls
Despite the pandemic, concerts are slowly coming back in Japan and with them demand for tickets, which can be hard to come by given that many venues still limit admissions due to social distancing concerns.
These circumstances have provided a curious opportunity for one Shinto shrine in Tokyo, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. The senior priest of the Fukutoku Shrine in central Tokyo told Asahi that he had been thanked by a worshipper earlier who had won a ticket in a lottery to a concert by one of Japan’s biggest pop bands after he placed his receipt for the ticket application in a lucky charm bag sold by the shrine. 
Ever since news got out about the worshipper’s good fortune, the 1,200-year-old shrine has been mobbed with other people hoping to score concert tickets to popular shows. In fact, the shrine has always had a particular reputation for good fortune in terms of regular lotteries, meaning the kind that pay large amounts of money in prizes. As long ago as the Edo era (1603-1867), the shrine actually sold lottery tickets on its grounds. Now, that reputation for good luck has extended to rare tickets for concerts, stage musicals and other performances. 
Some worshippers who spoke to Asahi also said that, while they do pray for access to tickets, they mainly pray for the related productions to proceed without problem, since the coronavirus is still at large and such entertainment can be cancelled at any time. The priest acknowledged that going to shows with other people could pose health problems, but that it doesn’t hurt to cater to people’s sincere desire for normalcy.
Seoul Enacts Capacity Restrictions
On Dec. 8, Seoul implemented another partial lockdown as the number of COVID cases spike in the Korean capital. The city government has announced level 2.5 distancing measures, which is the second highest level in accordance with the anti-COVID measures plan. 
That means performing arts venues must leave two-thirds of their seats empty. According to The Inquirer, the new limitations will likely lead to cancellation and postponement of already scheduled shows, since it will be difficult for producers to turn any sort of profit.
The announcement has already sparked a series of cancellations. 
The Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theater said it would stop its production of “Little Women” starting Dec. 18, and the Universal Ballet Company said it may change the schedule for its holiday run of “The Nutcracker,” which was supposed to open Dec. 18. 
Smaller private musical productions are not as adversely affected, but many have said they would voluntarily shut down in order to curb any possible spread of the virus. The French production of “Notre Dame de Paris,” with cast and staff from Paris, will also halt evening performances, at least until Dec. 13. 
The show is set to run through January. Some classical music concerts have been cancelled. Also, the New Years Eve concert featuring BTS and other Big Hit Entertainment acts will now be an online-only affair. Originally, the show was going to be staged in front of a live audience.