Asia News: Supersonic, Dream Concert, One Love & More
Supersonic To Feature International Talent
Japan’s Creativeman Productions released a statement on May 31 formally announcing that it would be going ahead with its Supersonic music festival this year after postponing it last year due to the COVID pandemic.
Supersonic had been planned before the pandemic took hold in 2020 as a substitute for Creativeman’s annual rock festival Summer Sonic, which normally takes place simultaneously in a suburb of Tokyo and Osaka in August.
However, due to the fact that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 would be using the Tokyo venue for some of its events, Summer Sonic 2020 was cancelled and replaced with Supersonic, which was to be held in September.
Though officially Supersonic 2020, which was to headline the 1975 and the Black Eyed Peas, was postponed to this year, the version that will take place in September will only be two days instead of three – Sept. 18 and 19.
In addition, due to continued restrictions put in place by Creativeman and nine other Japanese concert promoters in a bid to accelerate the admission of foreign artists to Japan for concerts, the number or artists will be reduced to about 30.
However, the main news imparted by the statement was that the lineup for Supersonic 2021 would include foreign artists, thus making it the first Japanese festival since the pandemic started that would feature overseas acts. The statement did not mention any names of acts but said they would be announced “soon.”
Persons who retained one-day tickets from last year will be able to use them on the “applicable dates” this year. Those with 3-day passes or those who cannot attend for other reasons will receive full refunds. The Platinum ticket plan, which is a kind of VIP service, will be cancelled, with all Platinum ticketholders receiving refunds.
The statement goes on to say that the featured acts will be from “the US and the UK, where the vaccination program is proceeding quite well.” Apparently, one of the conditions for playing in Japan will be for all the artists, as well as their crews, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before coming to Japan. The statement also implies that the success of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in July and August will be a considerable determinant as to whether Supersonic proceeds as scheduled.
Han Myung-Gu / Getty Images – Living The Dream
Wanna One performs at the G-100 Dream Concert on Nov. 4, 2017 in Pyeongchang-gun,South Korea. The Dream Concert is scheduled to go ahead later this year, possibly with a live audience.
Dream Concert May Feature Live Audience
According to the Korea Herald, the 27th Dream Concert, a major K-pop event that has been held annually since 1995, may take place offline this year, thus making it one of the first large-scale K-pop concerts to be realized in front of an audience in South Korea for more than a year.
As was the case last year, the concert, now scheduled for June 26 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, will definitely take place online. The Korea Entertainment Producer’s Association told the newspaper that “an in-person concert might still be possible” but only in compliance with the government’s social distancing policies. The names of acts are to be announced at a later date.
Nevertheless, the event’s sponsor, 7SIX9 Entertainment, released its own statement saying, “We came on as a sponsor to solidify Korean entertainment’s global status and to quench the thirst of K-pop fans who have been stuck at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” thus suggesting that the concert would take place offline as well, according to the website Soompi.
The first Dream Concert commemorated the 50th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule. Over the years the concert has featured 531 acts and attracted 1.5 million fans.
One Love Nixed
As some Asian festivals return to stages in front of live audiences, Singapore’s One Love Asia Festival, slated for October, was canceled on May 31, according to the Straits Times, which noted that the event had already been postponed several times from its originally scheduled dates in May 2020.
The chief operating officer of IMC Group Asia said in a statement, “The decision to cancel the event was a particularly difficult one, but the safety and well-being of our audience, artists and staff was our main preoccupation.”
The statement went on to say that it would be difficult to predict how “the situation” would evolve over the coming months, but since the festival was expected to draw about 7,000 people, IMC wanted to “minimize the risk” as much as possible.
The lineup had included major pop and hip-hop stars from South Korea, China and Southeast Asia.
Japan Eases Restrictions For Cultural Events
As the number of infections continue to drop in Japan and the vaccination rollout accelerates thanks to the efforts of local governments, the Japanese government has given the go-ahead to various prefectures, including Tokyo, to ease restrictions on commercial facilities that present entertainment and culture events, including museums, cinemas and some concert halls.
However, attendance caps will remain in place for concerts and sporting events and alcohol sales will still be banned since the government has yet to lift the state of emergency in Tokyo and other prefectures. Universal Studios Japan in Osaka will be open on weekdays and Tokyo Disneyland will maintain shorter business hours for the time being.
In other news, the government is still mulling whether or not to allow Japanese spectators to attend Olympic events. Though public support for holding the games during a pandemic remains fairly weak, the government seems determined to push ahead with the Games, saying that the decision is really up to the International Olympic Committee.
Though foreigners will not be allowed into Japan to watch the events, local media report that Japan’s ruling party is keen to allow domestic fans into venues under certain conditions.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that the government is considering requiring either negative COVID-19 test results or records of vaccination to attend events, though a government spokesperson denied that any such decision had been reached yet.
The Yomiuri report prompted an outpouring of sentiment on Twitter, most of it derisive. As one person said, “Who will want to attend an Olympic event if, on top of the ticket price, the spectator would have to pay for a COVID test and then not be able to cheer, eat or drink?”