Asia News: Beautiful Mint Life Returns, Mayday Reschedules Singapore & More

Beautiful Mint Life
– Beautiful Mint Life

Festivals Return To South Korea With Beautiful Mint Life 
South Korea has turned a corner in its bid to escape the coronavirus by holding the first mass outdoor pop concert since the COVID pandemic began, media in the country reported.
Beautiful Mint Life, an annual music festival that mostly features indie artists, took place the weekend of June 26 at the Olympic Park in Seoul in front of about 4,000 people, which is the new limit for pop music concerts according to the government. 
The two-day event, which started each day at around 3 p.m, featured performances from 14 acts. All attendees had to go through a rigorous three-stage entrace process that included a rapid virus test that produced results in 10 minutes, According to Yonhap news agency/ The tests were administered at a nearby gymnasium divided into 100 cubicles where attendees tested themselves. Following the tests, the attendees were allowed onto the grounds of the park in groups of no more than four. Chants and singalongs were prohibited and artists encouraged fans to show their appreciation instead through clapping and dancing in place. One artist created a new show of support by asking attendees to form circles with their arms to indicate their enjoyment of the music. 
Despite the strict rules, Yonhap reports that both artists and fans reacted to the event very emotionally, with most of the acts saying from the stage that they couldn’t believe they were finally playing in front of people again. Pop music concerts have had the toughest time during the pandemic in Korea since previous rules put a cap of only 99 people per performance, while rules for classical concerts and traditional music concerts were looser. In fact, some pop artists would hire orchestras in order for their events to qualify as classical concerts just so they could perform. Also, larger K-pop groups did fairly well by holding successful online concerts during the pandemic, and Yonhap says the sector is now gearing up for its first major offline concerts in 18 months centered on in-person fan meets. 
The breakout K-pop act of the pandemic, Brave Girls, who have actually been around since 2011 but only had their first hit recently with a smash revival of their 2017 song “Rollin'”, are scheduled to have their first-ever fan meet-up on July 25. Pledis Entertainment also announced that its main act, the boy band Seventeen, will hold a fan meet=up from August 6 to 8 with a flexible attendance number in case more restrictions are lifted by the government between now and then. 
Fans React To LovelyZ Member Testing Posititve For COVID
Some Chinese fans of K-pop are questioning the safety protocols in South Korea for K-pop artists after a member of the girl group LovelyZ tested positive for the coronavirus, thus leading to a temporary suspension of their activities due to quarantining procedures, according to a June 24 report from Global Times, China’s English language state media service.
The group has fans all over Asia, including China, where many sent get-well messages to the infected member. But Global Times reports that just as many voices on social media have criticized the Korean entertainment industry, which they say tries to “hasten its artists back onstage” as quickly as possible. Given that offline K-pop concerts have not restarted, the criticism is perhaps misplaced, but this year’s edition of Dream Concert, a huge K-pop festival that was cancelled last year, did take place, thus spurring the ire of Chinese web users, since LovelyZ was scheduled to perform. As one Chinese fan tweeted, “You cannot just ignore the scary number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Artists should have gotten COVID-19 vaccination shots before resuming work.”
Mayday Reschedules Singapore Concert (Again)
Taiwan’s Mayday, one of the biggest guitar rock bands in all of Asia, rescheduled their long-awaited Singapore concert for the third time last week due to the pandemic. The show was scheduled for September, after having been postponed from August 2020 and again from February 2021. It will now take place Dec. 3 at Singapore’s National Stadium. Consequently, while the original concert was supposed to be part of the band’s “Just Rock It!!! Blue” tour, it will now be part of their subsequent “Fly to 2022” tour. All tickets sold for the first three shows will be honored at the December gig, though those who cannot make it are entitled to a full refund. 
BTS’ Militiary Service Postponed? 
South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Hwang Hee, spoke on a local television news channel June 23, about the pending military enlistment of the members of BTS, K-pop’s biggest act and one of highest earning pop groups in the world at the moment. According to the website KpopStarz, Hwang said that if BTS were to apply for their mandatory military service enlistment, the government could actually consider delaying the time they would enter service. In fact, the government could “push..for their postponement.”

Last December, South Korea revised its Military Service Act, thus granting pop artists who “greatly enhanced South Korea’s national prestige both at home and throughout the world” to put off their mandatory military service until the age of 30. Normally, able-bodied Korean males have to enlist by the time they turn 28. Some media reported that the revision was enacted specifically to address BTS’s situation, since all the members have already turned 28 or soon will. The reason for this theory is that the scope of the revision only applies to extraordinary cases, of which BTS may be the only example right now. In the past, exemptions or deferrals were only granted to high-profile athletes or classical musicians. In any case, once a person starts his mandatory service he is a soldier for about 20 months. 

In related new, K-pop boy band 2PM released its first new music in five years on June 28 after five members completed their own military service recently. A sixth member is Thai-American and thus was not subject to the conscription law. 2PM debuted under the auspices of JYP Entertainment in 2008, and consistently topped the charts until 2016 when the group starting entering the military.