Asia News: Pentaport Rock Fest Returns; Legoland Opens; Asian Games Postponed


Pentaport Rock Festival Returns To Incheon

Incheon’s Pentaport Rock Festival, South Korea’s biggest outdoor festival featuring foreign acts, announced it will present the event this year from Aug. 5-7 at Songdo Moonlight Festival Park.

The promoters told the Korea Herald they expect the festival to “return to normalcy” after two years of the pandemic.

An initial lineup of artists will be announced before the end of May.

The World DJ Festival will also return to Seoul for the first time since 2019 when it takes place at the Jamsil Sports Complex’s Olympic Auxiliary Stadium Aug. 11-13.

South Korea’s “most representative electronic music festival,” according to the Joongang Daily, the event was originally slated for June but moved to August due to caution about whether social distancing rules would still be in place.

The festival’s organizer, BEPCTangent Creative, says that it will be the biggest in-person concert event in the country to take place since the start of the pandemic, since the venue can hold up to 80,000 people.

Legoland Opens In Chuncheon

A new Legoland amusement park opened in Chuncheon, South Korea, on May 5, the 10th Lego theme park in the world. According to the Aju Business Daily, tickets for opening day were sold out in advance.

Chuncheon is located about 46 miles northeast of Seoul on the border with North Korea. The park features 40 rides and seven “clusters” built with Lego bricks. A 154-room hotel is attached to the park, operated by Legoland Korea Resort, which offers a pre-booking system for smooth traffic.

The provincial government sees Legoland as being the anchor for a major tourist development and is busy attracting private investment to build shopping malls and other facilities. They predict about 1.5 million visitors a year, even though various civic groups continue to contest the development, saying that local boosters are overestimating the benefits.

Another major concern is traffic, since only one bridge can carry motor vehicles to the park. The city has said it will work to expand infrastructure in order to ease congestion.

Revenue Up With Restrictions Lifted

The suspension of COVID countermeasures in South Korea a month ago has led to a sharp increase in revenue for the performing arts sector in Seoul.

The Korea Herald reports that with nearly all social distancing rules removed, revenues for plays, musicals and classical concerts for the period covering April 18, when the rules were lifted, to May 1 reached 17.3 billion won ($13.7 million), according to the Korea Performing Arts Box Office Information System.

That’s three times the sales reported during the same period in 2020, the first year that the pandemic affected the arts scene.

It also represented a 54% increase over the same period in 2021.

The main difference is that venues no longer have to maintain empty seats to ensure social distancing during performances.

In addition, indoor theaters can resume the sale of refreshments.

In anticipation of the change in rules, promoters booked guaranteed popular works, mainly in the musicial theater category, which sold out almost immediately.

In coming months, presenters expect a further boost to their fortunes as they bring back big-name foreign artists and large-scale outdoor K-pop concerts.

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Asian Games Postponed

The Asian Games, slated to take place in Hangzhou in September, have been indefinitely “postponed,” according to various Asian media sites, which speculate that the reason is a sudden resurgence of COVID cases.

The presenters of the Games have not revealed a definite reason for the delay.

The official Asian Games website simply says, “The Olympic Council of Asia has announced that the 19th Asian Games, originally scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 10 to 25, 2022, will be postponed.”

New dates will be announced sometime in the future, the statement continued.

Hangzhou, a city of 12 million, isn’t far from Shanghai, which has been subject to weeks of official lockdown as part of the government’s zero-tolerance approach to containing the virus.

Hangzhou has already constructed 56 competition venues specifically for the Games.