Asia News: BTS Performs Busan Concert; Avril Lavigne Postpones Hong Kong, Philippines

3 KoreaBTS
BTS performs “Butter” at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on April 3, 2022, in Las Vegas. The surprise announcement by BTS that they were taking a break to focus on members’ solo projects stunned their global fanbase, shaking their label’s stock price and leaving many questions about the K-pop supergroup’s future. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)


BTS Performs In Busan; Will Fulfill Military Duty

BTS staged its highly anticipated and logistically controversial free concert in the South Korean port city of Busan Oct. 15, and by all accounts, it was an unqualified success. The concert was organized to draw attention to Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo, and may be BTS’s last concert as a full group until 2025, as it’s been announced the members will fulfill their military service.

The organizers of the “Yet to Come” concert initially planned to invite 100,000 people to the in-person concert, though several media said the number actually allowed in was about 55,000. In addition, large projection screens were set up at the Busan Port and on Haeundae Beach, the city’s resort area, so that fans who could not get into the stadium could watch the 90-minute concert in real time.

BTS was careful to stress during between-song patter that they were determined to remain as a group, thus indirectly addressing reports that the oldest member, Jin, was about to enter the military for his mandatory national service. Two days later, the group’s management company, BigHit Music, announced what everyone had already taken for granted, that all seven members would start fulfilling their military service obligations over the coming year or so and that they would reassemble as a unit in 2025.

In a statement, BigHit said, “[We are] proud to announce today that the members of BTS are currently moving forward with plans to fulfill their military service. After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each individual embarks on solo endeavors, it’s the perfect time and the members of BTS are honored to serve.”

That would mean that the Busan show would be the last BTS concert for some time. However, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Oct. 18 that members of the group would be able to participate in “national” events for the “public good” while serving in the military. In addition, the stock price of Hybe, BigHit’s parent company, skyrocketed.

Visa Issues Mar Travel To KAMP Festival

KAMP Los Angeles 2022, a festival-like showcase for some of the biggest K-pop artists, which took place Oct. 15-16 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena had to make some quick, last-minute changes to its lineup when a good portion of the roster was prevented from entering the U.S. due to “work visa issues,” according to the K-pop fan site Soompi.

The artists who had to pull out included Taeyeon of Girls’ Generation, Kai of EXO and BamBam of GOT7. As a result, the artists who could make it extended their stage times and the festival added several other acts to the Saturday lineup, including Momoland, which was already slated to play Sunday.

Then, on Oct. 15, the organizers announced that the biggest act slated for the Sunday show, Monsta X, would not be able to make it, also because of visa issues. In a statement, the group’s management, Starship Entertainment, said, “Although Monsta X fully cooperated with the organizers of KAMP LA 2022 to receive performance-related visas, including providing all necessary documents in advance, we ended up with no visa approval.” In addition, Starship revealed that they had been asked by the organizers to hold off on their announcement about Monsta X’s no-show. “Our company was made aware that our statement could be released only after the release of the organizers’ own announcement, but we decided that we could not delay our statement any longer for fans who are waiting.”


Eason Chan Ticket Resales Skyrocket

The price of tickets to Cantopop star Eason Chan’s sold-out concerts in December are reported to be breaking records on the secondary market. Some media in China are reporting that tickets for the 18-night run of shows at the Hong Kong Coliseum are going for as much as HK$28,000 ($3,566).

About 58,000 tickets have been sold for the Hong Kong stand, which were gone in less than a day after going on sale. Four additional shows in January were completely snapped up after three hours. The Star reports that some fans were so desperate for tickets that they were falling easily for scammers on social media. A student reportedly lost close to $30,000 trying to buy 10 tickets.

The excitement and desperation can be blamed on the pandemic. Chan’s concerts have been postponed multiple times over the past two years, disappointing fans and thus making any appearance all the more precious.

Avril Lavigne Again Postpones Asia Shows

On October 14, Avril Lavigne posted messages on various ticketing websites announcing that she was postponing her scheduled concerts in Hong Kong and Manila.

The Hong Kong show was scheduled for Nov. 1 and the Manila show for Nov. 3. Lavigne’s Japan concerts, also slated for November, have not been canceled.

This is the third time that Lavigne’s Manila and Hong Kong shows have been postponed. Originally, she was to tour Asia in 2020 but had to call it off due to COVID. The shows were then moved to May 2022 and then again to November.

According to the South China Morning Post, Lavigne was considered the first big foreign act to appear in Hong Kong this year, since China only halted its strict quarantine policy last month. Several major K-pop acts will be coming to the city in November and January.