Asia News: Seoul Stampede Forces Concert Cancellations, Singer Killed; Indonesia Fest Canceled

3 ASIA Blackpink
BLACKPINK, seen here at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Aug. 28. The K-pop girl group returns to Asia in 2023, with stops in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Manila, Singapore and more. (Johnny Nunez / Getty Images / MTV / Paramount Global)


Concerts Canceled In Wake Of Deadly Crowd Crush

More than 150 people were crushed to death in the narrow alleyways of the Itaewon district of Seoul during Halloween celebrations Oct. 29.

The next day, the government ordered a period of national mourning through Nov. 5 and, as a result, many concerts and other entertainment events scheduled during that period were canceled, most by the private event organizers but also by public entities.

According to the Korea JoongAng Daily, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism canceled some classical music concerts at the Blue House, which is the former residence and office of the South Korean president.

A spokesperson for the ministry said, “We have decided to cancel the concerts scheduled for Nov. 1 and 4 and will later announce our decision on whether to hold or cancel concerts on Nov. 7 and 11.”

The Busan One Asia Festival K-pop Concert was canceled just hours before it was to take place Oct. 30 at the Busan Asiad Main Stadium in the southern port city.

About 40,000 people purchased tickets to see a dozen K-pop acts perform, including girl groups Mamamoo and Le Sserafim.

Another band scheduled to appear, Pentagon, canceled its appearance at the festival due to a storm that forced cancellation of its flight from Manila, where they performed Oct. 29.
The Korea Tourism Organization announced they would provide refunds for the Busan concert. Amusement parks across the country, Including Everland and Lotte World, canceled Halloween-related events and parades in the wake of the tragedy.

Three popular trot singers, Jang Yoon-jeong, Yeong Tak and Hong Jin-young, canceled their concerts scheduled Oct. 30.

SM Entertainment canceled one of its biggest events of the year, SM Town Wonderland, scheduled for Oct. 30, the first time the concert would have taken place in four years.
The SM artists showcase was to include major acts as EXO, Red Velvet and NCT. BTS member Jin was to hold a listening party for his new single, “The Astronaut,” Oct. 30 and was to release a lyric video the day after, but both were canceled. Similarly, a dance practice video from boy band Tomorrow X Together, slated for release Oct. 31, was pulled.

Even overseas concerts by K-pop artists were canceled. Singer Jaejoong pulled out of his Oct. 30 performance in Japan just two hours before he was to take the stage. Organizers said he would reschedule the show.

However, two K-pop groups were the objects of widespread criticism for going ahead with concerts in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Boy band Ateez and girl group Dream Catcher both had two-day concert series Oct. 29-30.

Though the Oct. 29 shows were taking place as the situation in Itaewon unfolded, by the next day the worst was known, yet the groups’ respective management companies decided to go ahead anyway.

Singer Among Dead In Seoul

Among those killed in the Itae-won tragedy was 24-year-old singer Lee Jihan.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Lee’s agency, 935 Entertainment, announced the news on Oct. 31.

Lee emerged as a star during the second season of the Korean competition show, “Produce 101,” where K-pop performers try to secure a slot in a band.

Though Lee was eliminated during the fifth episode, he began taking acting roles and appeared in a popular TV drama in 2019.


Festival Canceled Over Safety Concerns

At about the same time the Itaewon tragedy was taking place, Indonesian police halted a music festival that was underway Oct. 29 after more people than expected showed up for the event.

The South China Morning Post reported about three times the number of people allowed for capacity at Berdendang Bergoyang had tried to enter the venue. Several people were reported to have fainted in the overcrowding.

Police suspect that too many tickets had been sold for the festival, which was to span three days. However, police canceled the remainder on the second day.

The event’s organizer told Jakarta police in its proposal that it would allow 3,000 people per day into the festival. However, on the first day, police estimate that more than 20,000 showed up, with even more on Saturday.

The Gelora Bung Karno Stadium holds about 7,000 people. Police are now investigating how tickets were sold.

On the first day, only one medical professional was on hand to help people seeking attention for various problems, leading the police commissioner to comment that the organizer had clearly “ignored safety factors, including providing evacuation routes.”
Videos on social media platforms showed people outside the venue pushing against a glass door to try to get in.

In addition, when police canceled the event citing the organizers’ neglect to follow police directives for audience limits, several fights broke out. Police are now studying whether to charge the organizer with a crime.