Asia News: Reactions To Lifting Of COVID Restrictions, Fuji Rock Lineup, Concerts Return And So Do Scalpers

2 ASIA Calvin
COMING TO CREAMFIELDS: Calvin Harris, one of Creamfields Hong Kong’s 2023 headliners, performs at Superbloom festival Sept. 3, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Joshua Sammer/Getty Images for Superbloom)


Reactions To Lifting Of Restrictions

The Japanese government’s lifting of restrictions on yelling and singing loudly at sporting events and concerts has met with mixed reactions from the public. Keen to get back to normal after three years of limits on crowd activities, the government will have rescinded most of the restrictions by the end of spring this year, according to Kyodo news service.

However, some organizations have opted to keep certain restrictions. Nippon Professional Baseball, for instance, has said that it will allow fans to express their feelings vocally during games but that they will still need to be masked.

Japan’s main professional soccer league, the J-League, will maintain the same policy, citing surveys that show some fans are anxious about attending matches without at least some protections.

Performing arts presenters have a more difficult task, since they have to deal not only with the different concerns of the audience, but those of the artists as well. On May 8, the government will officially downgrade the status of COVID to that of seasonal flu, thus removing all restrictions, and many promoters are wondering if they should still keep some restrictions, such as masks, in place.

An executive of an association of theater companies complained to Kyodo that “some theatergoers want to wear masks, others don’t. We have all kinds of patrons. We can’t stage performances if we ignore people’s wishes.” This is especially true of certain types of theatrical performances that mainly attract older people. “If they became infected,” said one theater official, “it would be unbearable.”

First Round Of Fuji Rock Acts Revealed

On Feb. 3, Japan’s Smash Corporation announced the first series of acts for this summer’s Fuji Rock Festival, which takes place July 28-30 at the Naeba Ski Resort in the mountains of Niigata Prefecture.

The three headliners for the weekend will be Foo Fighters, Lizzo and the Strokes. The announcement was made about a month earlier than usual.

Other acts include Lewis Capaldi, Weezer, NxWorries (Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge), Alanis Morissette, Cory Wong, Denzel Curry, Slowdive, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Yo La Tengo, Black Midi, Louis Cole, Dermot Kennedy, Idles, G. Love & Donavon Frankenreiter, Gogo Penguin, Yard Act, Sudan Archives and Yung Bae. More artists will be announced in the coming weeks.


Calvin Harris, Chainsmokers, Tiësto Top Creamfields

The lineup for the Creamfields festival, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest electronic music events in Hong Kong history, was announced with Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers and Tiësto headlining.

The festival is scheduled to take place April 1-2 at the Central Harbourfront Event Space. Also on the roster are MK, Above & Beyond, John Summit, Baauer, Morten, Slushii, Pink Panda and Blasterjaxx.


Fans Call For Sketchbooks Ban

South Korean fans are calling for a ban on a practice that became common during the pandemic at the few K-pop concerts and events that took place: sketchbooks.

K-pop concerts are for the most part interactive affairs, with a great deal of give-and-take between artist and crowd, and when the crowds were prevented from expressing themselves in the normal way they resorted to a new means of communication.

They would scribble their feelings or song requests on large sketchbooks and hold them above their heads to show the artists on stage. Those who were more resourceful used large iPads and other tablets, but sketchbooks were the preferred medium.

According to the K-pop fan site Gossip Chimp, most fans despise the practice, since sketchbooks tend to block sightlines of other audience members. On social media, viral protests have deemed the practice a “deep-rooted evil” and “mannerless behavior.”


Concerts Are Back And So Are Scalpers

As international acts have returned to Singapore stages, ticket scalpers have followed undiminished, while those buying tickets have forgotten how they previously avoided higher prices for popular acts.

Channel News Asia offers the example of a young woman who wanted to see the K-pop act Mamamoo and was making her first concert ticket purchase, unaware that she should register at the ticketing website to guarantee that she can get online right away.

By the time she accessed the ticket site, the concert was sold out, sending her to secondary market Carousell. There, she found Mamamoo tickets going for more than four times face value.

Those prices, actually, weren’t that bad. Scalpers in Singapore have been commanding as much as 10 times face value of tickets they’ve scooped up in bulk at onsale. Consumers have complained bitterly, but authorities have mostly taken a hands-off approach, saying it is the way the market works.

In the U.S., such methods are strictly limited by law. Nevertheless, Singapore seems reluctant to pass anti-bot laws because the time and resources necessary to trace bot operators is “prohibitively expensive and impractical.” In any case, many bot operators are overseas, where the Singapore authorities can’t get to them.