Asia News: Bruno Mars In Korea; Singapore’s First Camp Fest, Coldplay Rules; Macau’s Galaxy Arena Partners With Tencent

South Korea BTS Anniversary
A fan of BTS holds a banner showing an image of V, a member of K-pop band BTS during an event to celebrate the 10th debut anniversary of K-pop band BTS at a public park near the Han River in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, June 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)


Bruno Mars Breaks Records

Bruno Mars’ two Seoul concerts on June 17 and 18 at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium attracted a total of 101,000 fans, thus making it the largest crowd in total ever drawn by any foreign act in South Korea, Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on June 19. The previous record of 100,000 was set by Coldplay in 2017.

It was Mars’ first appearance in Korea in nine years, and the newspaper said that some 1.16 million people logged in to the special website to buy tickets in late April when they went on sale, with the top price at 250,000 won ($196). Other reports say that resale prices for tickets went as high as 3 million won, or $2,350. The paper’s reporter said that about 200 people waited all night starting Saturday evening for any ticket cancellations for the Sunday show.

Apparently, the appreciation wasn’t lost on Mars, as another newspaper, the Joongang Daily, reported that the American artist added Korean lyrics to one of his songs and sprinkled his stage patter with fairly long Korean phrases.

In addition, the Sunday performance attacted the cream of Seoul’s celebrity community, according to K-pop fansite, with members of groups like BTS, Blackpink, Red Velvet, NCT, Super Junior, Monsta X, Le Sserafim, Girls Generation, The Boyz, EXO, Bigbang, not to mention dozens of movie and TV stars, all spotted in the audience by civilian paparazzi.

However, the celebrity sightings prompted anger among non-celebrity fans of Mars. The fansite reported a great deal of activity on social media with complaints about celebrities receiving special treatment, since they all seemed to have ended up in the best seats, while a number of non-celebrity ticketholders had seats with obstructed views.

Though commenters allowed for invitations that organizers often send out, the sheer number of famous people made them more vocal, so much so that the concert’s organizer, Hyundai Card, felt compelled to release a statement: “We have not yet confirmed the exact number of invitations. It is possible that management companies purchased a large number of tickets for their artists. The remaining tickets were mostly sold through the ticketing system.” An insider told the fansite that celebrities are often sent invitations as a “promotional strategy” but such a scheme can backfire if regular fans become angry.

Apparently, many of these complaints got through to the celebrities themselves, since in subsequent days some tweeted that they had, in fact, bought their tickets and even provided photographic proof on social media. If one good thing resulted from the brouhaha it’s that Hyundai Card promised to issue refunds to those fans who couldn’t see the stage.


Sunda Festival Campout Set

The Singapore-based party collective, Ice Cream Sundays, has partnered with Hong Kong-based Florian Melinette, co-founder of the Shi Fu Miz Festival, to launch the Sunda Festival, Singapore’s first camp-in music festival, which takes place Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 at the Sarimbun Scout Camp.

Attendees can rent specially modified huts erected on the campgrounds, pitch their own tents or use special shuttle buses to access the festival site on a daily basis.

The concept of the unique festival is, according to, uniting the Southeast Asia region with music and geology. The name of the festival is taken from the Sunda tectonic plate that underlies Singapore and neighboring areas.

The organizers say their aim is to showcase the “creative undercurrents of the region.” The Sunda landmass, it is believed, once connected all the islands of Southeast Asia to the Asian continent.

The artists are mostly Singporean or from neighboring countries, including Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. However, there will also be acts from Japan and Australia.

Coldplay Continues Takeover

As predicted, the four Singapore concerts that Coldplay added to their extended Asia tour next January sold out in a matter of hours after becoming available. More than 200,000 tickets were sold for the shows, and local media is reporting that almost 1 million fans went online to try and buy tickets, so obviously a lot of people came away disappointed. Consequently, the band added two more shows at the National Stadium on January 30 and 31.

Presales for the added shows also sold out quickly on the morning of June 19, according to the Straits Times. After reports of online problems like black screens and being dropped from the ticketing queue, many fans decided to forego the computer experience and started lining up early Tuesday morning to buy general sale tickets for the first five concerts at physical outlets throughout Singapore. Doors opened at 10 a.m. and the tickets were gone by 11:45.

Coldplay is the first artist ever to play six nights at the National Stadium. The last time they performed in Singapore was 2017, and that time they only played one concert.

Singapore has become an important stop for international artists. Taylor Swift just announced the Asia leg of her Eras tour and she will be playing three nights at the National Stadium. So far Singapore is the only stop the tour will make in Southeast Asia.


Galaxy Arena Partners With Tencent

The owner of Macau’s new mega-venue, the Galaxy Arena, has announced a three-year partnership with the live music arm of China’s Tencent Holdings on June 13.

In a statement published in the Macau Daily Times, Galaxy Entertainment Group said, “The parties will draw upon their respective resources and experience to organize an array of entertainment events with the aim of promoting the development of Macau’s culture and entertainment industry.”

The partnership brand, called TME Live, will operate “multifaceted businesses that revolve around live performances on both online and offline platforms.” As a launching event for the venture, Galaxy Arena will host the 4th Tencent Music Entertainment Awards for two evenings in July to celebrate Chinese pop music.