Asia News: Woodstock Canceled; BLACKPINK Tour Ends; China Scalping Crackdown

Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix Live Performances
SINGAPOSTY: Post Malone performs at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit in the city/state on Sept. 16. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)


Woodstock Korea Canceled

The Woodstock curse strikes again. On Sept. 18, South Korea’s SGC Entertainment announced on its official website that the Woodstock Music and Art Fair 2023 had been canceled “due to circumstances concerning the organizer,” according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

The three-day festival, the first to bear the Woodstock imprimatur outside of the U.S., had originally been scheduled to take place in July but last month was postponed until October “to ensure a safe operation and to work on the event’s completion.” At the time, SGC insisted that the event was “being postponed, not canceled.”

Almost all the artists that had been announced for the festival were Korean, though there were rumors that international guests might participate. This is the second time a festival with the Woodstock trademark has been canceled in Korea. The first one was supposed to happen in 2010.

This year’s aborted edition faced problems right from the start. JoongAng Daily says that initially “fans criticized the decision to reuse the name Woodstock” due to controversies surrounding followup festivals in the U.S. in 1994, 1999 and 2019.

They also expressed doubts about the original venue announced for the event on the Hantan River, which they said “lacked adequate infrastructure.” In addition, the lineup had shifted so often that no one really knew who was going to perform, and the original ticket prices were so high ($300 for the weekend) that it seemed they might be unsellable.

Seoul To Build Domed Baseball Stadium

The municipal government of Seoul will build what it claims to be the “world’s second domed baseball stadium annexed with a hotel” in the southeastern part of the Korean capital by 2031, Yonhap reports.

The mayor, On Se-hoon, unveiled the plan on Sept. 18 after having toured Toronto’s Rogers Center, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team, a stadium that features a retractable roof. According to the plan, Seoul will demolish the Jamsil Baseball Stadium at the end of the 2025 baseball season and break ground in 2026 to construct the new domed stadium in its place. The projected opening will be at the end of 2031.

The city’s aim is for the stadium to hold at least 30,000 people. It will also be equipped with a concourse that links to the grandstand, as well as a series of premium seats, a skybox, a “family zone” and field boxes. The stadium will be able to easily convert to use for large-scale concerts in the off-season.

The most ambitious aspect is to attach a 300-room hotel to the stadium, with 120 rooms overlooking the field, just as the Toronto Marriott City Center Hotel overlooks the field of the Rogers Center. In his presentation, Oh said, “Watching the baseball game is the purpose, but the well-built facilities, the attached hotel in particular, render the experience like a festival. We are reviewing the plan to build the stadium in combination with a hotel so that a baseball game can be enjoyed like a festival.”

The stadium is part of a broader plan to develop a sports and conference/exhibition complex in the Jamsil district of the city on a budget of about $377 million using private investors.

BLACKPINK Tour Concludes, Rumors Fly

K-pop girl group BLACKPINK concluded its nearly year-long “Born Pink” world tour at Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome on Sept. 17 in front of 35,000 fans. The tour consisted of 66 performances comprising 34 different cities around the world. At the end of the performance, the group thanked the crowd for their support and promised to be back better than ever.

The Korean media fixated on this last remark because there have been rumors that one of the quartet’s members, Lalisa Monoban, better known simply as Lisa, has yet to renew her contract with the group’s management company, YG Entertainment. In line with the end of the “Born Pink” tour, August also marks the end of BLACKPINK’s management contract, which in the K-pop world is typically limited to seven years. BLACKPINK made its debut in August 2016.

The news, reported by Star News, that Lisa had rejected a new contract caused YG’s stock to drop by 9% on Sept. 15.

In a statement, YG has insisted that negotiations are ongoing, but other reports say that Lisa is now fielding offers from other agencies, including some in Thailand, her native country.

Apparently, remuneration within the group is not equal and, in the early days of BLACKPINK, Lisa, being Thai, was the object of discrimination by fans who called for her expulsion.

Prior to joining BLACKPINK, she was a star in her own right, having appeared successfully in several singing competitions in Thailand. She is the only Thai artist who has ever signed with YG.

In addition to her work with BLACKPINK, she has toiled for YG in a solo capacity, for which she holds seven Guinness World Records, including most viewed YouTube video by a solo artist in 24 hours and first solo K-pop winner at the MTV Video Music Awards.


22 Arrested In Scalping Crackdown

Following a crackdown on ticket scalpers for mandopop superstar Jay Chou and 22 arrests in the city of Tianjin, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Public Security announced they will strengthen ticketing procedures for “large-scale commercial performance events with audiences of more than 5,000” with a real-name purchase and entry system.

Chinese state organ Global Times reports that identity cards will be issued and one ticket can be purchased per card, and identity information must match on both.

The ministry also ordered that tickets made available for public purchase must not be less than 85% of a venue’s capacity, and the remaining 15% will also require identification procedures.

The policy was quickly implemented in the wake of a surge in concerts and performing arts events in China, which has led to an attendant surge in scalping and ticket speculation.