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are UK festivals sluggish to embrace Okay-pop?

Practically 4 years in the past, BLACKPINK made historical past. Acting on Coachella’s Sahara stage in 2019, the powerhouse group turned the primary feminine Okay-pop act to seem on the competition (and proved they deserved such a title). On the time, their reserving felt like a momentous feat and a sign {that a} tide was turning – curiosity in Okay-pop was quickly rising within the west, however it was nonetheless flying underneath the radar nearly a decade after PSY’s ‘Gangnam Fashion’ turned a world phenomenon.

Now, as BLACKPINK are invited again to the Californian desert to take their place as headliners, issues have modified. Korean tradition may be very a lot a dominant power proper now, with creatives from the nation main every thing from music to movie and TV, trend and wonder to meals. Based on Duolingo, in 2021, Korean was the second-fastest-growing language on the app.

On competition payments within the US, an increasing number of Okay-pop acts are popping up amongst their western counterparts. Final yr, BTS rapper J-hope turned the primary South Korean artist to headline a principal stage at a US competition together with his triumphant Lollapalooza efficiency whereas a day prior, Tomorrow X Collectively turned the primary Okay-pop artist to seem on the Chicago competition. In December, SEVENTEEN took over LAC3 alongside Snoop Dogg, Lil Child, Maluma and extra, and again in 2019, MONSTA X took a visit to Las Vegas for Life Is Lovely. When a mocked-up model of this yr’s Coachella line-up circulated on-line final week, its proposition that boyband CIX – common however not one of many largest acts to make an impression exterior of Korea – might have been booked by the competition wasn’t shocking (alas, the rumor was too good to be true).

Okay-pop’s progress within the west hasn’t simply been confined to the US, though you would possibly assume it to take a look at UK competition line-ups. The place the likes of Coachella have been proactive and open-minded in embracing Korean artists’ growing recognition, Britain is lagging far behind. To date, only one Okay-pop act has been revealed to be heading to British fields this summer season – BLACKPINK as soon as once more making historical past at London’s BST Hyde Park – whereas latest competition seasons have been sorely missing within the Okay-pop division. Even Glastonbury, a utopia of various sounds, types and cultures, hasn’t made the leap but.

J-hope at Lollapalooza 2022 CREDIT: Michael Hickey/Getty Photographs

It isn’t like there is not a requirement for these artists right here. Enormous names like BTS and BLACKPINK have offered out a number of nights at huge venues in minutes in London, whereas a fast scan of the town’s upcoming gigs displaying concert events from the likes of CIX, Kang Daniel, ATEEZ, The Rose and extra, with the latter two offered out or close to to it. There’s been an increase in Okay-pop membership nights within the UK for the reason that nation reopened that, from social media, look heaving with followers, whereas BTS, TWICE and BLACKPINK have all entered the difficult-to-penetrate UK charts. There’s even an exhibition on the V&A on the rise of Korean tradition as we converse.

In fact, there are various completely different logical explanation why Okay-pop might but to interrupt into the UK competition scene – visa complexities, budgets, schedule conflicts, the artists themselves turning down alternatives – that may stay unseen and unknown by most people. However, with curiosity in Okay-culture not going away anytime quickly and Okay-pop set to go from energy to energy, British competition organizers want to begin wanting nearer on the scene to cease their occasions from being left behind by the remainder of the world . Leaving these artists siloed off into Okay-pop-only festivals would possibly present enjoyable alternatives to take pleasure in a wholesome dose of the scene however, if these are the UK’s solely choices, aren’t massively within the spirit of contemporary music consumption.

At this level within the twenty first century, we frequently speak proudly of how there aren’t any boundaries to music anymore – tribalism is useless, anybody can take heed to no matter eclectic mixture of genres they like. Coachella’s 2023 line-up definitely represents that – a competition the place you’ll be able to flit between reggaeton star Dangerous Bunny, New York punks Blondie, forward-thinking British pop from Charli XCX, experimental mind-benders courtesy of Björk, jungle reviver Nia Archives and, of after all, BLACKPINK’s infectious Okay-pop. British festivals aren’t massively off-the-mark relating to variety, however it appears unusual that we’ve not been fairly as desperate to throw Okay-pop into our celebratory melting pot to date.

There could possibly be hope for the close to future, although. Final yr, Studying & Leeds surveyed who followers needed to see on the occasions in 2023. Among the many listed selections was J-hope, sizzling off his Lollapalooza set. On the very least, it suggests large competition organizers are beginning to sit up and take into account Okay-pop’s place on their payments – fingers crossed these issues flip into actuality very quickly.

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