The K-pop Fanatics Guide to Concerts

Since K-pop seems to have finally found a map of the real world, and not one that consists of East Asia and a country or two in Southeast Asia, our favorite K-pop stars are starting to visit foreign fans across the globe. With this discovery and the increase of K-pop concerts worldwide, I thought it would be best to address the do’s and don’ts of concert etiquette. Hopefully, with these helpful tips, you won’t find yourself on the receiving end of a crazed fan girl’s rage, wielding a jagged light stick with no qualms over killing anyone that’s in the way of her oppa.

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WEAR PROPER ATTIRE

While being comfortable is important, I believe you should always dress to impress. You never know when you’re going to be meeting your future husband onstage or when he’s going to serenade you mid-concert. It’s important to be fashionable enough for any impromptu trips to Korea just in case you’re whisked away like you’ve always dreamed. If you’re a fan of cosplay you can always take the opportunity to dress up as your K-pop bias. You can use your concert experience as a chance to connect with other K-pop cosplayers. K-pop concerts will always be the one place you’re surrounded by people just as obsessed as you—and sometimes more.

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BE COURTEOUS WITH FAN GEAR

Fan signs, banners, and light sticks are cute and all and it’s a great way to let artists know just how much you support them. However, to the people behind you, it’s the murder weapon they plan to kill you with for blocking their view the entire concert. Seriously though, where are you people getting this 3-hour arm strength to hold a sign for that long? Is there some secret K-pop training facility I’m not aware of that’s pumping out these super fans? Plus, as hard as you may have worked on your banner for oppa, nine times out of ten, he’s focusing on hitting those high notes and not forgetting his dance moves. The best time to start the banner and sign waving is when the talk sessions begin. This is the perfect time because not only are they not dancing but they also have a break to see and read signs clearly. Ultimately, it beats having the fan behind you bashing your head in with her camera because your giant sign ruined all her pictures. Just remember, as nice as the Big Bang light stick looks, it can also be used as a vicious weapon.

KNOW THE FAN CHANTS 

It’s important you show up to concerts knowing all the necessary chants. Most international fandoms will have chants available for each song on the Internet while the more organized fans will pass them out the day of the concert. There are also a select few fandoms that will sponsor a special event just to show how much they care. The added bonus to this, besides making your bias feel loved, is that it encourages promoters to keep bringing acts overseas.


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YOU DON’T HAVE TO RECORD ALL THOSE PRECIOUS MOMENTS OF YOU BIAS 

Of course you want to immortalize all your precious moments with oppa but it may not be worth it. For one, with the number of fans present and the organization of most fandoms, it’s an almost guarantee that someone else with a better camera will have the entire concert uploaded in a matter of minutes after it’s over. Remember that shaky fancam you took? It just became entirely useless. Let’s also not forget the fact that performances rarely change from concert to concert, so there is really no sense in recording the entire show when someone at an earlier date posted the exact same thing on the Internet.

An added bonus, however, is that entertainment companies turn most concerts into DVDs and although they’re expensive, at least you get top-notch editing and extra features. I learned my lesson after going to Infinite‘s One Great Step L.A. show after recording for almost 3 hours straight – nothing beats just living in the moment of watching it live and not through a tiny camera screen. The next day shoulder pain is not the memory you want nor is the sound of your own tone deaf singing captured on your fancam.

20140125_theoneshots_fanmeetDON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH FROM THE MEET AND GREET

If you’re extra lucky, you’ll get the chance to take part in a meet and greet before or after the concert. While this is a beautiful thing and something international fans rarely receive, there are a few key things to consider. First, this isn’t really an event to spend quality time with your idol. It’s usually a hello and goodbye situation sprinkled with the chance that you might be able to touch them. Washing your hands and showering is probably the most important thing to do that day.

Actually, it’s the least you can do. On extra special occasions you may even get a signature or picture to commemorate the moment. Remember, keep it short and simple and don’t forget to bring your wedding certificate to be signed and dated for quick entrapment.

THE PIT IS NO JOKE

So you’ve made it into the coveted pit. The pit is simultaneously the best and scariest place to be at a concert. On one hand, you’re the closest you will probably ever be to your bias, on the other; K-pop pits are notoriously filled with people who are batshit crazy. There have been cases of hair pulling, hair cutting (not sure why people are bringing scissors to concerts) not to forget all the pushing, shoving, and passing out that also occurs. Basically, anyone willing to pay $400+ for concert tickets is willing to do just about anything to get closer to their bias. Now horror stories aside, K-pop fans can be and are incredibly generous in some pits. They with trade spots with shorter fans, share things that may have gotten thrown into the crowd, and even look out for each other.

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The other obvious benefits of the pit are the amazing artist interactions, like… getting spit on (if you’re into that), catching some sweaty towels (also if you’re into that). But the best part of the pit has to be being so close to your bias you can almost pull them off stage, which I do not recommend unless you have a well thought out escape plan.

K-pop concerts are quite possibly my favorite part of being a K-pop fan. Sure they cost an arm, a leg, and the souls of 1000 virgins but they’re also a rewarding experience. You end up meeting kick ass people who share your obsessive love and the best part of all, you get to see your favorite artist.

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  • Danice Sison

    The reality for K-pop concerts outside the U.S. paints a more chaotic picture. At least here in the Philippines, fansite noonas from Korea and China (professionals fangirls who own fansites – they’re the ones armed with the telephoto camera lenses a.k.a uzis and bazookas) will bring actual step ladders to shows and bizarrely, concert venues allow them to do this 🙁 I have experienced firsthand how I wanted to kick a ladder from underneath someone at the Kpop Republic show last September because they were blocking my view.

    In Korea, DSLR’s are forbidden, but one strategy I learned of is raising a cheer towel from the back of whoever is taking the footage/pictures so roaming security does not spot them.

    Also, the fan chants don’t matter outside of Korea because it all turns to screaming in the end. The fanchants work in more conservative countries like Japan where concert goers are way more disciplined than audiences from other countries (mine incuded.)

    • Woah. I just learned so much from this comment. Do you know how many times I’ve almost been kicked out for taking pictures? A damn cheer towel could have saved me all that stress and anxiety.

      • Danice Sison

        That cheer towel was a protip if I ever heard one. Works for Korean fangirls.

        • Danice Sison

          Damn. Now everybody knows. That comment should just self-destruct in 5…

          • too late, already screenshot :p

      • Xvanex

        the girl next to me at UKISS in LA recorded most of the concert using her fan sign to block the view of the security guard that was literally 5 ft away. What i have done in the past is wait until security is busy yelling at someone else for recording to take out my camera & snap a few pics.

    • Natalie

      This is true! I completely forgot how scary fansite noonas can be. Fortunately I’ve never had to deal with one but I’ve heard scary stories of people getting hit by them and it’s just not okay =/

      Saving your DSLR tip for future events!!

    • Omg yes! The super fan girls from China / Korea that had press passes at KCON has stools … Security was pissed !! They were crazy!!

    • James Ball

      LOL I remember when VIPs in the States were trying to get mission blue to work. That was a hot mess. But the JVIPs did it so beautifully.

      When 2NE1 did the MTV concert, the fanchants for IATB were so good, I was surprised. But then that wasn’t a big venue so less chance of it sounding all over the place.

  • Xvanex

    totally agree with not having to record every second. it’s understandable if you want to snap some pics or record your 1 favorite song but i HATE my view being blocked by 234350 cameras. best tip I could share about concerts is be nice & make friends with everybody & anybody. you never know what new friend will invite you to stand in line with them way in the front or just so happen to give you 2 extra passes for a q&a with GD 🙂

  • Terri

    I feel like bringing a fold-up chair should be mentioned – anytime I go to concerts, my feet are already tired by the time I get into the venue. I keep thinking I should just bring a chair and leave it at the cloakroom, haha

  • I’ve only been to two concerts, TVXQ Catch Me in LA and KCON 2012, but no matter how much fun I have, something always goes wrong! At KCON, I got a horrible migraine and at the TVXQ concert, I felt nauseous. Lol I guess I have bad luck when it comes to concerts 😛
    http://www.kboost.net

  • James Ball

    I really don’t understand the people who spend the whole time video recording it. You’ve waited all this time to finally see them and you’re not even allowing yourself to really experience it, imo.

    I was in the pit for Big Bang and had a great experience thankfully

  • Telly Shray

    I’ve been to three Kpop events B.A.P. (NYC show), Jay Park (NYC Show) and Big Bang (NJ show). The pit area at all types of shows are crazy but that’s my favorite place to be though.Especially rock concerts. I’ve been trampled and a whole bunch of other crazy stuff. Luckily for the B.A.P., Jay Park and the ONE OK ROCK concert in NYC I had VIP tickets for free. So, I was in a good viewing and interacting with the artist area. YEAH, I don’t understand ppl who recorded the whole concert. The only thing I enjoy recording are the opening performance and the encore performance. Hopefully, I get to go to more shows if they are reasonably price.

  • natsumi。

    Many people tell me I’m lucky to be living in Japan being a K-POP fan. But actually, not really.

    I’m a VIP, but money+time can’t keep up with how frequently they come to Japan. I had to give up going to the YG Exhibition in Japan because I was too busy as an IB student. (and tickets were pretty expensive for an exhibition too) (you know it if you take IB) Instead the money went to buying 2NE1’s Crush. (which is just a little less expensive)

    And the ticketing system in Japan is really crappy too – all the seats have the same price, and the nearest fans get to the boys is about 5m away not matter what because there are no mosh pits. It’s crazy – the seats where you can’t barely see the boys with your own eyes cost the same as the closest-to-mosh-pit-sets.

    Oh and the boys would sing their Japanese version songs instead of Korean. Sorry but I prefer mostly the original version to the Japanese ver. (you wouldn’t understand how crazy lyrics of FB are. :P) Yes I have been to at least more than 10 concerts in my life, but my favourites were definitely the ones in Singapore where I used to live, and got to know about K-POP. I think it’s the best destination both for the singers and fans – seats are actually filled up compared to other countries, but the tickets are still pretty easy to get. Suitable prices for each tickets/seats (that may be a little more expensive for concert tickets but def worth it), and F1 races omg. That was amazing. And the artists never ignore Singapore when having an Asia/world tour.

    Haha I wrote too much I guess. I’m new here (introduced by bbupdates lmao) I love this site btw… Great to see other fandoms’ conversations because I don’t know anything outside YG xD

    • kkanch

      the ib struggle is so real

  • lettergra

    ugh god. My first concert was Infinite ogs, it was pretty horrific. I hyperventilated and had to go to the back bc people were pressing in so hard in the pit (i had no idea it was gonna be like that) and someone ripped down my fansign (which I only held up for infinite h’s song so??). Yes people holding cameras/phones was annoying as hell, why?? all youre going to get is a shaky bad quality video where all you can hear is screaming. (also can people tone down on the screaming, jesus christ, i came to hear the perform not to hear crazy girls scream themselves hoarse)

    • Wow seriously?? That was my very first concert!! I went to the one in NYC and I heard the pit was so horrible and noisy while Infinite were talking. Some of the members were obviously irritated since people weren’t listening and worried because their fans were fainting left and right…

  • Asia L Yang

    Hi!!! I have a question but first!! I LOVE INFINITE!! MY BIAS IS L!! Who’s your bias. Okay now I’m actually going to Infinite’s 2nd World Tour “Effect”. I’m still waiting for tickets. I so badly want to meet L. You mentioned the Meet & Greet. Did you get a chance to go and do it. If you did or did not (not trying to sound rude) what happens and do you get autographs and shake hands? Thank you!

    -Asia