In Korea, groups are usually invited to perform in school festivals to make the celebration an even more festive one. In 2014, about 400 university festivals were attended by various groups with popular and well-loved groups even going to about two or four festivals all over the country in one day. But just how do these schools choose which artists will perform in their school festival?
According to research by the news website The Fact, the main criterion of universities when choosing the groups that will perform in their school festival concert not only depends on the group’s popularity but also on the school’s budget.
Entertainment industry experts say that the highly preferred groups to perform in the school festivals in 2014 are groups Girl’s Day and B1A4. It would not be too much to say that aside from their group and individual activities, a big concentration of their schedules are devoted to the school festivals. Girl’s Day, who has been receiving a lot of offers from different schools, have even performed in three to four school festivals in a day.
But while there are other more popular artists than Girl’s Day and B1A4 such as BEAST, INFINITE, Girls’ Generation, 2NE1, and many others, why do schools highly prefer to have Girl’s Day and B1A4? It’s because getting other more popular groups isn’t very practical for the universities. It would be rare for a university to afford talent fees skyrocketing to as high as approximately USD 56,000 (KRW 60 million) for a full performance and even when the two parties come into agreement on the fee, scheduling would come as another hurdle to overcome for the university that has to compete with the busy local and international promotion schedule of the artist.
With that, universities prefer to get groups who are not far behind the top groups with their talent and popularity and are, economically, more attractive.
According to an industry representative, among the boy groups, the current top choices of universities to perform in their festivals are those whose talent fees fall at the ballpark figure of USD 18,000 to 28,000 (KRW 20-30 million) such as B1A4 and VIXX.
In second place are groups Block B and BTS and other groups who have an asking price ranging from USD 14,000 to 28,000 (KRW 15-30 million). In third place are the rookie groups who have an asking price of about USD 4,700 to 9,400 (KRW 5-10 million).
Among the girl groups, Girl’s Day, A Pink, and Orange Caramel who have an asking price of USD 18,000 to 28,000 (KRW 20-30 million won) are some of the top choices. Last year, A Pink was the most preferred girl group in school festivals and they are still one of the most popular choices. Currently, A Pink is scheduled to perform in at least 20 school festivals.
At the second tier are girl groups with talent fees ranging from USD 9,400 to 18,000 (KRW 10-20 million won) such as BESTie, AOA, and Nine Muses.
According to some representatives, although these figures revealed are not exact figures, these are approximations that are similar to the talent fees that most of the groups ask for.
While the top musicians such as YB and Lee Seung Hwan asked for about USD 18,000 to 37,000 (KRW 20-40 million) per performance in the past, there were restrictions when it comes to systems and sound requirements.
Meanwhile, other universities also consider getting non-idol groups and choosing hip-hop groups to perform in their festivals. PSY, DJ DOC, Leessang, Verbal Jint, and other popular hip-hop artists were favorites in the school festival scene. Nowadays, hip-hop artists Swings, Bumkey, San E, Mad Clown, Vasco, and AOMG artists Jay Park, Simon D, and GRAY are currently receiving a lot of love from college students. While their asking price is commensurate to their popularity, they receive a treatment that isn’t envied by idol groups.
One of the good points of getting hip-hop groups such as the above mentioned, according to The Fact, is that they don’t really stick strictly to what was decided and there’s no telling how many songs they will do or how long they will stay on stage. If they’re supposed to sing only three songs according to their contract with the school, they sing a total of about six or ten tracks when they feel like it. This is a huge difference with the idol groups who only sing two or four songs and leave after. With this, more students are said to be more satisfied with these performers.
According to entertainment industry sources, “Hip-hop groups are currently unrivaled in the current school festival stages. It’s a fact that they (hip-hop artists) are the hottest artists aside from the idol groups that have been receiving a lot of love. Their popularity in the music market follows them to the university festivals. Their appearance fees have also increased by a lot. (With this and more other reasons), hip-hop is the current trend.”