Nowadays, K-pop fans from all over the world visit Korea to meet the ones they adore by attending concerts, shows, fan-meets, or autograph sessions, you name it! Out of the many possibilities, the one that many fans gear towards is attending music shows, such as “Music Bank,” “Music Core,” “Inkigayo,” “M!Countdown,” etc., because, unlike the other choices, this option requires the least amount of money and the shows are scheduled on a weekly basis during an artist’s promotion period.
This does not mean it’s easy to attend one of these shows, however. If you aren’t familiar with the Korean language, you will most likely need help from a friend who knows Korean to translate and understand the instructions on how to attend. There are quite a few steps to take just signing up for shows, but don’t worry. This article will offer you a basic guide and also give you tips on what to do once you’re there. Following these suggestions will make your time in music shows more enjoyable and not have you feeling lost or out of place.
1) Signing Up
In order to attend a music show, you will need to sign up at the fan cafe (online site for the group’s fan club) of the group you want to see. There are no separate sign-ups at the music show site itself because tickets are given out to fan-managers (people who manage fan clubs) and people enter the music show studio in fandom groups. Therefore, the first and foremost step is signing up to a fan cafe. Most idol groups’ and artists’ official fan cafes are hosted by Daum, and you can make a Daum account by following the step-by-step instructions here. Once you’ve made one, search the fan cafe that you want to join and sign up by clicking the button that looks like this:
Afterwards, you will be expected to answer a couple of questions in Korean that will allow you to be a part of that fan cafe. For non-Korean speakers, this is where you might need help from a Korean friend. You have to keep in mind that asking online about these questions may lead to no answers since fan cafes do not allow any information in the cafe to be spread anywhere else. Of course, the questions differ for every group or artist, but it should be relatively easy if you know your artist well. Once you answer all the questions correctly and you get a confirmation saying so, you are then eligible to sign up for music shows!
Now, if you’re planning to come to Korea to attend a music show, you need to have a Korean cellphone; that is how they check your identity and you will need to sign up using your cellphone number. If you know someone in Korea, borrow his/hers, or get a rental phone. If you can, download the Daum cafe app on your Korean phone because, that way, you can get notifications every time information about a music show sign-up is posted.
The rules to apply for shows follow a general framework in that it requires at least two basic pieces of information: your name and your phone number. Additional requirements may differ for each fandom. A music show sign-up post would generally say to write a private comment on the message board or send an email with the information they require at a certain time. You will need to read more into it and do some translating work if you can’t understand the post.
Once you’ve figured out what information you need, it is very important that you send it at just the right time since sign-up is first-come-first-serve. In other words, have all the information already typed, like your name, number, etc., and just be on standby-mode with your finger on “Send” or “Post.”
After you’ve posted your comment or sent the email, you start playing the waiting game. This is the dreadful part where you have to wait until a post comes up on the fan cafe confirming those who will be able to enter in chronological order. Since music shows tend to limit the number of fans entering the studio, it will not list all the fans who’ve signed up. The bigger your fandom is, the harder it is to get your name on that list, but don’t give up because you never know when you’ll get lucky!
2) Be Early
Congratulations! You’ve fought your way through the competitive fans and made it onto the list of attendees!
As you would when you attend any important event, be early. The saying, “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late,” really applies here. A large group of fans may be coming that day, and the last thing you want to do is arrive late and lose your spot. If you are not in line by the time a fan-manager starts going down the list, he or she will skip you and let others move up. In order to hold your place in line, you need to be at the studio at least 30 minutes to an hour earlier than the announced roll call time–and even earlier than that depending on the size of your fandom.
3) Be Prepared
When they are doing roll call to check your identity (via your cellphone number), it is imperative that you have the all the things required for entry; if you don’t, they will either not allow you to enter or send you to the back of the line, which might feel like it’s the end of the world for a fangirl (just kidding).
All fandoms have different requirements, but they all include three basic things: identification card, printed proof of song purchase, and the official slogan. Make sure to check all the things you need in addition to these beforehand so that all your hard work up until this point does not go down the drain.
4) Have a Loud Voice
You’ve made it through all the nitpicky procedures and long hours of waiting, and it’s finally time to go into the recording studio! Now it’s time to clear your throat and drink some water because you want to scream and cheer as much as possible when your artist or group comes out.
If you don’t have the fanchants memorized and you don’t chant along, it will not only hurt you but all the other fans around you; you – because other fans will be looking daggers at you, thinking that people who were cut from entering could’ve been in your place to chant louder – and them – because you opting out of doing the fanchants may decrease the loudness of it and other fandoms may think little of yours.
As silly as it sounds, fans tend to have an unspoken competition of whose fandom is the loudest. From a fan’s perspective, it determines the amount of support that groups or artists have. Plus, it gives a boost of confidence to the performers, so why not give it all you’ve got and cheer!
5) Do Not Take Pictures or Videos
It is a pretty well-established rule that no one takes pictures or videos while in the studio. If anyone violates this rule, he or she – or sometimes the whole fandom – will be kicked out and receive a warning for future entrances. Moreover, it’ll leave a bad impression to the affiliates of the music shows, which means a bad impression for your favorite artist or group.
My personal experience has shown that breaking this rule has sparked conflict between Korean fans and foreign fans when, for example, the latter pulled out a DSLR in the middle of a recording session and left a bad reputation of the whole fandom.
So save yourself all the trouble and enjoy the performances with your eyes. It’s more comfortable for you and the others around you.
6) Have Fun!
The last tip, and possibly the most important tip, is to enjoy the moment and have fun! While you’re there, you don’t need to be nervous and shy. Relax and have a great time looking at your favorite star and other performers. Plus, reach out and make friends since it’s no fun having no one to share the excitement with. I’ve made a lot of friends by attending shows and we’ve been great buddies ever since. While you’re standing in line a bit dazed on your first music show attendance, don’t be afraid to talk to people around you! All in all, live in the moment and take this time to relieve all your stress!
That’s it for my tips on attending music shows! If you’ve gone to a music show before, what stories or experiences do you have? Or do you have other tips that aren’t mentioned above? Feel free to share them down below!