BTS in Seoul: The Kpop in Korea Experience

Programs for this blog post

Summer Korean Studies

Authored By:

Tyra B.

I had a very fortunate chance of being able to go see BTS while I was in Korea. It was for their 6th Muster concert in Seoul, Day 2(June 23, 2019) which is BTS' set of concerts that are put on to celebrate their anniversary with their fans. This concert was taking place on my second day in Korea. It was an event that wasn't not planned at all and it was worth every second. The concert experience in Korea has a very different pre-concert structure and has a different energy than what one can expect from a concert back in the United States. I was able to also see BTS on May 12, 2019, so I was able to have a more accurate comparison of a Kpop concert in the US vs in Korea. Whether you are a BTS fan or not a BTS fan this can be helpful information if you plan to go to a Kpop concert in Korea. 

First thing you need to know is:  how to get a ticket. The link was sent through KakaoTalk from the girl who found the right ticket seller. A group of us struggled to get tickets online. There was a very specific website that you have to go on that was verified to sell tickets for the event. Unlike the U.S having many ticket sellers such as TicketMaster, LiveNation, StubHub, etc., there seem to be less second-hand ticket sellers in Korea. It took us at least 30 minutes to buy the tickets because the website on mobile was a bit tricky to navigate. The website was a lot more functional using it through Safari (or whatever you phones main browser is) than through Kakao Talk. Once we were able to find the correct area of the website for purchasing it wasn't difficult to purchase at all. You need to put in your first and last name, phone number (international or functioning SIM card with a Korean number), and an email address. Then just like a normal check out process, you put in your card information and you're done. After purchasing we received confirmation texts messages in Korean that contained details of how to do to ticket pick up and when to do it as well. If you are planning to go to a concert overseas in Seoul find who the main-ticket seller is and STAY with that website. The website being used by natives is the website that you should use so you don't have to worry about any weird additional cost, fake tickets, and losing the ability to enter the concert due to identification issues. 

The second thing you need to know: how to get to the arena. The BTS concert was being held at the KSPO Dome a.ka. the Olympic Gymnastics Arena. The KSPO Dome was a little over an hour away via subway. Since this concert was during our second day in Korea I was really nervous about navigating the subway to get there. We had so many different transfers that we had to do and at that time the subway seemed way too overwhelming and confusing. Luckily one girl was able to provide accurate navigation to and from the concert since she went over to the KSPO Dome the night before to try to see BTS leave(I don't recommend doing that cause ALL artist need privacy and security while leaving). Since I bought my ticket the day of it was a lot of scrambling to figure everything out especially with not really knowing anything about transportation and the location too well. As we approached more and more ARMY (BTS' fandom name) were getting on the subway and it made me even more excited to experience the concert.

Third thing you need to know: Korean Pre- Concert Culture. Korean concert culture is overall MUCH different than U.S concert culture. There's a lot more hype, merch, and fandom-made advertisements for the artists everywhere. A big thing in Korea is subway advertisements. As we were about to exit the subway there was an advertisement for my bias, V (Kim Taehyung). After we exited there were more advertisements for V (Taehyung) and Suga(Yoongi) as well as Anniversary Advertisements! Coming out of the subway and on the street, there was a truck that was driving by playing the Boy With Luv music video on the side of it. I thought it was really cool because it made the concert feel like an even bigger deal and it made it seem more like a special event for the fans. As we are walking to find where we need to pick up our tickets there are at least 12 vendors compacted in this small area in front of the Paris Baguette there selling unofficial merch, fan slogans, and re-selling past official BTS merch before the concert. It was so hard to not be tempted to buy everything all at once. The main path towards the arena has flags of the members hanging up on the light post waving in the wind. After some confusion and asking around, we finally found where we needed to pick up our tickets for "Live Play". "Live Play" was the cheapest option for 22,000 KRW ($18-20) to watch the concert in a cute little area made on the lawn from outside the KSPO Dome. The online ticket pick up was super easy to do. They have it set up in order of the first name and it's split up between the Korean alphabet and the English alphabet. Since we bought our tickets the day off they had to go look for our tickets in a specific area. They will ask for a piece of ID for foreigners they like to see your passport (and I knew about this prior due to reading about regulations on twitter) but anything that they can use to identify you. One of the girls in my group, unfortunately, could not receive her ticket because she did not have her passport physically on her and even though she had a scan of her passport on her phone they would not let her have it. As well as these two ladies near us could not get their second ticket because the woman who bought the tickets had her name on both of them instead of one her name and one her friends' name. Security with ticket entry is a lot more serious in Korea than in the U.S. 

 ONE IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE IS: when buying tickets for a Korean concert have the same exact name that is on your ID on your ticket or you will not be able to receive it. ALSO have your passport on you too because they will want a physical piece of identification to touch and they will ask you questions about your birth, and where you are from too based on your ID to confirm that the ticket belongs to YOU. 


Fourth thing you need to know: Korean Concert Culture is FUN!!! There are some slight differences in security but that won't ruin anything for you! The artist really go out of the way to make sure that everyone is having such an amazing concert experience! It was really cool because the other ARMYs that were there were super nice and friendly! Despite having a language barrier that didn't stop us from understanding each other's excitement over the concert, over certain members, and being able to share their BTS' fan-made goodies. There were two Korean girls that sat in front of my group who gave two of my friends who like Jungkook their fan-made Jungkook stickers. As well as another set of girls who laughed at me screaming for my favorite member, Taehyung, when he came on the screen! It was such a fun atmosphere and we all were enjoying ourselves. Our part of the concert was outside so we watched the concert on two giant screens and it was still a fun experience without being inside the actual arena. It felt more relaxed and fun to sit on the lawn while watching your favorite artist on the screen. Luckily, BTS had thought of a plan to interact with the ARMYs that were outside; they had cameras outside that panned over us sitting on the lawn and they could hear us cheering for them from outside! The biggest difference though is MORE fan chants and a little less energy from the fans and singing too. I was so happy to be able to participate in the fan chants since they don't happen with as much enthusiasm and energy all that time in the US. It was very interesting though that my group were the only ones really singing along to the music! BTS had a lot more energy into their performance than in the Chicago concert because they were at home performing without the worry of a language barrier in communication. Even though I could only understand when they asked if we were having fun, I felt a sense of welcoming even though I couldn't understand their dialogue. It isn't hard to read body language and other non-verbals, listen for basic Korean, and to know when they are being silly. It was the best concert experience that I have ever had. They played songs off their recent album such as HOME as well as older songs from their debut like SPINE BREAKER. It was so cool to be a part of something so unique and special. I hold it dearly to my heart. After the concert experience more vendors outside the arena and a long wait to get back to the subway. 


FIFTH THING TO KNOW: JUST GO AND EXPERIENCE IT! If you can go see an artist that you like to do it, it's worth it. Just make sure you know the way to and from where you need to go, have proper identification, know some basic Korean phrases just in case like location, numbers(in case you have a general admissions ticket they may call you out by numbers!), and make sure to have fun! If I could go back and see their LOVE YOURSELF: SPEAK YOURSELF SEOUL FINALE Concert I would. Seeing your favorite artist in their home country is 180 experience back in the US. The U.S concerts are still amazing...just one day your time will come to experience Kpop in Seoul.