K-Pop Event Etiquette 101: 8 Pointers to Keep In Mind
Feb 15, 2023   •   Andy Flores
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Feb 15, 2023   •   Andy Flores
If you’re new to K-pop and K-dramas, the idea of attending a live event of anything related to hallyu—be it a concert or a fan meeting—can make you feel quite…overwhelmed. Trust me, I know.
The very first K-Pop event I attended was Seventeen Shining Diamonds in Manila back in 2016. At the time, I barely knew who they were, having had my intro to the world of K-pop just a few months before. I was sent to cover the fan meeting as a photographer, and I remember having a lot of questions running through my head even prior to the day of the event.
What should I prepare?
What’s K-pop fan culture like?
How should I behave or carry myself in an unfamiliar environment?
What happens in a fan meeting with idols?
Will I satisfy the fans with the pictures I take?
It was nerve-wracking! But when the show started, all the anxiety melted into a goo of excitement inside me. I was attending a K-pop event for the first time in my life and I loved every bit of it—the crowd, their passion, their energy, and, of course, the group performing onstage, too! I slipped into the diamond life before I knew it.
Nearly seven years later, I’m now what you might call a “regular” at K-pop events; no longer because it’s part of my job description, but simply because I’ve become a fan.
So whether you’re a newbie concert-goer, a parent accompanying a minor K-pop lover, or a clueless non-fan who got invited to a K-pop event for whatever reason at all, read along coz I rounded up a list of what you need to know—both the obvious and the less-talked-about—before attending K-pop concerts, fan meetings, and everything in between for the first time to make the experience worth your while:
And by “research,” I’m talking about making an effort to get to know the artist or artists you will be seeing. Try to memorize their names and faces, listen to their songs, watch their music videos or shows, and acquaint yourself with the fun little facts available online for you to read. After all, the internet is full of information about South Korean idols and actors. Who knows? You might even become a fan before the event—if you aren’t already, that is!
I understand. Your child is precious and you want to make them happy by getting that much-coveted ticket or merchandise, but that doesn’t mean you can simply cut through the usually long queue at the ticket office or merch booth, where some fans might have even camped. Some parents would go as far as arguing with security and mall personnel to get the kind of treatment that they want. As the grown-up in the situation, it’s your responsibility to teach your kid the values of patience and fairness. It’s also up to you to guide them out of disappointment if things don’t go as planned. Such is life.
If you’re a fan who’s attending a K-pop event for the first time, the temptation to collect as many fan-made freebies as possible on D-day can be too strong to resist. After all, your TL is flooded with giveaway announcements. We say: Take it easy! Part of the fun of collecting freebies is making new friends, but how will you be able to do that when you’re squished with a dozen other fans, potentially causing harm to the very person who was just showing generosity? Just take or receive what you can with a smile and courteously thank the giver.
This is supposedly a no-brainer, but we’ll say it again anyway: Do not bring the lightstick of a group or artist that’s not performing in the show you’re attending. While some fans take this lightly and even find it funny, waving another group’s or artist’s lightstick is just disrespectful. Lightsticks are part of the identity of K-pop fandoms, which is why they come in unique designs and colors. If you don’t own a lightstick of the group you’re seeing, get creative–cover your phone’s flashlight with a sticker that comes in the fandom’s official color.
K-pop events almost always start on the dot, so it’s best to be punctual and find your way to your seat before the show begins to avoid inconveniencing other people in your section.
With K-pop and K-dramas more popular than ever, the probability of encountering a “K” idol, actor, or group while on the job has become higher.
Just recently, local airport staff became the object of fans’ scrutiny for their questionable actions in the presence of boy group Enhypen. The incident caused so much buzz that it trended on Twitter. (Eek!)
Whether you’re a K-pop fan or not, it’s still best to maintain your composure and sense of professionalism when dealing with celebrities, no matter how excited you may be.
Also, if you work in the media and have been assigned to cover a K-event, adhere to the rules set by the organizer. First-timers are not exempt here. K-pop concert organizers and entertainment agencies can be *extremely* strict.
That said, don’t ambush an idol or actor for an interview or leave the allotted press area and block the view of paying fans just to get the perfect shot. In short, don’t ruin the experience for the artists and fans alike.
While we’re on the topic of view-blocking, we just gotta bring this up! You see, it’s totally fine to take fancams. What is not okay is holding your phone up high to record a performance, obstructing the view of those behind you. The same goes for banners or slogans. Bring a reasonably-sized banner and hold it at eye level!
Say you scored front-row tickets (which—let’s get real here—are typically complimentary tickets that go to either non-fans or well-connected fans), the least you can do is behave and respect the artist performing onstage and the fans watching behind you. Don’t make a scene that can interrupt the flow of the show or divert the attention of the audience, spoiling the experience for everybody else. If you’re lucky enough to be seated in front, mind your manners and enjoy the show.
Are you a *seasoned* K-pop eventgoer? Sound off what we missed in the comments!
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