Recently, the demand for concert halls has been increasing daily, including K-pop and concerts in Korea, but the venues are waging a rental war. This is because there is no suitable alternative in a situation where mid-sized and large-sized performance halls are lacking.
Singer Lim Young Woong plans to perform six performances from October 27-November 5 by opening the KSPO Dome (former Olympic Gymnastics Stadium) 360 degrees, which can accommodate more than 10,000 audiences per performance. Kim Dong Ryul held six concerts at the KSPO Dome from October 7-15. Idol group NCT 127 has confirmed that it will perform 6 times over 2 weeks in the same space from November 17-26.
Last year, Lim Young Woong performed at the Gocheok Sky Dome and NCT 127 performed at the Olympic Main Stadium, but this year they moved to the KSPO Dome. Although KSPO Dome is a large performance hall, it cannot match Gocheok Sky Dome and Olympic Main Stadium in terms of audience capacity per concert.
Currently, Jamsil Sports Complex‘s main stadium is unusable due to remodeling work that began in late August, and Gocheok Sky Dome is not easy to rent due to sporting events, and internal repairs will begin in December. Sangam World Cup Stadium is virtually impossible to rent due to turf issues.
As a result, major singers are flocking to certain concert halls, and there is talk that foreign pop stars are excluding Korea from their world tour schedules.
In fact, Post Malone, who visited Korea last September, held his concert in Korea not in Seoul but at KINTEX Exhibition Hall 1 in Ilsan, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, and combined halls 4 and 5 to accommodate 30,000 seats. At the time, Live Nation Korea, a performance planning company, said, “Due to the lack of large-scale performance hall rental infrastructure due to the remodeling of Jamsil Main Stadium and KBO and K League game schedules, it was decided through close consultation with the artists to hold the performance by combining the two halls of KINTEX.”
Ko Ki Ho, vice president of the Korean Popular Music Performance Industry Association (KPA), told News1, “Currently, there is no large concert hall, so we are being pushed around like dominoes. As the main stadium, one of the largest concert halls, is under construction, and there is no concert hall where the entire group of BTS can perform, and Korea is being passed over even for performances in Korea.”
According to the industry, since the current performance hall mainly uses sports facilities, sports events are scheduled first. After the schedule is filled with sports events and national events, performance rentals are held on the remaining days.
One music industry insider also revealed that they are applying for venue rentals early on from the beginning of the year in order to schedule year-end performances. Ryu Ho Jeong, a member of the National Assembly’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, said in a government audit on the 10th, “This year’s rental reservations are all over in the first half of the year, and competition for rentals has become so intense due to a lack of space that we are even paying more to pass on the rentals.”
Vice Chairman Goh stated, “In our country, sports facilities are used as performance halls, so we do not have the proper infrastructure to hold cultural events. However, it is used more for cultural events and pays the highest rental fee, but when each sports organization was called due to the Jamsil complex development project, etc., we were not even at the negotiating table. But wouldn’t the performance venue issue be resolved only when culture and sports work together?”
Accordingly, Inspire Arena in Yeongjongdo, Incheon, a K-pop arena that will open in December, Seoul Arena in Changdong, Seoul, and CJ Live City Arena in Paju, which are scheduled to be completed in 2025, are being mentioned as alternatives. Additionally, a method of utilizing local performance halls was also suggested. SHINee’s Taemin will also hold his first solo concert at Inspire Arena on December 16-17.
However, one concert official said, “Inspire Arena has a capacity of about 15,000, so it is difficult to be a great alternative for large singers or concerts in Korea, and honestly, accessibility is also a big problem.” They also pointed out, “Trot singers have a demand for performances all over the country, so it is possible to hold large-scale performances in rural areas, but in the case of idols, the demand for performances is concentrated in Seoul and Gyeonggi, so it is not easy in reality.” Additionally, construction of Seoul Arena and CJ Live City Arena has not yet begun or has been halted, making it difficult to immediately resolve the rental issue.
Ultimately, Vice Chairman Goh emphasized that the rental issue should be resolved by forming a consultative body. Rep. Ryu Ho Jeong also stated, “First of all, we need to form a consultative body among related parties such as performance, facilities, proposals, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to ensure that the rental process runs smoothly.” Ryu added, “In fact, overseas, there are many cases where the performance industry and the sports industry negotiate well and it is carried out without problems.”