How to: Bring K-Pop idols to Toronto
From praying that the site doesn't crash when you're purchasing tickets to lining up for hours (sometimes an entire night) to see Jeon Jungkook (BTS) or Ravi (VIXX) seems to be the most stressful part about going to K-Pop concerts.
And it is.
But the craziness starts months before the fans even know which K-Pop group is even coming.
Steven Chau gives the details into what it takes to bring your favourite K-Pop groups to Toronto.
BY: LOUISE ALLYN PALMA
Okay, it's not as scary as it sounds. But is it stressful? Definitely.
In Steven Chau's case it begins with Pop! Goes The World or any entertainment/ marketing agency having to negotiate with a K-Pop group’s entertainment company.
"Yeah, we basically give a sum that we're going to pay, and we give a venue," Chau says. "And you confirm that you will sell out. It's all about marketing, it's a really big bet."
The main topics during these negotiations include: a promise of a large enough profit, a sold-out concert to ensure a performance and a confirmed venue, whether that venue be the Scotiabank Arena or the John Bassett Theatre since the capacity varies.
If Pop! Goes The World! receives confirmation from the entertainment company that they will be able to host the K-Pop group, they must find a Korean entertainment agency like Official Hallyu Entertainment to act as a go-between.
Korean Entertainment Group
What do you mean by go-between?
Well, it's unlikely that the volunteers hired will know the ABC's of what the travel requirements are to bring Korean pop idols to North America, or have every volunteer speak fluent Korean. And so, the North American entertainment company hosting the concert - Pop! Goes The World needs to collaborate with a Korean entertainment agency in Toronto.
Official Hallyu Entertainment (for example) would act as translators, explaining what the entertainment company of the K-Pop group requires.
"They come to us telling us that 'Oh, JYP Entertainment (for example) requests 8 rooms for GOT7 or that they want 100 water bottles," Chau says.
Pop! Goes The World! receives all instructions from this Korean entertainment company, when handling the K-Pop group. The Korean entertainment agency provides access to travel documents, lets Pop! Goes The World! know what basic amenities are necessary, and of course, what hospitality services ( like how many water bottles are needed, how many cup noodles, fruits and obviously, TimBits in their dressing rooms on the day of the concert,) and hotel bookings need to be provided.
It's no surprise that K-Pop idols usually arrive on the day of their performance. Chau remembers picking up K-Pop group, VIXX for the 2016 Toronto K-Pop Con. At the airport, he was surrounded by fans and helped create a barricade between the fans and VIXX.
"It was a rollercoaster," he said.
But he felt lucky and excited to be around K-Pop idols, "face-to-face." He said it was an exciting experience. This collaborative process can be taxing, but worth it. “I love seeing the show come together, and I really like the community and it just makes me so happy, to make people happy.” Chau said.
Photo Courtesy: 뉴스인스타 (NewsInStar) [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (top left), @K_POP_Amber [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (top right)