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K-pop stars open K-culture festival in Busan

Oct. 2, 2016 - 10:46 By 이현정

Leading K-pop artists made concertgoers forget all about the inclement weather Saturday by putting on impressive performances to open the K-culture world festival.

The concert kicked off the annual 2016 Busan One Asia Festival in South Korea's second-largest city, located some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The show was televised live on SBS Medianet, the concert's organizer.

A total of 15 globally followed K-pop musicians and groups performed at the Busan Asiad Stadium in the western part of the city.

Boy groups B1A4, Block B, Sechs Kies, B.A.P and INFINITE; K-pop divas DIA and Lyn; and girl groups LaBoum, Girl's Day, I.O.I, T-ara, Apink and Girls' Generation made up the bulk of the lineup. Hip-hop trio MFBTY and world-class star singer Psy, best known for his greatest hit "Gangnam Style," also rocked the stage.

"I came to see the girl groups perform," said Rahmad Khairi, a 25-year-old Singaporean student, who was most interested in Apink. "In Singapore, K-pop boy bands like EXO and BigBang are very popular."

A group of Indonesian girls screamed "L," their favorite member of the K-pop boy group INFINITE.

"I came to see Jung Yong-hwa," said Kazu, a 51-year-old Japanese fan of the boy band CNBLUE, accompanied by two friends from Tokyo. As the honorary ambassador of the event, Jung did not perform, but his fans were still happy to see their star present at the show.

The K-pop concert chronicled the history of K-pop.

The 1990s were the renaissance of K-pop, and the birth of K-pop idol groups. Sechs Kies, a band from the 1990s, exploded on the stage 16 years after it disbanded in 2000. In an ocean of yellow lights, Sechs Kies members, now all in their 30s, staged three of their greatest hits: "Com'back," "Hunch" and "The Way This Guy Lives."

The 2000s introduced a number of idol groups, some of which today are seen as veterans who have fans all around the world. Girls' Generation and T-ARA had fans fly in from across Asia. The stadium erupted when Girls' Generation sang "Gee" and T-ara put on "So Crazy." The word "hallyu," or the worldwide spread of K-pop culture, became everyday vocabulary in the entertainment news section.

In a recorded video presentation, K-pop singer and Hollywood actor Rain referred to the 2000s as the blossoming era of multi-entertainment idol groups, which can sing, dance and act.

"That's the time when we told ourselves that we represent Korea," Rain reminisced. 

Then came Apink and INFINITE, two groups that debuted in 2010.

The two groups plus others that came after them continued to build on the momentum that their predecessors had built, expanding the phenomenon throughout Asia, the Middle East, North and Latin America, and Europe.

The show closed with a bang, with Psy performing "Champion,"

"Daddy" and "Gangnam Style." Hitting the jackpot with "Gangnam Style," he emerged as a worldwide celebrity. The song is the most watched video of all time on YouTube. 

After the scheduled closing act, Bangtan Boys staged a special performance that was not included on the live broadcast. 

For the next three weeks, the 2016 Busan One Asia Festival will hold a music and food market, a cosmetics and beauty convention, and cultural conferences. 

The festival will close Oct. 23 with another K-pop concert. (Yonhap)