The upcoming concert list for the 2014-2015 winter break makes this vacation a highly anticipated one for music fans. However, there are still obstacles ahead before we can enjoy these concerts to the fullest. To start off, there’s the problem of ticket reservation. Much like at 12:30 p.m. on course registration day here in KAIST, many concerts release their tickets at a specific time and date. Thus, there are thousands if not tens of thousands of eager fans waiting at the reservation website to get a hold of a ticket. And when the gates open, there is an enormous amount of traffic that servers sometimes just cannot handle. For example, at the Seo Tai Ji Band Concert Tour reservation website, some reported ‘x-box’ images coming up on seat reservation previews and thus were unable to select seats. Others had standing areas and seating areas being mixed up, again causing problems. Still others had whole servers go completely haywire and were unable to reserve seats at all. Unfortunately, there were other types of problems in the past.
Many CHVRCHES fans were delighted to hear that the band was visiting Korea to perform live. The band was supposed to perform at the UNIQLO-AX on November 30 at 7 p.m., which was a Sunday night. However, Fake Virgin, who co-hosted the concert, announced a few days before the scheduled concert date that the concert was going to be moved one day forward, to December 1 at 8:30 p.m., on a Monday, at a different location. In a press release concerning the change of date and venue, Fake Virgin stated that C3 Entertainment, who was once their co-host and was in charge of handling the venue, failed to secure UNIQLO-AX for December 30. In fact, C3 had ownership of the concert hall only until August of this year, but they failed to notify their co-host, Fake Virgin, that they no longer had privileges to reserve the hall. This was a disastrous result of non-communication between co-hosts, and it resulted in a loss for everyone; the companies now have a chip in their image, some of the ticketholders may not be able to attend the concert due to change from a weekend night to a weekday night, and the performers already have a setback before the concert even started.
Unfortunately, there is more. Back in May this year, a newly created production agency called Lasrevinu started to promote a concert by Explosions in the Sky (EITS). Eager fans of EITS bought reservation tickets for a chance to see them perform live in Korea. However the method of reservation was quite different than the usual way e.g. using Interpark. Instead, ticket buyers would first send money to a pre-arranged bank account, then send an e-mail concerning which concert and seat they would prefer, and finally a confirmation email would be sent back to them. In Hongdae area performances, this type of reservation is said to be the norm. All seemed well until around 10 days before concert night. In various music forums, there were reports of the agency not replying back confirmation e-mails to ticket buyers. One puzzling reply from the venue, after one fan asked them about the concert, stated they had not received any payment for the lease of the concert hall for that day and time, and presumed that the gig was off. Additionally, a reply from the EITS manager was astonishing; he had lost contact with Lasrevinu for a while and the band was also beginning to think the concert was off. The biggest problem was that even when these replies were posted on the forums, at the Lasrevinu website, it seemed everything was going perfectly fine and people could still buy tickets if they didn’t know any better. Finally, just a few days before the concert, Lasrevinu announced that they were cancelling the concert due to the sinking of the MV Sewol that happened this April, and promised full refunds. However, refunds were given back to only a number of ticket buyers, and in the end, 17 people sued the CEO of Lasrevinu and the whole matter was taken to court.
Concerts are events that people go to relax in some cases, to have the night of their lives for others. All in all, it’s something that should be enjoyable, not something that should be a hassle, especially before the concert has even started. The concert industry in Korea better step up their game and make sure these kind of hassles do not happen again, or else, there not might be artists coming to Korea to perform, or eager fans who would be exhilarated to hear them sing live only a few meters away.