Concert promoter talks about bringing K-pop shows to Manila under Alert Level 1

Published March 2, 2022, 9:43 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

With Metro Manila now under Alert Level 1, will there be in-person K-pop concerts soon?

After two years, Metro Manila and other areas in the Philippines have been put under the lowest community quarantine status. Under Alert Level 1, in-person concerts can now be held in venues such as concert halls.

The last K-pop concert organized by Pulp Live World was NCT Dream’s “The Dream Tour” held on Feb. 29, 2020 at the New Frontier Theater (Jonathan Hicap)

Happee Sy-Go of Pulp Live World, which promotes and organizes many K-pop concerts and fan meetings in the Philippines, said concerts are now permitted.

“Well clearly Alert Level 1 technically allows large indoor and outdoor gatherings, but venues are still awaiting final IATF guidelines. But the bottom line is concerts of any kind can be organized,” she said.

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines, persons 18 years old and above need to present proof of vaccination before participating in mass gatherings or entry into indoor establishments like “venues live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters.”

The last K-pop concert held in Manila organized by Pulp Live World was NCT Dream’s “The Dream Tour” concert held on Feb. 29, 2020 at the New Frontier Theater.

At the time the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak was just starting in the Philippines. For the NCT Dream concert, Pulp Live World implemented a “no mask, no entry” policy, body temperatures were checked and alcohol stations were set up at the venue.

While organizing K-pop concerts in the Philippines is now allowed, the situation is totally different in South Korea.

“Touring artists from South Korea are still constrained by local conditions and from what we know, South Korea infection rates are still surging. So this affects not only the ability but the willingness to tour as return quarantine restrictions in South Korea are still quite stringent,” said Sy-Go.

Under the new rules, all incoming passengers in South Korea, regardless of nationality and vaccination status, need to undergo a seven-day quarantine. Koreans are allowed to undergo self-quarantine at home. For short-term visitors, the seven-day quarantine will be at a government managed temporary facility and they need to pay for it.

South Korea is experiencing a surge in daily COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Omicron variant.

On March 2, South Korea recorded 219,241 new COVID-19 cases, the first time that the daily tally breached the 200,000 mark, to bring the total confirmed cases to 3.49 million, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

According to Sy-Go, the main factors that her company will consider in bringing K-pop acts to the Philippines are “safety and peace of mind of both the artists and the fans.”

“We will watch carefully both internal and external conditions and try to gauge this effectively as much as possible,” she said.

Sy-Go said she misses the interaction between the artists and the fans.

“This synergy especially in K-pop is rare and truly inspiring. Fan devotion to their idols is hard to match across all genres and this is something we look forward to experiencing in the very near future,” she said.