I’m not sure if it’s because I’m paying attention more now or if there are simply more events but 2011 seems to be the start of the K-pop invasion of Toronto. And I say invasion with great delight and anticipation as I’m a huge K-pop fan (yay, Big Bang!). Don’t get me wrong, there were a few random events and performances prior to 2011 – most notably the Wonder Girls concert in 2010 (and when they opened for the Jonas Brothers in 2009). But there just seems to be more hype/talk and events in 2011. Or is it just because I’m paying more attention? What do you think?
So why do I think K-pop is taking off in Toronto? First, there were several flash mobs here during the summer by high school and university aged students (as well as in other cities across Canada). There also seems to be several Facebook groups springing up around K-pop in Toronto and in Canada. I’ve super excited to see all this attention and devotion to K-pop because every event increases my chance to see Big Bang play in Toronto (hey, I’m an eternal optimist – I have to be, I’m a Leafs fan).
Second, JYP Entertainment held talent auditions in Toronto (as well as in Vancouver, New York and Los Angeles). Perhaps I’m reading more into this but it shows to me that Toronto is on the radar to the larger Korean music industry companies which can only be a good thing.
Third, FT Island was a part of Concert for Japan – a two-day fundraising concert on Labour Day weekend. They are a fairly popular K-pop group so it was a huge thing to have them here. Unfortunately, the fact that they were part of the concert wasn’t promoted very well. All the promotion seemed to happen at the last-minute (although perhaps FT Island joined the concert at the last-minute) so the turn-out for the concert wasn’t as large as it could have been. Plus tickets were quite expensive (I’m still used to Korean prices for concerts). I wasn’t able to attend but I have a few friends who went and they both went on free tickets (there seemed to be a lot of free tickets available at the last-minute). Notice I keep using “last-minute”… not a good sign.
Finally, there was a K-pop talent show/concert last month – Hallyu M.I.C. – that received good reviews (read Carmen’s guest review ). It was organized by a group of University of Toronto students who want to share Korean pop culture with Canada. I hope that they do another one (I wasn’t able to go due to a conference) because it sounded like a great event!
And there’s another K-pop talent show/concert this month – Super Wave Korea 2011 (they had one last year too) – on Friday, October 28th. It’s jointly organized by the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO), Korean Canadian Cultural Association (KCCA), students from Hallyu Dongari at York University and the Korea Club at the University of Toronto. In addition to the performances, there will be short travel presentations, Korean food, a cash bar (so don’t forget your ID), and door prizes sponsored by Samsung along with smaller prizes from KTO and Pat Mart. It should be a lot of fun! Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. For more information, check out their website.
But closest to my heart of all the recent K-pop events – since Big Bang hasn’t done a concert yet (can you tell I love them?) – is the Say Kimchi K-pop Halloween party on Thursday, October 27th! Not only do I get to dress up (I love Halloween!!) but I get to dance the night away (I love dancing too) to K-pop and other great music. I know there will be some Big Bang because I saw DJ Elit spin some great tunes last Friday and I got to dance to them. I can’t wait to dance to 거짓말 (Lies) and other great songs! Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. For more information, click the link.
All in all, it’s a great time for K-pop in Toronto!!
What do you think? Did you (or will you) attend any of the events/concerts mentioned?