This blog post is a travel story about going to Frankfurt, Germany, to see K-POP.FLEX concert on Sunday, 15th May 2022. I got the tickets for Sunday when there came an extra day for the festival. The concert was initially supposed to be only on Saturday 14th May. The concert was marketed as the “Europe’s First Mega K-pop Festival”.I had no idea about the festival when the Saturday tickets came out. So, when I saw Sunday coming for sale, I bought a few tickets because I thought this could be a fun spring concert trip. And the lineup seemed good. The Sunday’s lineup included:
- KAI (EXO)
- Monsta X
- Oneus (had to cancel their performance due to COVID-19)
So, we flew to Germany with my friend from Finland on Saturday morning. We had a lot of time wandering around Frankfurt’s city centre that day. It was my first time in Germany! I was supposed to go to Hamburg to see a tennis tournament in 2020, but the trip got cancelled due to the pandemic. So I was so happy to get to Germany now: my friends and family have told me only good things about travelling there. And it was great: I loved the food, the people were friendly, there were beautiful nature walks, and the public transport was easy to use.
Saturday strolling the city centre
We walked around the city’s centre, and first, we went to the heart of the town on Saturday. We came to the historic old town (a reconstruction), which was so pretty with a gothic style church (Alte Nicolaikirche), a city hall (Römer) and picturesque houses lined up (Römerberg). From the square, you have a short walk to the river where people are hanging out. The sun was shining, and the weather was perfect during our whole trip! We had 8-10 Celsius degrees in Finland (and still have…), so we went to 26 Celsius degrees in Germany. We were so lucky, and we could take our summer clothes and sandals with us finally 🙂
We had some lunch, and we had planned to see the archaeological museum in Frankfurt, so next, we went there. The museum is housed in a Carmelite church and monastery (deconsecrated), built in the medieval era. We took the audio guide with us, which was very helpful during our museum tour. The staff was friendly and helpful in the museum. We talked for a while about Etruscans and the Etruscan exhibition that had been there a short time ago. But unfortunately not during our visit. Suppose you are interested in classical archaeology and Etruscan artefacts: in that case, there are a lot of beautiful objects in this museum for you to see. Our favourite part was the Roman era reconstruction of a room with beautiful wall paintings and objects. And I even found some musical artefacts! You could also buy a Roman aperitif called Mulsum here, which was at Roman times usually served before the meal, and it is made of wine, honey and spices.
Okay, I got too excited about the past, so back to modern music and the K-pop festival. We saw the Saturday stadium night show lights through our hotel window and wondered what the show was like on Saturday. And we fell asleep dreaming of the concert.
Sunday 15th, the K-pop festival day at the K-POP.FLEX
So we woke up the next day early on Sunday, had an excellent delicious hotel breakfast and finally got ready for the concert day! We had a walking distance to the stadium, and the route there was beautiful: there were horse stalls, a golf club (I love playing golf!) and some nature trail walking. And we finally got to the Deutsche Bank Park stadium at about 11 a clock. You could enter the stadium’s grounds at 10 am.
First, we headed for the merch store in the area. I bought a few t-shirts and a bag because they were adorable and seemed of good quality. I was so close to purchasing the mascot toy… It was too cute! I must say that the graphic design for this K-pop festival was made really well and was excellent work.
Next up we went to the “Korea festival”, with food stalls, competitions and information about travelling to South Korea. We then started looking for the entrance to the stadium to know where to go. That was kind of difficult… We, by accident, went to wait in the correct queue. We asked for guidance from the staff, but there wasn’t enough staff. It was a bit chaotic to know where to go because there weren’t maps or info at the festival area – or we just didn’t find it, which is possible. We waited in the line for the gates to open, maybe for an hour. And we didn’t really know what was happening or what we were waiting for. Luckily we finally got to the stadium area, as it was the correct queue. And we found our seating places with no considerable effort.
I must say that, because there was no information about the timetables, it was hard to decide: do we just sit and wait or go for the Korean festival. We didn’t yet eat anything there and wanted to pick food from there. We decided to stay at the stadium. I can imagine what it must have been for those in the standing places to wait without knowing when the show starts.
Finally, there was a starting time on the screens, that the concert was going to start at three a clock. Before that, we saw a dance performance, which was really good. There weren’t that many people on Sunday at the show, as I heard that Saturday was chaotic according to social media messages we read. We got drinks, and you could buy food if you wanted from the stadium and there were only short queues. If you check out people’s experiences on Saturday, you can find many vlogs. Our experience on Sunday was different from the 1st day of the festival because the number of people was less. I will put my overall verdict of the K-pop festival on Part II of this travel vlog.
The performances! The experience! My first K-pop festival/concert
The K-pop festival concert started finally at 3 pm. All the performers came to the stage one by one representing themselves. The first group to perform was an experienced girl group MAMAMOO, which performed “AYA“, “gogobebe“, “HIP“, and “Um Oh Ah Yeh“. MAMAMOO had cute pink outfits and had a fabulous stage presence. I enjoyed MAMAMOO’S show a lot: they brought an excellent performance, and I think I enjoyed most the songs “HIP”, a great hit single from 2019, and “Um Oh Ah Yeh”, which is an older song from MAMAMOO from 2015.
At this point, it was challenging to hear the songs from our seating places: the concert venue’s acoustics weren’t good – at least for our seats. We were seated at the lower part of the sitting area at the centre, row 20. A football stadium or a sports arena is a difficult place to get the sound quality suitable for concerts like this. Usually, the area has to be full of people to improve the acoustics. Otherwise, the sound is reflected from the empty seats all over the place. So for concerts the more you have people, the better and Sunday the stadium had a lot of empty seats. I think the sound got better after Mamamoo’s performance for some reason.
Also, besides the acoustics that brought down the experience, in my opinion, on Sunday was the daylight. Because the venue is a football stadium, the concert was in broad daylight. You couldn’t see the light show that well – it doesn’t have the same impact as in the dark. So this is probably a big difference too to the Saturaday’s show. I don’t know if the German authorities say that all concerts have to end early on Sunday? I think this could be why the early start and ending on Sunday. In Finland, the concerts can be, depending on the city, to 10 between 12 pm usually, before the authorities plug the powers off. So this was a bit different concert experience than on Saturday, I can imagine. The whole concert on Sunday felt rushed, and it is difficult for me to pinpoint why. But this way we felt with my friend.
Next up was a very new girl group, IVE, which in contrast to Mamamoo, which debuted in 2014, IVE debuted December 2021. IVE had a captivating performance, and they brought a lot of youthful energy to the stadium on Sunday. IVE hasn’t got that much discography of songs to perform, but they already have big hits like “ELEVEN” and “LOVE DIVE”, which was in my April’s monthly highlights. They also performed “ROYAL“, a b-side of the “LOVE DIVE” single release.
One issue that concert ticket buyers for K-POP.FLEX have been upset about was the show time. The problem is that the organizer marketed a five-hour show. If the organizer would have said the ticket buyers that the show is about 2,5 to 3 hours, that would have been okay before buying the tickets – you know what you get. So the problem is for the ticket buyers that we didn’t get the 5 hours of performances on this festival that was expected. For example, I bought tickets for a Snoop Dogg concert, and it was more expensive than this festival ticket, and I expect it to be about a few hours show. So, people who bought the tickets didn’t get what was promised. Usually, it is good for companies’ business to do better than what are the customer’s expectation than go under the expectation if you are organizing an event like this in the future to gain the customers’ trust.
We K-pop festival/concert ticket buyers don’t know why the performances were short, three to four songs. I hope the artists would have been given more time to perform songs to the audience as there were many people from different countries flying to Germany to see their favourite idols and see the concert. And the artists had flown to Germany! I feel that the artists did the best they could in the circumstances: all the artists’ performances were incredible and outstanding on Sunday. That was the positive thing in this situation.
So next up was Dreamcatcher first with their newest hit single, “MAISON“, which has an environmental message for us humans. Dreamcatcher debuted in 2017, but the group was before called MINX, so Dreamcatcher is a “re-debut”. They have a heavier sound with rock elements. If there is a genre called “electro-rock”, that could represent their sound well, in my opinion. Dreamcatcher performed in really cool outfits: gothic-mad max -style, in a modern way. The setlist was in order:” MAISON”, “BEcause” and “Scream“. I think “Scream” got screams from the audience, this song was a great stomper on Sunday, and people loved it. Dreamcatcher left an excellent impression, and I loved their performance. They did also a cover song of BLACKPINK’s “Kill This Love”.
Summing Up Part I
Because there is so much to write about concerning the artists’ performances and the K-pop festival, I decided to put this travel blog into two parts. And sorry if this was a bit of a rant: I had to write from a customer’s perspective regarding the festival and I’ve also given the constructive feedback to the festival organizers. In the second part, I’ll go through the rest of the performances on Sunday 15th and more Frankfurt highlights from our trip.
I made a Spotify playlist of all the songs played on Sunday 15th 2022, just for fun Please let me know if you notice songs missing from the list. I’m also (still) editing the vlog for Youtube. Hopefully, I’ll finish it soon (!), as I’m learning a new editing software I haven’t used before. So bit of a learning curve there.
As you noticed, some things didn’t go smooth during the festival, but overall, our trip and the music experience from the performers was great. It was an excellent opportunity to see more than one artist at one show, which is a great idea. Maybe it is better to go to a festival in South Korea if you want to see more than one K-pop artist/group at the same time and see a full set of songs. Or go to see one performer at a concert, so you get the entire music and light show experience, hear more songs etc. Which is better? This is a good question and depends on the experience you want to have. I’ve been to many festivals and gigs, and this was a very different kind of experience with this kind of concept, where there is only one stage. There were many things to better in this festival experience, what I read from the social media and experienced myself. If you also attended this event, I hope you enjoyed your time and experienced great performances!
I hope you enjoyed this little travel blog, and until the Part II: have a great week! Stay healthy and happy everyone