How have you been? Have you been listening to a lot of K-pop and music? I’ve been having a bit of a summer holiday the past weeks, and for some reason, time went fast. You can check out some holiday vibes on my Instagram. I also went to Tallinn, Estonia: they have a beautiful medieval old town and lots of things to see and do. Time flies when you’re on holiday! But I’m back, and it’s time for some festival season posting because summer is the time of the festivals.
A friend and I decided to get tickets for the HallyuPopFest at London 2022 on 9th and 10th July, after the K-POP.FLEX concert at Frankfurt, which I have two blog posts about, Part I and Part II. And it was a good decision: the festival was so much fun 😊. HallyuPopFest, now in London, was the first time the festival was in Europe. Before the festival has been twice in Singapore in 2018 and 2019. The next Hallyupop event is on August 13th and 14th, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. So only a few weeks away!
HallyuPopFest was held at the OVO Arena Wembley in London on 9th and 10th July, which has a capacity of 12 500 people, and it’s an indoor arena, which is great for concerts. So that was one reason to go there, the excellent acoustics and the concert experience. The second was the lineup, which was awesome! Saturday’s lineup for HallyuPopFest in London 2022 was:
- Sam Kim
In Part one, I will go through Saturday’s festival day, the Red Carpet event, the Showcase concert and the main show concerts of Sam Kim, P1Harmony and ONEUS. In the coming post, Part two, I’ll go through the rest of Saturday’s main show’s performers: EVERGLOW, ASTRO, Hwasa and Chen. Parts III and IV will be about Sunday’s performers and festival experience. If possible, I’ll try to get one part in a week: that’s my goal for the month forward 😊.
We bought the VIP tickets to get the festival’s total experience, which was a good choice. Unfortunately, we only had time to go to the festival, so there were no museums or art galleries this time because we were only in the Wembley area. Here’s a tip: if you plan to go to a Wembley concert, I think it’s the easiest to book a hotel there. You just walk to your hotel after the show, so convenient! The area is excellent for a short stay, and you quickly get to the centre of London with a subway if needed.
So let’s see how the 1st day at the festival went! 😊
It’s Saturday, the first festival day starts!
So as always, the first day is finding out how things work at an event like this. For example, where you are going, where to queue, when to go to the queue, and when to get food and drinks. All that jazz. All VIP ticket holders got to a “Meet & Greet” event, a “Hi-Wave event”. We went to the queue, and you picked a ballot, and you got your group/artist card. You could also change the card if you wanted to with another VIP. I got EVERGLOW for my Saturday ballot and was quite happy because they are such a fantastic group. I had been practising their song “First” dance choreography last year, and they have so many bops in their discography!
Next to the ballot tent was also a Hallyu Town, which had various Korean products and food to test and buy. This was open to the public. We went to check out some products on Sunday, but we headed to wait for the Red Carpet event at the Arena on Saturday. Everything was new to us, and you could not know yet what to expect. The timetables were clear when the different events started, which was pleasant for the experience.
The Red Carpet event on Saturday, Full of Stars and Sunshine
So first up was the Red Carpet event, where the artists came to the red carpet and were interviewed. The hosts for this event were Nathan von Cho and Jiin Ryoo (translating the interviews): they did a great job keeping people entertained. The Red Carpet event was streamed live through Twitter/ Youtube to over one million worldwide viewers. That’s a lot!
After the interview, all the performers got an event mascot and posed with them to the crowd. The Red Carpet event was great as you heard more about the artists and groups. It was perfect weather also for us; the sun was shining, and hot weather. Fortunately, the staff gave water all the time to the audience, and the atmosphere was friendly and happy throughout the festival. The organisers seemed to take good care of the people attending the event. That was my experience throughout the weekend.
Festival Showcase on Saturday: challenging the performers and the audience
After the Red Carpet was the Meet & Greet event. As mentioned before, I got to greet EVERGLOW; they were so friendly and beautiful. Next, I got to the arena area, and we had a seated place right next to the stage. Before the actual show, there was a Showcase event for all ticket holders, which was an introductory event for idol rookies and indie artists. In the showcase, there were challenges for the performers, for example, dance and song challenges. And the audience could use the HallyuPyo mobile app to vote for the challenges.
The Showcase: Sam Kim, a perfect start for the festival
The showcase started with a solo artist, Sam Kim, with a keyboardist/producer/songwriter, Simon, accompanying him with keyboards. Sam Kim debuted in 2016, born in the USA, so his English was excellent. He moved to South Korea, participated in a talent show in 2014, and has been an artist since. He started the set with “It’s You“, which set a warm feeling in the arena. Sam Kim did challenges with the audience, such as making a song from words the audience chose, so it was interactive and funny at the same time.
During the showcase, we heard beautiful ballad-singing, for example, from OSTs during the challenges. Sam Kim performed his upbeat, funky, jazzy songs in full versions such as “It’s You”, “These Walls“, and “Where’s My Money“. Sam Kim has a great voice, so it was a beautiful performance. The concert hall’s atmosphere was warm and fuzzy, and Sam Kim’s performance was the perfect start for the Saturday show.
The Showcase: P1Harmony, dance energy and street style
Next up was the boy group, P1Harmony, in the showcase show, and they started with “SIREN“, which is from their first mini album called “Disharmony: Stand Out” from 2020. P1Harmony debuted with this EP. Next up was “Bop“, which was in my January 2022 highlights as the B-side of the month, and I still love this song and its dance choreography.
P1Harmony’s set list for the showcase showed their musical styles varying from hip hop (“Bop” and “That’s It”), R’n’B (“If You Call Me”) to pop (“Follow Me” and “SIREN”) that has been popular the past few years in K-pop. I find this pop style very similar to groups, for example, ATEEZ, where there are powerful choruses and singalong moments. They performed “If You Call Me“, “That’s It” and ended the showcase with “Follow Me“. P1Harmony’s showcase performance was energetic and uplifting. I think they have a great bunch of songs and created an excellent show for the showcase.
Sam Kim, ballads and jazzy vibes (the main show)
Sam Kim started the main concert, and now he was back with slower songs than the showcase – the audience loved it. The showcase artists had a shorter show in the main concert, about 15 minutes, and all the other artists had a showtime of 30 minutes. We could see the clock for the artists from our seating place because we were at that angle to the stage.
The show started with a ballad, “Make Up“, with the moon and stars in the background. Next up was “The Juice“, starting as a ballad and going to an upbeat jazzy track. The last song on the list was “Love Me Like That“, which is a hit for him, but he told in the concert that it felt too personal and therefore he didn’t like it at first. But he learned to love the song as it got so much good feedback from the listeners. Sam Kim captured the listeners’ hearts with his short but sweet show.
Sing- and dance-along time with P1Harmony (the main show)
P1Harmony started their set with “Scared“, with energetic dance choreographies and continued after chatting with the audience with “Reset“. And as a cherry on top, the last song that everybody loves (how you could not?): “Do It Like This“. I feel this song is a big singalong song that is amazing for concerts and happenings like HallyuPopFest. Whenever the track plays, people start singing and dancing to the song. I have another singalong song for Sunday at HallyuPopFest: can you guess what it could be? “Do It Like This” is a hit and a bop. P1Harmony had great energy, and their performance was excellent.
Beautiful and powerful ONEUS
I was eager to see ONEUS because they couldn’t make it to the K-POP.FLEX -festival in May. Also, because they have so many good songs in their discography, I was curious how the concert would be. They debuted in 2019 with an EP called “LIGHT US”. After that, they have released new songs yearly and participated in Mnet’s reality television show “Road to Kingdom” in 2020.
ONEUS started the show with upbeat songs and energetic dances, “Intro: Who Got the Joker?” and “Bring it on” from their newest album, “Trickster”, which was released in May. After this, they performed “LUNA“, which is my favourite song from them. Remarkably, ONEUS can transform into another mood during the show: the transition from “Bring It On” and “LUNA” is impressive. I think this is their strength in varying styles.
I love the fan dance choreographies and the mix of traditional music mixed with the modern, as ONEUS have done in “LUNA” and “LIT“, which they performed next. The following style change came when ONEUS performed “Life is Beautiful“, a bright pop song with modern sounds with melodic vocals. Such a cool mood change yet again!
If this wasn’t already breathtaking, next up were “BLACK MIRROR” and ending the set with “No diggity“, going to more urban music styles and darker pop sounds. ONEUS showed with their performance on Saturday that they have powerful dance choreographies performed with excellent synchronisation. They also have variation in the concepts that they can pull off with style, and they have many fantastic songs! ONEUS was my top favourite performer on the Saturday show because of the performance’s energy and variation in musical styles and concepts. All the songs were great live, ONEUS’s show was visually stunning – the performance was amazing!
Summing Up Saturday Part I
So I decided to make four parts of the festival report to get more information and analysis of the shows on these blog posts. And as many photos as possible of the artists for you to enjoy 😊
So next up will be Part II with Chen, ASTRO, EVERGLOW and Hwasa. Also, I have July’s monthly highlights coming soon after this blog post. Do check that one out, too, if you’re interested in my monthly posts where I go through my personal K-Pop highlights for each month.
I have the full setlist as a Spotify playlist: first up, Sam Kim, P1Harmony and ONEUS (I keep adding the songs when releasing posts). If you would like to listen through what was performed during the festival, in the performance order, the playlist is a great way for that. I have gathered the songs that I recalled from the show: if there’s missing something, please let me know 😊
I hope you enjoyed this post, and have a great week! Enjoy festivals and concerts if you have those coming up!
Take care and stay happy 😊