BTS is slated to perform a free concert in Busan for the WORLD EXPO 2030 BUSAN KOREA CONCERT. The concert will be held on October 15, 2022. When the news was announced, fans were overjoyed to hear that the concert would be free. On the other hand, one strange detail caught their eye. The concert would be held at the Busan Port International Passenger Terminal Outdoor Parking Lot.
With plenty of other stadiums located in Busan, including the Asiad Stadium that was built for the 2002 Asian Games, no one knew why the government chose that particular outdoor venue. Of course, given that 100,000 concertgoers would be attending, they would need a huge area.
But the venue was located in a part of Busan which would be extremely hard to get to. Although the government promised that they would mobilize city trains and buses as free transportation for the concert, fans are questioning the true intentions behind the decision. Let’s take a closer look at the area and what the Busan government is being criticized for.
1. Infrastructural problems
Although the government promised to mobilize public transport and shorten waiting periods between each train, it still does not solve the innate infrastructural problems of the area. As shown in the map below, the concert venue (shaded in grey) only has two exits marked by the dots. Concert-goers have to cross the river to get to the nearest train station. There are only three available bridges, marked by red arrows. With 100,000 concert-goers, it is infrastructurally impossible to effectively vacate the location quickly, even with increased transportation.
2. Lack of facilities
The surrounding area also does not have any restaurants or hotels. Fans would have to bring food with them to the area and travel a distance to their accommodations.
3. Bad planning of the total number of tickets
Furthermore, fans are criticizing the government’s solution to the influx and outflux of the 100,000 concert-goers. Fans have begun to use BTS’s previous Wembley Stadium performance in London as a benchmark. The Wembley Stadium event admitted 90,000 people. So, while Busan’s plan of 100,000 isn’t impossible, it is the government’s plans to handle the crowd that is being criticized.
4. Bad plan for crowd movement
The government announced that they planned to begin entry to the venue from 9 am. With the concert at 6 pm, they were confident that everyone can enter on time. The problem, however, is how much the concert-goers will suffer in those 9 hours in the venue. What’s more, it may take just as long to vacate the area. If the concert ends at night, concert-goers may get out of the venue as late as dawn on the next day.
5. Toilet issues
The government also announced plans to install tens of portable restrooms in the venue. Wembley had a total of 2,700 toilets to accommodate their 90,000-strong crowd, and yet, fans complained about queuing for a long time. With plans for less than a hundred portaloos for a crowd of 100,000, it is clear that Busan city is not providing enough facilities for the event.
6. Affecting non-concert-goers
The Busan government is even said to be considering designating planes and KTX speed trains from other parts of South Korea to Busan, just for concert-goers. This would definitely affect the regular civilians who may have urgent travel matters to tend to on that day.
So, just why was the location chosen?
Fans began to speculate that it was because the Mayor of Busan, Park Hyung Jun, who’s behind most governmental decisions in the city, owns land in that area. With more traffic to the area, he would only stand to benefit if the value of the land goes up. The area is currently underdeveloped but will soon be undergoing revamps to prepare for the horde of visitors.
The colored areas as shown below all belong to either Park Hyung Jun or people related to him. They are in the Ilgwang area where BTS’s concert will soon be held.
Park Hyung Jun also has plans to create an Urban Loop in the area. He wishes to build a new thriving urban city containing real estate, a port, a new airport, and an eco-delta city. The port is where BTS will be soon performing.
Should the Urban Loop thrive economically, he will also receive returns on his purchased land. BTS’s concert will bring massive publicity and exposure to the area, which is what fans believe is Park Hyung Jun’s true intention and why the Busan government is bending over backward to hold the concert in that specific area.
This is not the first time that fans have accused politicians of using BTS for their personal gain. They once protested BTS’s performance at the Blue House. You can read more about the moment below.