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K-pop fans protest unfair ticketing promotions by Hallyupopfest organisers

Trouble is brewing in the local K-pop scene with the first and ‘biggest’ K-pop event in Singapore, Hallyupopfest, running into some ticketing issues.

The festival, which is happening on 7th - 9th September 2018, already started selling tickets on 7th July ranging from S$148/day to S$498/day for the special ‘Daebak’ or VIP pass. According to the event website, tickets are available for purchase via Sports Hub's website and hotline as well as several physical locations such as the Singapore Indoor Stadium box office and SingPost outlets.

Now, concerts are notorious for selling out fast so obviously many K-pop fans in Singapore rushed to get their tickets before they’re sold out. Some even paying top dollar for a chance to see their favourite acts in action. However, it was brought to our attention that a K-pop fan-run Twitter account is selling the Hallyupopfest tickets with a buy 1 free 1 offer, basically cutting the price of the day passes in half. Apparently, this Twitter account is able to offer this promotion in collaboration with the event organisers.

Of course, those who have bought their tickets earlier on at full price are up in arms against this unfair late offer by a third party seller, especially since they’re offering the promotion for the most expensive tickets available, the Daebak day pass.

In an email that one Ms Aw sent to the Hallyupopfest management team, she outlined her grievances, saying:

“On that day itself 7 July, I made purchase the 2 nos of CAT1 (Seated) Hallyupopfest for 8 Sept (Sat) at a total cost of S$604.00, exclude delivery charges. This applied to many who purchased the tickets during this period.

After which, I discovered a posting found at twitter (@WannaoneUpdate) indicating of a special offer for Hallypopfest2018 where buyers now can purchase 1for1 tickets as it is a collaboration with the organiser and Official tickets will be issued by Sportshub official ticketing system. This post was also tweeted on @Hallyupopfest.”

Based on the tweet, the B1F1 promotion was specifically for the Friday and Saturday Daebak day passes – buy the Friday ticket and get the Saturday ticket for free. With this offer, the Daebak pass for two days (inclusive of S$4 booking fee) will be only S$502. That’s a S$102 difference. That’s a lot of money.

It’s no surprise that this offer resulted in an outcry on Twitter from fans who bought the tickets early.

Ms Aw tells us that her efforts to contact the festival organisers, the ticketing agents Sports Hub, and the Twitter fan-account for clarification have been unsuccessful.

There are a few things to unpack here. Firstly, why are the tickets so incredibly expensive? The $498 Daebak pass is a one-day ticket and includes some ‘perks’ such as a priority access to the showcases, exclusive VIP zone on the Red Carpet, a goodie bag, and a chance to meet the performers. That sounds all well and good but is that all really worth the extra S$200? And it’s not even guaranteed that you’ll meet your idol. All you have is a chance.

And with the B1F1 offer, I think it’s safe to say that many more people are going to get the ‘VIP’ treatment, so your chance to meet your favourite artist just became significantly slimmer. Not only that, how great can it be then if the VIP section is jam-packed?

But moving on from that, what does it say about our global culture that even management companies are squeezing as much cash as they can from dedicated fans with a flimsy promise of a great experience?

I’m a fangirl myself, not of K-pop specifically but I fangirl over things all the time. In fact, I have paid a lot of money to get front row seats to my favourite band in concert and I’ve even paid a little extra to have pizza with them – but at least my consolation was that the money made from the pizza party was channelled into charity and I think the band priced the both the concert and meet & greet tickets fairly. But in this case, it’s clear to me that the organisers have tried to milk the fans out of their money as much as possible with the lure of their favourite K-pop idols and when the tickets proved to be too expensive, they teamed up with a fan-run social media account in hopes to tap directly into the fanbase and quickly sell more tickets.

Something definitely smells fishy or at least poorly managed here.