Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023
BTS throws free concert to promote S Korea's World Expo bid

K-pop mega-band BTS reunited on Saturday for a free concert in Busan to support South Korea’s bid to host the World Expo four months after the musicians announced they were taking a break from group activities

About 100 000 fans from around the world were expected to be in the South Korean port city of Busan for the concert titled “BTS in BUSAN” and other related events according to the city’s government

Some 52 000 excited fans many dressed in purple — the band’s official colour — gathered in the Busan Asiad Main Stadium on Saturday evening with local reports saying hotels near the venue were fully booked

The night before the concert major roads as well as a number of tourist spots in Busan including the Gwangan Bridge were lit in purple in honour of the septet

BTS are credited with generating billions for the South Korean economy and their label enjoyed a surge in profits despite holding fewer concerts during the pandemic

In June the septet dropped the bombshell announcement that they were taking a break as a group to pursue solo projects

Aside from music the band has championed global progressive causes from the Black Lives Matter protests to raising awareness on mental health to battling anti-Asian racism in the United States

“BTS if you are getting this message thank you Thank you so much for everything ” an emotional fan from the US told a local broadcaster in Busan on Friday adding she was inspired by their music when things were difficult

“I will never give up on myself because you never gave up on me “

  • ‘Believe in us’ –

In June the band who are known to be extremely hard-working and maintained a relentless pace of new releases in their nine years atop the charts said they were “exhausted” as they announced their break

But just about a month after that announcement the stars were appointed by the government as the official ambassadors for Busan’s bid to host the World Expo in 2030

Saturday’s event also came as the prospect of South Korea’s mandatory military duty continues to hover over BTS with its stars ranging in age from 25-year-old Jungkook to Jin 29 who must sign up by December or risk jail time

“If you believe in us we’ll overcome whatever comes in our way no matter what and happily perform and make music Please believe in us ” the band’s leader RM told his fans during the concert

All South Korean able-bodied young men under the age of 30 must perform about two years of military service mainly because the country remains technically at war with nuclear-armed North Korea

Seoul’s defence minister in August said BTS may be allowed to continue performing and preparing for international concerts even while they undertake their military duty

The band’s oldest member Jin who turns 30 in December and faces enlistment announced during the concert that he would release a solo album soon

“I was able to collaborate with someone I really adore ” he told his fans without explaining further

South Korea is among four countries that have submitted a bid to host the World Expo in 2030 along with Ukraine Italy and Saudi Arabia according to the expo’s organising body

The Bureau International des Expositions is scheduled to vote on the winning host country next year

According to the bureau the historic events — which take place roughly every five years — “are a global gathering of nations dedicated to finding solutions to pressing challenges of our time by offering a journey inside a universal theme through engaging and immersive activities”

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