[news] K-Pop Stars Steal Spotlight at Asia Song Festival

Pop stars from Asia gathered once again in Seoul for the 6th Asia Song Festival (ASF) Saturday evening, but Korean pop groups stole the spotlight.

Fans of K-pop groups Big Bang, Super Junior, Girls Generation and 2NE1, Japanese stars Gackt and V6, and other Asian artists flocked to Seoul World Cup Stadium to see their favorite stars for free, though attendance seemed to be less than in previous years.

The annual music festival, organized by the Korea Foundation for Cultural Exchange (KOFICE), is touted as an opportunity for cultural exchange and cooperation among Asian countries.

However, the festival line-up was dominated by Korean and Japanese artists. There were four Korean groups and three Japanese groups invited to the festival, compared to one representative each from China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

The music festival kicked off with performances by Taiwanese singer Show Luo and rising girl group 2NE1. 2NE1, who received the ASF New Artist Award, quickly got the crowd on their feet with their hits ``Fire'' and ``I Don't Care.''

At a press conference Friday, 2NE1 leader CL said the group was very happy to have gained fans across Asia, even though they only debuted a few months ago. ``We enjoy music and as a group, we always say, `Let's go out there and play our music.' That's how we do it,'' she said.

Boy band K-Otic incorporated elements of traditional Thai music and culture in their performance. Chinese pop singer Chris Lee, who won the Super Girl singing contest in 2005, sang some of her catchy tunes on stage.

Popular Japanese pop group V6 charmed their fans when they sang and danced to three songs, including their latest single ``Guilty.'' It was the six member group's second appearance at the festival.

``We hope to see you again at our concerts in November,'' the group's Junichi Okada told the crowd.

Festival organizers also gave a special award to Ukrainian singer Ruslana, who is also a politician, for her efforts to bridge the cultural gap between Korea and Ukraine. Wearing a shredded green outfit, the sultry singer showed off the vocal chops that won her the Eurovision Song Competition in 2004.

Gackt, a former vocalist of Malice Mizer and one of the pioneers of the visual kei movement in Japan, gave one of the most explosive performances of the night. Gackt rocked the festival with his powerful voice, hard-hitting rock tunes, exciting visuals and special effects.

While they graciously applauded lesser known Asian acts, the crowd reserved its loudest cheers for K-pop's most popular groups. Girls' Generation had everyone on their feet with catchy songs ``Gee'' and ``Genie.''

Boy band Super Junior performed two of their hit songs to the delight of their fans. However, Kang In, who was involved in a bar brawl recently, was noticeably absent.

Big Bang was perhaps the most anticipated act of the night. Many fans had been missing the pop group, whose members have been concentrating on promotions in Japan as well as solo projects in Korea. There were only four members for the performance, as Dae-sung was recuperating from a recent car accident. The group performed three songs, including last year's hit, ``Lies.''

The festival ended with a surprise encore featuring members of Super Junior and Girls' Generation.

Amid a downturn in the music industry in the region, the Asia Song Festival was aimed at creating an environment in which Asia can be grown as a single music market, under the slogan ``Asia is One.''

One improvement at this year's festival was the introduction of a charity component, in cooperation with SBS Hope TV Popcorn. Fans could send text messages, which were posted on the big screens, for 2,000 won. The funds will go to seven non-government Korean organizations, including Good Neighbors, Save the Children and World Vision.

Korea Times

8 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    seriously...why did they choose ekin cheng to represent hk...he's not even popular in hong kong and hasn't been for a decade...and he was never a good singer....does anybody know what criteria they use in choosing ppl to represent different places?

  2. Anonymous says:

    BOM's face is so freaking scary in the picture! She needs another surgery. And how come every KPOP article has pictures of 2NE1? SNSD, Suju and Big Bang are bigger than them but why use their picture? BIASED much!

  3. Anonymous says:

    show luo is kinda old skool...i luv him....but stil l old skool

  4. Anonymous says:

    no wonder the kpop celeb got the spotlight. they all perform in their own country. lol

  5. Anonymous says:

    yeah i agree i seriously dont understand why they chose ekin cheng as a representative from hong kong, they should have chosen someone like janice who is a brilliant singer.
    love show luo, wish s.h.e was there too :(

  6. Anonymous says:

    duh they stole the spotlight, most of the people there wanted to see them, advantage much? i mean its not competition or anything but the writer of the article should use some common sense

  7. Jaz says:

    i was wondering @ 2 are you that free to help us upload that many pics?.By the way 2NE1 won an award there. I dont think we are biased =O. All of us love BB,SNSD & Suju. Sometimes the pics on the sources are 2NE1.Do you have any problem that we use their pic? if you hate them so much you can ignore the pics, no one ask you to look at them.Plastic surgery or not, that is certainly their private life, we or anyone have no right to say about it as it is not our own body but Bom's.Oh and not EVERY kpop article has 2NE1's photo.We follow according to the news, if the news is about 2NE1, then of course it is their pic, if it is SNSD's it is SNSD's picture?.Your EVERY is very unfair.

  8. Jaz says:

    i hope readers will understand and appreciate that whatever we take from other sources are translated and reported by them.I hope all of you will appreciate it instead of saying mean things,disrespect or bash the article or writer as it is not easy to translate it to english. We are lucky to have people who willingly sacrifice their time,energy and effort from korean to english.We wouldn't have kpop news in english if it is not for them.Thank you for your understanding.

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