Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Eden
K-pop fans know that the best way to enjoy their favorite k-pop groups is at a live concert. But are kpop concerts safe?
Kpop concerts are generally safe events to attend. It’s even safe to go to a k-pop concert alone, though you might have a better concert experience if you’re sharing it with your best friends.
Knowing what to watch out for at a k-pop concert can help you have a good time while staying safe. Keep reading for a breakdown of some of the most important things to know about attending a live performance of your favorite bands.
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Table of Contents
K-Pop Concert Safety Concerns
Attending live events is a great way to show your support for the k-pop superstars you love most. But if you’re prepping for your first k-pop concert, you might not know what to expect.
So are kpop concerts safe? Yes, usually. But there are some safety issues k-pop stans should be aware of.
A crowd crush happens when members of a large crowd get packed in together in an enclosed or confined space. The Astroworld tragedy that occurred in November 2021 and the Itaewon Halloween tragedy in October 2022 are both examples of how a crowd crush can result in serious injuries or even death.
A crowd crush usually isn’t a problem if you’re attending a k-pop show that has assigned seating. But it can become an issue if you’re seeing a show at a concert venue that has general admission or standing-room-only seating.
For example, fans raised questions over safety when BTS announced its October 2022 show in Busan, South Korea.
Local fans and international fans alike expressed concerns that allowing 50,000 ARMYs to stand together in one area could result in fans getting trampled or hurt because of a crowd crush.
Pro tip: Check the venue’s seating capacity before you go and consider buying seats that are close to an exit.
Threats of violence are an unfortunate occurrence that many k-pop artists have to deal with. And sometimes, those threats target k-pop concerts and the fans attending them.
For example, concert organizers had to increase security at the Oakland stop of the Stray Kids world tour when they visited the United States in 2022.
The JYP Entertainment artists were targeted in a series of social media posts in which an individual threatened to bring a gun to the concert venue. They also dropped the names of the members they planned to attack.
@jypnation stray kids artists have been receiving death threats for the oakland concert, please take appropriate security measures! pic.twitter.com/6kHRlvcYD3— chu (@slijinchu) July 12, 2022
Fortunately, the event went off smoothly with the Oakland Police Department patrolling the venue on the day of the concert.
Concert venues manage these types of threats by implementing different safety measures to avoid them. That includes hiring security guards and installing metal detectors to prevent people from bringing in illegal weapons or causing harm to concertgoers.
For example, when we saw Tomorrow X Together perform at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta we had to go through bag checks and metal detectors before we could enter the venue. That’s more or less the norm at all the k-pop shows we’ve been to, which can be reassuring if you’re worried about a violent event happening while you’re at the concert.
Pro tip: Most venues allow you to bring a clear tote bag to hold your stuff in during the show.
Concert venues can also ban fans from camping out overnight. While plenty of k-pop fans might say that camping outside the venue adds to the fun, it can be dangerous.
If you’re camping on the streets of a major city like New York, Los Angeles or Washington D.C., for example, that can be risky if the venue is in a high crime area. Sure, you might have a short line to wait in the next day when the venue opens but it’s important to think about how safe you’ll be camping overnight.
Physical injuries can happen at k-pop shows, even when crowd crush isn’t a problem. For example, you might trip walking up or down the steps going to your seat and sprain your ankle. Or you might slip on an icy sidewalk if you’re seeing a show at a venue in the middle of winter.
Serious injuries can also happen due to equipment failures.
Last year, two dancers were injured at a Hong Kong pop concert when video screens fell on them mid-performance. One of the dancers was reportedly paralyzed from the neck down due to a spinal cord injury.
While no members of the crowd were hurt, the incident is a reminder that accidents can happen.
Thankfully, there are no notable reports of k-pop fans being sexually assaulted or becoming victims of human trafficking at a kpop concert. There have been reports of fans being drugged at kpop shows, but they’ve been debunked.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the possibility doesn’t exist.
Staying alert and aware can go a long way toward avoiding those kinds of situations. And if you think someone might be following you, you can let security guards or police who might be working at the venue know.
The last thing you want to deal with when you’re anticipating seeing your favorite k-pop stars is to be harassed, but it can happen at k-pop concerts.
That harassment can take different forms, including:
- Racial or ethnic discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Homophobic or transphobic attacks
- General verbal abuse
BTS fans were allegedly harassed and discriminated against during the 2018 Love Yourself tour. Fans who attended the Hamilton, Canada show alleged that security guards and staff sexually harassed certain female ticket holders while accusing Korean ticket holders of violating camera policies.
Pro tip: Professional cameras are usually banned at most k-pop shows.
Sometimes it’s other concertgoers who do the harassing. For example, when Music Bank visited Chile in November 2022, there were reports of Chilean fans using racial slurs against a Korean fan.
#Netizens talk about local fans at ‘#MusicBank in #Chile‘ harassing Korean attendees and accusing them of being sasaengs https://t.co/bqkt2wZ50K pic.twitter.com/N8sBFiARxl— allkpop (@allkpop) November 13, 2022
A quick Reddit search will turn up threads of other fans sharing their personal experiences with harassment or discrimination at k-pop concerts.
While face-to-face concerts have resumed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the health threat hasn’t disappeared. New COVID-19 cases continue to be reported, which means it’s a safety risk young people still have to consider when attending k-pop shows.
Are kpop concerts safe if you’re worried about COVID? They can be if the concert hall or artist management requires ticket holders to follow health and safety measures that are designed to prevent its spread.
For example, the venue might ask for a vaccination certificate to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Or at the least, fans might be asked to wear a mask the entire time.
Those rules have gotten more relaxed as we’ve gotten further away from the worst peaks of the pandemic. But some restrictions remain in place.
For example, if you’re paying for VIP tickets so you can attend the hi-touch after the show, the event might look different than what you’re used to. Instead of being able to high-five each member of the group you might be limited to waving at them as they stand behind a clear plastic curtain.
(You might see similar differences if you paid to attend the sound check or your VIP tickets include a group photo on stage before the show.)
Fan meetings may also implement health and safety measures to limit contact. So instead of holding hands with your favorite idol, there might be a clear plastic divider between you.
Other health concerns
K-pop festivals can offer a chance to see lots of big names in one place but they can present certain health risks outside of COVID.
For example, attending an outdoor concert in the summer can mean standing in the heat and sun for a long time. You could end up dehydrated, sunburnt or in a worst-case scenario, experiencing heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
That’s what happened with fans who attended the KPOP.Flex festival in 2022. Angry fans expressed frustration with the lack of shade and water throughout the outdoor event.
To our KPOP.FLEX fans ❤️ pic.twitter.com/AqIwNyNqHR— K.FLEX (@K_FLEX_) May 17, 2022
Making sure you have a water bottle handy throughout the whole concert can help you avoid getting sick from the heat. It’s also important to make sure you’re eating before the show or during it so you don’t get lightheaded from low blood sugar.
Related: What to Bring to a Kpop Concert (20 Things You Must Never Forget!)
K-pop concert scams
While not a threat to you physically, k-pop concert scams can do serious damage to your wallet. Scams can be perpetrated by other fans or professional con artists.
Some of the most common scams center on ticket sales.
For example, fans might post on social media that they have some extra kpop concert tickets to sell. The price looks like a great deal and you really want to go to the show so you send them a payment, with the expectation that they’ll deliver the tickets to you electronically.
Only, there are no tickets. The whole thing is a scam and the scammer is walking away with your money while you still don’t have the number of tickets you need to attend the show.
Pro tip: If you plan to buy resale tickets through an official ticketing site like Ticketmaster or AXS, keep in mind that you might pay higher ticket prices and additional fees can apply.
Other k-pop concert scams can operate on a larger scale. In November 2022, for example, the organizer of the Jakarta We Are One k-pop festival was arrested on fraud charges related to the event.
In that instance, fans were able to get the money they paid for tickets refunded but it doesn’t always work out that way.
How to Stay Safe at a Kpop Concert
Whether you’re gearing up for your first concert or your next concert, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. That starts with knowing how to stay safe before, during and after the show.
Here’s a k-pop concert safety checklist of things to remember.
Before the show:
- Use a legit ticketing site to buy kpop tickets (and be wary of scammy-looking ticket links on social media).
- Weigh the pros and cons of choosing standing-room seating vs. assigned seating.
- Decide how you’ll get to and from the concert venue (i.e., public transportation, Uber, driving your own car, etc.).
- If you’ll be parking at the venue all day, choose a spot in an area that will be well-lit when you’re making your way back at night.
- Bring a water bottle and snacks if you’ll be lining up outside the venue several hours ahead of when doors open.
- Charge your phone and bring a portable backup charger so your phone doesn’t die halfway through the show.
- If you’re going to a kpop show alone, let your friends and family know where you’ll be.
- If you’re going with friends, choose a meetup spot you can all go to if you get separated.
- Learn some techniques for avoiding a crowd crush if you’ll be in the pit.
During the show:
- Know where your exits are, relative to your seats.
- Be aware of who’s around you as you move throughout the venue.
- Think twice about accepting drinks at the show from anyone you don’t know, especially if they’re already open or are in a cup without a lid.
- Use a buddy system to go the bathroom, snack bar or merch line if you’re attending the show with friends.
- If you’re in standing-room-only try to create space around yourself and plot out an escape route in case you need to get away from a crowd crush.
After the show:
- If you went to the show alone, try to move with the crowd when walking back to your car or where you’ll get picked up if you’re taking public transportation.
- Be aware of who’s around you and avoid walking through dark areas alone if possible.
- If you drove, have your keys ready and keep your bag close to you.
- Lock your doors as soon as you’re back in your vehicle.
- Let friends and family know when you’re leaving the venue and which route you’re taking back home or to your hotel if you traveled for the show.
Are Kpop Concerts Safe FAQs
Is it safe to go to a k-pop concert alone?
Going to a k-pop concert (or other fan engagements like fan meets or fan signs) alone can be perfectly safe if you know what to expect. Though you might have a better concert experience by going to the show with friends.
Can you take pepper spray to a k-pop concert?
Concert venues typically ban kpop fans from bringing self-defense tools like pepper spray, pocket knives or tasers into the show. So you won’t be able to bring any of that in and if you try to, you probably won’t get past the bag checks or metal detectors.
What should you not wear to a kpop concert?
If you’re going to a kpop concert for the first time you might be all about finding the right fit. While you definitely want to look great, it’s important to choose clothes that are comfortable and aren’t a safety hazard to anyone. For example, the list of what not to wear to a kpop concert includes clothing with spikes that could hurt someone or chains that could get caught on other people or objects.
Related post: What to Wear to a Kpop Concert
Are kpop concerts safe? Final thoughts
Whether you’re a new k-pop fan or an experienced concert attendee, it’s always important to keep safety in mind when attending kpop shows. While you’re busy learning fan chants for your favorite group, it’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the venue and area you’ll be in for the show so you know what to expect. That way, there are no safety surprises that could derail your concert experience.
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