Kpop Concert Etiquette: 10 Things Kpop Fans Should NEVER Do!

Written By Eden

Hi there! I'm Eden, a kpop fan, student and online entrepreneur. I created Cute Frog Creations to help you become the ultimate kpop fan!

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Eden

Going to a k-pop concert can be a dream experience but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re dealing with rude k-pop fans (or being one yourself). Practicing proper kpop concert etiquette can ensure that you — and your fellow fans — have a great time while watching your favorite idol perform.

There’s no written rulebook for etiquette at kpop concerts but there are some things that experienced kpop fans know to avoid. If you’ve never been to a k-pop event before, it helps to know what to do (and not do) to have an amazing concert experience.

Today, we’re sharing a common sense guide to kpop concert etiquette. These tips can help you get ready for concert day so you can have the best time possible while seeing your favorite artists.

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Why Does Kpop Concert Etiquette Matter?

Seeing your favorite groups or soloists perform can be a huge rush and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement that’s part of live concerts. But when etiquette and basic respect go out the window, that can ruin the concert experience for everyone, including the fans and the members of the k-pop groups that are performing.

Every concert venue has its own rules about what is and isn’t allowed but kpop fans don’t always follow the rules. And that can make for a bad experience for fans and k-pop artists alike.

For example, during the European leg of Ateez’s Fellowship: Break the Wall World Tour there were a lot of fans chanting over the group members at different times when they were giving ments.

Despite being told that “Halazia” wouldn’t be included in the setlist, that didn’t stop fans from chanting the song’s title while the members were trying to talk to fans.

Many Atinys on Twitter commented that fans should be happy to see them in concert at all and be respectful of the fact that group leader Hongjoong had said previously that Halazia wouldn’t be included in the setlist.

Atinys complaining about kpop concert etiquette

Loona member Kim Lip couldn’t even deliver her ments at the Chicago stop of the girl groups world tour because fans were screaming fellow member Vivi’s name the whole time. She ended up leaving the stage while the chanting was in full swing.

Those are just a couple of examples of what can happen when kpop fans forget their etiquette. And it can affect the mood of the whole concert for the entire night, which is not something you want, especially if you’ve paid big bucks for kpop concert tickets or traveled for hours to see your favourite groups.

Kpop Concert Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Whether you’re going to your first kpop concert or your 100th, practicing good kpop concert etiquette while you’re there isn’t that hard. It’s all about treating other people (including your favorite artists) the way you’d want to be treated.

With that in mind, here are some of the things to avoid doing at a kpop show.

What NOT to do at a kpop concert

  • Don’t bring large signs that block other people’s view. Signs are a great way to show off your love for your favorite kpop groups and sometimes, they can put you in the spotlight for a moment. But if you’re keeping people behind you from seeing the show you’re also keeping them from having a good time.
  • Don’t scream for your favorite members while other members are talking. You might love your bias to death but the reality is that you’re not best friends. So if someone else is talking and you’re not a fan of that member, don’t ruin that experience for them by shouting your fave’s name at the top of your lungs.
  • Don’t throw things on stage. Throwing things onstage can be hazardous to fans and the artists themselves if you’re tossing something heavy like a full water bottle. And it can also be embarrassing for the artists if they’re having something like underwear thrown at them the way a fan did to Minhyuk during the D.C. stop of the Monsta X tour in 2022.

  • Don’t touch artists uninvited. Depending on the type of concert you’re going to you might be close enough to touch your favorite idols if you’re in the front row. But unless they put their hands out to you or encourage you to touch them in any other way, don’t get all grabby. Think of it this way: would you want someone touching you without your consent?
  • Don’t line jump. If it’s your first time at a kpop concert be prepared to wait in line for a long time. There’s one line to get in, another line for the merch booth, lines for the bathroom, lines for concessions–all good reasons to wear comfortable shoes. But if you want to stay on the good side of other kpop fans, trying to break the line is the last thing you should do.
  • Don’t record if you’re not allowed to. If concert organizers ban recording or live streaming, there’s a reason for it. When BTS performed their Permission to Dance shows in the United States, for example, professional recording equipment was most definitely not allowed. And really, if you’re staring at a tiny screen the entire time you’re missing out on getting the full concert experience anyway.
  • Don’t hit people with your lightstick. This is a rule for kpop concert etiquette that shouldn’t need to be said but be mindful of how you’re waving your light stick around. It’s totally fine to get lost in the moment during an upbeat song but you don’t want to be whacking anyone in the head in the process. The right place to hold your lightstick is in front of you, just about level with your head so you can wave it back and forth without hitting anyone.
  • Don’t try to scam your way into a closer seat. When a concert venue starts filling up you might see a lot of empty seats. But don’t assume that no one’s going to be sitting in them. Trying to camp out in someone else’s seat is a good way to embarrass yourself and potentially get kicked out of the venue at the last minute.
  • Don’t push to get closer to the barricade. Barricade seating can give you the best view but it’s rude to try and shove people out of your way to get there. And if you’re on the front of the barricade, be prepared for some pushing from behind as people jostle for a better view.
  • Don’t try to make the show into one big y/n moment. When kpop artists look out into the crowd from the stage they see a sea of faces and the only lighting is what’s above or behind them. It’s fine to wave, toss a finger heart or blow a kiss but don’t be so enthusiastic about trying to get them to notice you that you’re making the artist or the people around you uncomfortable or annoyed.
  • Don’t try to follow the artists. This kpop concert etiquette rule is more for before the show or after. If you’re out walking the streets and you see a member of your favorite group doing a live stream or just exploring the city and minding their own business, don’t follow them! If you’re seeing your faves arrive at the airport, don’t mob them either. As Jungkook would remind us, kpop idols are human too and they don’t like to be followed or hounded.

Related post: What Not to Wear to a Kpop Concert (Ultimate Fan Guide)

What you SHOULD do at a kpop concert

  • Do learn your fan chants. Kpop groups love to hear fans chanting their names, group greetings and lyrics to their songs. So learning your fan chants well before the day of the concert is a must.
  • Do be respectful of other people’s space. Whether you have general admissions seated tickets or VIP tickets in the standing area, it’s important to be mindful of other people around you. That means no jostling, pushing, bumping or screaming in anyone’s ear. As your parents might say, keep your own hands (and own arms) to yourself.
  • Do be patient. Going to a kpop concert can sometimes be a whole day affair if you’re getting to the venue early for the sound check, staying late for the hi touch or you’re attending a kpop festival where multiple boy groups, girl groups or soloists are performing. So if you’re feeling grumpy or tired just remember that others around you might be feeling the same way.
  • Do participate in fan projects. Fan projects can take your kpop concert experience to the next level because they can make you feel more connected to your fellow fans and the group. For example, Hello82 sponsored a top-secret fan project with Atinys that involved sharing a lot of send-off videos for the final stop of the group’s 2022 North American tour.

  • Do follow the directions the artists give. If your favorite idol asks the crowd to quiet down so members can give their ments, do it! Part of artist engagement is being able to talk to fans and be heard, which is difficult to do if fans are constantly shouting them down the entire time.
  • Do wear an appropriate outfit. When deciding what to wear to a kpop concert, keep the people around you in mind. For example, an outfit with spikes or chains might look insanely good but it may leave other fans annoyed if they’re getting snagged on your accessories. And while you might be tempted to go for the underwear-as-outerwear look, other fans (and the artists) might not appreciate being face-to-face with your nipples or other body parts for the entire concert.
  • Do be mindful of what you post on social media after the show. Concert promoters put a lot of work into planning kpop shows but they don’t always go off without a hitch. During the Madrid stop of Ateez’s 2023 tour, for example, Mingi fell off the stage while trying to have some fun with fans. He was so embarrassed and asked fans not to post any clips of his fall on social media, but that didn’t stop a few not-so-kind fans from uploading it anyway.
  • Do know the venue’s rules. Concert venues have rules for a reason and they can kick you out for breaking them. At the end of the day, it’s not worth it to risk missing out on an incredible live performance because you’ve brought in something you’re not supposed to have, you don’t have an approved bag or you’re doing something that’s against the rules. And you might also want to check for age restrictions if you’re a minor going to a show.
  • Do stay until the last song is done. Having been to several kpop concerts, I can say one of my biggest pet peeves is people who leave before the actual concert is over. Sure, you might want to get to the parking lot first so you don’t get stuck in traffic or you may need to catch public transport but ducking out during the encore can be taken as a sign of disrespect to the artist. They’ll appreciate it more if you stay through the entire song, even if it’s not necessarily your favorite song.

Related post: Are Kpop Concerts Safe? [Your Ultimate Fan Guide]

Kpop Concert Etiquette FAQS

audience at a kpop concert
Kpop Concert Etiquette

Is it okay to bring another group’s lightstick to a kpop concert?

It depends on who you ask. Some kpop fans will tell you that bringing another group’s lightstick to a kpop show is the peak of disrespect, while others will say that it’s fine since artists might not be able to tell the difference between their lightstick and someone else’s anyway. If you’re worried about being called out for having another group’s lightstick, you might want to buy one, either at the show or from a kpop store.

Can you bring gifts to a kpop concert?

You might want to bring little treat bags or other gifts for the members of your favorite groups but whether you’ll be able to give them to them or not isn’t guaranteed. Unless you have VIP tickets or are attending the hi touch later, you might not get the chance to hand off your gifts. You can, however, bring teddy bears, flower crowns and other gifts to give idols if you’re attending a fan meeting or fan sign.

Is there a different code for kpop concert etiquette in South Korea?

Attending Korean concerts can be a different experience than seeing kpop artists perform in your hometown. If you don’t know much about Korean culture, you risk offending someone unintentionally. International fans who plan to attend kpop concerts in South Korea or other Asian countries can avoid awkward situations with other fans by reading up on local kpop concert etiquette rules before they head overseas.

Is there anything you can’t bring to a kpop concert?

If you’re putting together a kpop concert checklist, you might be wondering if there’s anything you need to leave at home. While it’s okay to bring a water bottle if you’ll be standing out in the heat or heat packs if you’re seeing a show in winter, you generally can’t bring in other food and drink, alcohol, drugs or weapons of any kind. And keep in mind that the concert venue might require you to bring a clear bag to keep your stuff in while you’re at the show.

Final thoughts on kpop concert etiquette

Being polite can go a long way toward making sure that you have a good time at a kpop show instead of a bad one. Kpop concert etiquette might be unspoken but it’s still important to know. The next time you’re planning to go to a kpop concert, remember to be on your best behavior so you can make as many awesome memories as possible.

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    What’s your biggest kpop concert etiquette pet peeve?