HALLYU WAVE is turning up a storm in India and we are not complaining. Each day the K-POP fans is increasing and we see more and more active fans across India. This year alone, numerous projects done has been by the fans for various groups like EXO, BTS, GOT7 etc etc in different parts of India proving the fact that K-POP is here for the long run.
We sat down with the Pink Box Events (PBE) team, who has been organizing K-POP concerts and fan-meetings in India. They gave us in depth insights to current K-POP scene in India and their journey towards bringing Hallyu Wave closer to India.
DKPOP: Tell us about you guys, How did the idea to start a event company for K-POP come about?
We are 4 family like friends who grew up listening to K-POP and watching K-Drama. For the last few years, all of us have been working in the Korean Music industry under various capacities. We were also fortunate enough to have been associated with the Korean Cultural Centre India since 2013. But because they are a Governmental body, they only have limited number of events and we noticed that there are so many fans who dreams to see their idols but there was no individual group to take that one step forward, so we took a leap of faith and started the venture of K-POP Events with mix feelings but the response was so great from fans that we decided to continue.
DKPOP: How many events have you guys worked on?
Our first official event was in 2014 and ever since then we have had individual events as organizers as well as in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Centre India who has been actively working to spread K-POP in India since 2012. As of now, we have worked with artists like NSONIC, Dabit, Hayana, IMFACT, JJCC for Concerts and Fan meetings and we are on process with other groups.
DKPOP: Why do you think there was a gap in market before?
India is blessed with Our own entertainment industry which is widely known all over the word and so it was difficult to bring acceptance to a new genre based on a new language on a broader platform even though some parts of India were already having a huge fan following. But because of the efforts of many people and also because of the interest of the Korean industry in India, things have been changing.
DKPOP: India has suddenly become interested in the K-POP market, what brought this change?
There was always an interest in the K-POP market and fans have been ensuring that the genre of K-POP is present in different parts of the country for years now. Some fans have been exposed to Korean Music and Drama since 2000 so its not a new phenomenon. However it is also true that currently the presence of K-POP/K-drama in India has been exposed to a larger audience with mainstream media channels like VH1 airing weekly K-POP songs or with magazines like Rolling Stone India doing interviews of K-POP idols but this is also because there were fans who wanted this and hence with demand, this was met which shows the strong presence of K-POP fans.
With Psy’s Gangnam style, for non-fans in India, they did come to know about a genre like K-POP but the interest didn’t last long and recently with BTS’s win in Billboard Music Awards, the focus has come back again on K-POP which is really good as the exposure is more and people are getting to know that there is a section of Indians who are into K-POP/K-drama but to say that there has been a sudden interest in K-POP/K-drama market only because of it, we personally think it’s not fair to make a statement like this, as it ignores the efforts that everyone has been putting on to spread the Korean culture in India for years now.
DKPOP: How far has India dived into the hallyu wave and do you think we are ready for it?
Realistically speaking, for some, we are ready, while for rest, we still have to work hard because majority of the fans are still students so it is difficult to do paid events for popular groups. But we have come a very long way thanks to the efforts of the Korean Cultural Centre India, various fandoms and active fan groups of major places like Delhi, Manipur, Mizoram, Bangalore, Mumbai besides others. In the very beginning there were very few active fandoms like the Super Junior fandom who did fan projects and donated under the Indian fandom name but since few years, there are so many Indian fandoms that are giving stiff but healthy competition to one another. This year alone we have seen fandoms of BTS, EXO, GOT7 who have done things like putting up banners, billboards, donating to charitable organizations, naming star under their bias name etc and because of this other fandoms in different countries including South Korea as well as K-POP idols already know about the strong presence of their Indian fans.
The K-POP fandom in general has always been known to do fanprojects under the name of the idols and we are immensely proud to see that the Indian fans have also been doing the same. Besides this, fans in major cities form groups and have KPOP meet ups, dance covers, flash mobs, cosplays, listening sessions to newly launched albums together, eating Korean food, buying albums or merchandises in bulks with other K-POP fans. In fact, we heard that the Mumbai Korean Fanclub (IKFM) is holding a K-POP Dance Social on 16th September. India was also the debut stage for 2 K-POP idol groups- Imfact and Lucente.
So yes, to answer to your question, there are a number of groups who are working tirelessly to bring about and get the Indian K-POP recognize in India as well as in the international K-POP scene for years now and presence of K-POP have been witnessing a shift because of that. With respect to events, we are slowly getting to there. Because most of the new fans are young and since our society has a different culture as compared to other countries, it is difficult to expect a lot but we are however learning and unlearning things so that we can bring more K-POP concerts and fanmeetings keeping everything in mind.
DKPOP: Does that mean the mentality of fans with regard to accepting K-POP concerts/fan meetings have changed?
To a very huge extent yet. As a fan we always want to see our favorites on stage. Earlier we used to get mails or messages saying “Bring EXO/BTS/BIGBANG/GOT7 to India” but now we get detailed mails which is very well researched and they don’t just write one line but they also highlight the number of fans or the fanprojects they have done and also offer suggestions. Because of the demography of our country, it is also difficult to gather fans in one place but especially since last year, fans are also recognizing this fact and are trying to suggest a common location for concerts and events. Fans are also understanding that it is important to support K-POP concerts/fan meetings even if it’s not of their favorite group so that this will help make way for their favorites to come. We constantly look forward to this emails and suggestions from fans.
DKPOP: Talking about projects, is there anything we can expect in the near future?
Definitely. We have been approached by companies who are interested to tour India, the issue is with sponsors because the culture of K-POP concerts/fan meetings is still being grasped. Apart from Korean Cultural Centre India who usually holds their events free in order to spread the Korean culture and strengthen the cultural ties between the two countries, we are the only company who have organized K-POP Concerts and fan meetings. Fans are slowly getting accustomed to it and because it’s the first time for most fans being exposed to it, there is usually a bridge but we try to deliver as much as possible. We are open to bringing anyone since the purpose of Pink Box Events has been to bring the Hallyu wave closer to India but there are certain things that we first have to work on. Until now, all events that has been done were done without any sponsor but lately, few have been experiencing interest. We are thus currently finalizing on sponsors for an event for the end of the year or early 2018. We are hoping that 2018 will be a breakthrough year for k-pop seeing how 2017 has been going really great for the Indian K-POP community. We think people are getting to know and accept k-pop more so we are definitely excited to explore the scope of sponsorship and collaborations and we look forward to more but we are trying not to decide hastily and rather take things one at a time.
DKPOP: Before we wind up, is there anything else you want to say?
We really want to take this opportunity and extend our gratitude to everyone who has been supporting us even though we have been learning ourselves. We will definitely work harder if we have your support. Hallyu Wave is ready for India and thanks to the constant efforts of many people over the years, India is also getting ready to accept the Hallyu Wave in full form. The beauty of K-POP/K-drama is that it brings people together and in India it is doing the same. Hwaiting to everyone who has been working hard for this.
“To every fandom/group, every fan who tries to make their friends into a fan, to every hardcore fan who supports endlessly and to everyone who has just entered this family of K-POP/Kdrama, our efforts is becoming more apparent. Let’s all pat ourselves in our back and let’s work harder to bring Hallyu Wave even closer to India together. We hope to see you all in our next event!”
Follow PINK BOX EVENTS for more updates on upcoming K-POP events
DKPOP INDIA team thanks PINK BOX EVENTS team for taking out their time to sit with us. We wish them the very best and we look forward to collaborating with you in many more K-Pop Events in India.