K-pop lovers were invited to fully indulge themselves during KPOP.FLEX; Europe’s first-ever K-pop mega festival. The event took place on Saturday the 14th & Sunday the 15th of May at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany and featured some of K-pop’s most stratospheric artists, including Monsta X, Kai, NCT Dream, ENHYPEN, (G)I-DLE, IVE, Dreamcatcher and Mamamoo.
The festival, which brought together a mind-boggling variety of K-pop acts under one roof in Europe, attracted fans from all over the continent to experience a line-up rarely seen on the European stage. With many fans eager for live music as the pandemic recedes, more than 65,000 tickets had been sold. Bax Music had the pleasure of attending on Sunday to experience this cultural phenomenon first hand.
After the introduction of every Korean idol present, Mamamoo was the first group to take the stage. Mamamoo has been around since 2014 and the four members, Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein, and Hwasa, pack some serious star power. They’re one of the few groups who openly and actively support the LGBTQ community, which was reflected by the amount of rainbow flags that appeared in the audience. Their set was littered with enthralling performances, and included fan favorites AYA, Gogobebe, and Hip. It was an emotional moment for the MooMoos to see the OT4 Mamamoo on stage, considering Wheein will most likely leave the group at the end of 2023.
Up next are IVE; the monster rookies who are taking the world by storm. IVE made their debut in December 2021, so they’re a fresh new group with just four songs making up their discography so far. The group includes two K-pop stars, Wonyoung and Yujin, who were once part of the immensely popular group IZ*ONE. Their charisma and confidence are no joke! It was great to see that Leeseo, the youngest member or ‘maknae’ was having the time of her life interacting with such a huge crowd. Their set included their major singles Love Dive and Eleven, plus the track Royal.
No time to rest, because Dreamcatcher is up next. This girl group has an interesting position within the world of K-pop for a couple of reasons. They’re one of the groups that have extensively toured abroad, and as a result, have gained a massive fanbase outside of South-Korea. In addition, they have a unique horror concept, which is often paired with intense music and heavy guitar riffs. Their set ended with Scream which got the entire arena pumped up! Their fans, InSomnia as they’re called, were also treated to a special cover of Blackpink’s Kill This Love.
AB6IX performed on both days, giving the audience different outfits and a different set list for each day. They also managed to shift the pace by adding a dance tutorial segment to the show, which the fans lapped up. They taught the fans the killing parts of NCT 127’s Kick It, Blackpink’s Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, and BTS’s Permission To Dance. The boy group also offered an excellent mix between sweet vocals, powerful raps and charismatic choreography.
Miyeon, Minnie, Soyeon, Yuqi, and Shuhua immediately grabbed the audiences attention with their bold attire from streetwear brand Skoot Apparel. The visual style perfectly matched the group’s latest comeback Tomboy, which is their first release as a quintet, following the departure of Soojin in August, 2021. Despite some minor technical issues, the group finished their set with their debut single Latata followed by the ever popular Oh My God. Their zealous performance combined with the heavy bass sent a shockwave throughout the entire stadium.
The men from Monsta X were without a doubt one of the main attractions of Sunday’s lineup, as confirmed by the deafening screams as soon as they stepped onto the stage. In addition to their latest title track Love they also performed Autobahn – fun and fitting choice, considering where the concert took place. In addition to showcasing their light-footed choreography and mature vocals, Monsta X also showcased their individual charm by adding a special segment with plenty of crowd interaction. A short a-cappella version of Kihyuns solo track Voyager was a highlight, as well as Hyungwon’s dancing to IVEs Love Dive, which definitely left a lasting impression.
Finally, it was Kai’s turn to set the Deutsche Bank Park Stadium ablaze. Kai is not only a solo artist, but also one of the main dancers from EXO. His ten years worth of experience showed, because this man oozes charisma from every single pore. In addition to his latest release Peaches, Kai pulled out his personal favorite Vanilla, and after an impressive dance break, he polished off a hair-raising set with To Be Honest and Mmmh. Kai’s mesmerizing set marked his international debut as a solo performer, and one thing is certain, we haven’t seen the last of him yet!
A Memorable Experience, But with a Little Room for Improvement
KPOP.FLEX was the first of its kind in Europe, and you can imagine that organising an event of this magnitude is no simple feat. As such, there were a few teething problems, such as the last-minute changes in the timetable and uncertainties where to line up for each ticket type. It was also a particularly hot weekend, so eventually free water points were arranged. However, the lines were long and not everybody was aware that there was any free water available. That said, the fans can look back on an amazing experience that featured some of the best performers the world of K-pop has to offer.
KPOP.FLEX is Coming to The O2!
Following an incredible inaugural event in Frankfurt, which saw 65,000 fans from over 80 different countries descend on the city, K-pop continues its Global Tour as KPOP.FLEX, Europe’s largest-ever mega K-Pop festival, comes to London for three exhilarating nights at The O2.
Taking place between the 22nd and 24th of September, 2023 at the world’s most popular music and entertainment venue, the three day, cross-campus event will utilise the venues iconic arena, Indigo at The O2, and a range of other locations across the site, with a Fan Fest offering fans a range of activities to immerse themselves in Korean culture.
KPOP.FLEX also recently announced that the festival will also be returning to Frankfurt in 2023, with a weekend festival on the 17th and 18th of June at Deutsche Bank Park stadium.
Tickets will be available soon via www.kpopflex.com.
Please note: Bax Music is not involved with the organisation of KPOP.FLEX or ticket sales.