Coachella will see BLACKPINK lead the K-pop assault, but are UK festivals slipping behind?

BLACKPINK created history almost four years ago. The formidable quartet made history in 2019 by becoming the first female K-pop act to perform on Coachella’s Sahara stage (and proved they deserved such a title). At the time, their booking felt significant and like a sign that the tide was shifting because K-pop was still mostly unknown in the west over ten years after PSY’s “Gangnam Style” became a worldwide sensation.

Things have changed now that BLACKPINK have been welcomed back to the Californian desert to perform as the headliners. At the moment, Korean culture is a tremendously powerful force, with creatives from the nation leading everything from music to cinema and television, from fashion and beauty to food. Korean was the second-fastest growing language on the app in 2021, according to Duolingo.

More and more K-pop performers are appearing alongside their western counterparts on festival schedules in the US. With his victorious Lollapalooza appearance the previous year, BTS rapper J-hope became the first South Korean artist to headline a main stage at a US festival. A day earlier, Tomorrow X Together became the first K-pop act to play at the Chicago event. Along with Snoop Dogg, Lil Baby, Maluma, and other artists in December, SEVENTEEN took over LAC3, and in 2019 MONSTA X visited Las Vegas for Life Is Beautiful. Last week, a mock-up of this year’s Coachella lineup surfaced online with the suggestion that boyband CIX

It wasn’t surprising that the festival may have booked – popular but not one of the biggest bands to make an impression outside of Korea – (alas, the rumour was too good to be true).






































































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