Jisan Valley Rock Festival

Jisan Valley Rock Festival

South Korea has a hopeless addiction to festivals and music, so when those two elements come together, they create a mind-blowing event: Jisan Valley Rock Festival, Korea's largest music event.

Set in the gorgeous Jisan Valley Ski Resort, numerous fans lie on multicoloured picnic blankets in front of the stages. The colourful display of blankets turns to dust as soon as the headliners take to the stage and rock the night away.

The festival, which is held annually on the last weekend of July, has gathered outstanding both local and international rock stars, including Stereophonics, Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Beady Eye and My Bloody Valentine.

Over the course of three days, thousands of festival-goers sip on fun drinks and dance as there was no tomorrow or go into a frenzy when their band play.

The festival is arranged by 9Ent, which is Smash Corporation in close coordination with Japanese Fuji Rock Festival. Back in 2009, the festival's maiden year, controversies emerged regarding the festival's split from neighbouring Pentaport Rock Festival. Nevertheless, the festival's sponsor changed to Mnet media in 2010 and CJ E&M in 2011. Ever since, VRF has been successful and grown into one of South Korea's biggest music festivals.

There are three stages at the festival: the first one is a Big Top Stage, which is the main stage outside. This is where headliners perform. Another stage is a Green Stage, which is smaller than the Big Top Stage. There is also an Open Stage for amateur singers.

Tickets are restricted to four tickets per person. Ticket sales are divided into three phases. The first one is without announcements and is called Early Bird. This sale usually starts in February on the Internet. From this point until the third phase of ticket sales, headliners and other musicians are announced gradually. Festival-goers can buy either the three day passes or the day tickets. Day tickets at only available in the latest phase and camping is not available for day tickets.

Campers usually take their own tent. Catering and some retail services are provided by various small companies, usually mobile catering vans, with food stalls in the camping grounds. Since 2010, festival-goers can only buy goods or good with T-money cards.

Among the headliners and other musicians that have performed in Jisan Valley Rock Festival, there have been outstanding bands and a massive British invasion: in 2009, legendary bands such as Weezer and Oasis rocked the festival grounds. In 2010, some of the artists included one of the hottest rock bands of this millennium, Muse, as well as Pet Shop Boys, Vampire Weekend and Massive Attack. In 2011, bands like The Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys and Suede performed at the festival.

In 2012, the British invasion swamped the festival with mythical bands such as Radiohead and The Stone Roses. Among the local lineup, rock group Nell was the huge standout. The lineup of the never disappoints, and 2013's lineup was also off the charts with bands such as Stereophonics, Nine Inch Nails and The Cure.

Crayon Pop’s Bank Account Incident

Crayon Pop’s Bank Account Incident

Crayon Pop's Bank Account Incident

The South Korean girl group formed in 2012 -under Chrome Entertainment - Crayon Pop has been widely criticised for opening opening a bank account specifically for charitable contributions.

The issue was that the announcement was worded incorrectly. The announcement seemed to emphasize that the bank account was for gifts instead of making it clear that the deposits would be donated to charity.

The announcement states: "As Crayon Pop rises in popularity (...) it is sometimes difficult to handle all the presents (...) From now on, the gifts we receive from fans, whether it's five on-site or via mail, will not be accepted. You can gift Crayon Pop in another way instead. We will soon open up a account specifically for presents. Those who want to offer gifts can enter a deposit into the account. Once the account reaches a certain sum, it will be donated to help those in need and charity organisations."

A good deed never goes unpunished and the fact that they did not consult with fans prior their announcement was not received well, especially amongst those who had already prepared gifts or were planning to give the girls gifts with no monetary value.

Moreover, the wording of the announcement, mentioning a special bank account being set up and asking fans send in deposits raised suspicions of observers.

After the backlash, Crayon Pop and Chrome Entertainment issued an official apology and announced they would rethink their previous decision.

First the company stated: "The reason why we decided not to receive gifts was because the members felt burdened when they received expensive gifts. We chose a ‘donation' method where both the fans and the singers could be happy, but we didn't put enough thought into the method or the way we spoke up about it.

Of course we are thankful for the gifts, but it's also true that we feel sorry. It's burdensome for both the person who gives and the person who receives, and for student fans who aren't financially well off, it could even be bad. And even when the members wear it (gifts), that could create a misunderstanding.

We can't accurately divide the presents between what we can and what can't receive. We also cannot ignore the effort of our fans, so we had to figure out a solution that would best suit the both of us. We chose a method of donation that everyone could be happy with, but we weren't good in the execution and in the words we chose. We are sorry."

Top connections in the K-pop industry

Top connections in the K-pop industry

Top connections in the K-pop industry

Show business might work a bit differently from other industries but it's ruled by commercial logics after all; thus, networking is a determining factor when it comes to making it in the K-pop industry.

There are certain idols who seem to get along with everyone, including influential people in the industry. Some of these idols obtain these connections through their label, some of them are personal friends and some just seem to come by randomly.

Media outlet Dispatch and JD Visual Dive has uncovered some of the top connected idols in the industry.

Big Bang's G-Dragon tops the list with his countless friends in the K-pop industry, including Jo Kwon, Jun.J, Jay Park, Shin Se Kyung, Yoo Eun Hye, among others. He also has connections abroad. Among his foreign friends, there are extremely successful artists such as Will Smith, Missy Elliott, Flo Rida and Justin Bieber. K-pop celebrities also need to look after their style and G-Dragon knows this. That is why he is also well-connected in the fashion industry; for instance, he is friends with Le Soo Hyuk.

2NE1's CL comes second in the list. CL is also friends with a lot of K-poppers such as Sohee, Nicole, Mir, Hyoyeon and Min. She also has a brilliant selection of international friends such as Kanye West, Will.I.Am and Jeremy Scott.

BoA is the veteran in this list. He has been in the K-pop industry for the longest and she has friends in every corner of the South Korean entertainment world, hidden or not. Most people know she is close friends with Lee Hyori and Kahi, but she is also friends with actors such as Yoo Hae Jin, Lee Jun Ki, Jang Hyuk, and Shin Se Kung. Her international links would turn anyone green with envy. She has connections to divas like Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears and Koda Kumi.

Seungri Sex Scandal

Seungri Sex Scandal

Seungri's Sex Scandal

K-pop star Seungri - best known as a member of South Korean boy band Big Bang - has been implicated in a sex scandal in Japan.

A Japanese tabloid magazine named ‘Friday' released a story with the suggestive title "Famous Hallyn Idol Group Big Bang's Seungri's Bed Photos Leaked", and uncovered revealing photos of a man who is supposed to be Seungri.

According to the magazine, these photos were taken by a woman who affirms that she spent a night with the idol member.

The article states: "Currently residing in Japan, Seungri's bed scandal was revealed... A woman who slept with him shared, ‘Seungri has the habit of choking (the other individual involved) during sexual intercourse." She also - allegedly - stated that he didn't even kiss her once.

Undeniably, with this sex scandal, the magazine has achieved a massive success in terms of readership. After hearing about Seungri's apparent sex scandal, netizens have been commenting with their own opinion on the issue, and most of them have expressed their disbelief in the publication's story.

Followingly, Seungri talked about this scandal on a TV show called ‘Incarnation‘. He stated: "I came onto the show because I thought I should let the public know about what happened during the scandal".

"It was the first time in history that an idol became the centre of a scandal like that. The magazine / tabloid I was published in is very famous. They don't even bother to talk about anyone who isn't famous. It was my first scandal, but it was so big. I was a bit scared and shocked. It think a lot of people started to think I was an adult because of that scandal."

He added: "To be honest, I was told about it being printed in the magazine a week beforehand. It's not printed on the internet, but printed at a factory. So I couldn't stop it even if I knew."

True or not, Seungri's scandal has had the same consequences Miley Cyrus's twerking has. If anything, it has put them both back on the map of the entertainment world.