A couple of my friends asked me about this so I decided to just do a blog post for it!
There are 5 music shows in Korea, and they are all at different locations.
Wednesday: Show Champion (MBC)
Thursday: M!Countdown (Mnet)
Friday: Music Bank (KBS)
Saturday: Music Core (MBC)
Sunday: Inkigayo (SBS)
You can google for the directions / location of these music shows. It’s really easy and Google really is your best friend lol. I’ll just share with you my experiences and the general procedure for entering music shows!
1. Decide which artist/group you are going to enter by.
During one period of time there will be different artists/groups promoting so you will need to check the website of the music shows to see if your favourite group is performing before heading down. A more effective way is to check the schedule of your fav group to see if they are scheduled to perform for that music show. GENERALLY, groups will perform at all 5 music shows when they are promoting, unless they have other schedules.
2. Buy the CD
Once you have decided who you are going to enter via, buy the CD of the group! Different groups have different criteries if I’m not wrong, but the most basic one would be to have with you the CD that your fav group’s going to promote with.
3. Roll Call
Now this roll call is rather tricky – and differs between different groups. It greatly depends on the local fanclub of the group, and also the popularity of the group itself. For less popular groups, going down on the same day of the music show should be sufficient. When you go to the venue, just look around for people queueing for your fav group! If you don’t know, just ask anyone around, or gesture to the CD you are holding. The “holding area” isn’t very big so it’s not difficult to spot the different groups of fans.
HOWEVER if you’re going to support a more popular group, you have to put in more effort (lol). Depending on the popularity, you might have to go down 1 or 2 days before the music show. I’m not too sure for other groups, but I’ll just talk about my own experience! I support SHINee, so this is the way SHINee fandom (and most SM groups’ fanclubs) work.
Go down to the venue of the music show the night before, and search for a piece of paper. The piece of paper can be by a pillar, on the tree, or pasted on the wall. BUT it’s not difficult to find, cos you will see your fav group’s name on the paper. Even if you don’t know korean, I think you should at least be familiar with your fav group’s name in korean so you won’t go wrong. There will also be a time indicated on the paper. This is the timing for when you need to return back to the paper area for roll call.
After finding that paper, you will be required to take a proof shot with the paper and send it to a phone number (provided on the paper), together with your name and the last 4 digits of your own phone number (try to get a korean number / a korean friend who can help you / anyone around if they are kind enough). They will usually reply you with your queue number. If not, hang around till the indicated timing on the paper, and the fanclub people will soon arrive. They usually have a long list of names so just wait patiently till your name is being called. They will then tell you the time to return to the venue the next day (the music show day). And yay you can go home, rest, and need not queue overnight!
4. Music show day!
Be well rested and be VERY prepared to wait for long hours. Go down to the venue at the timing told to you by the fanclub people and wait for them to arrive. They will start the roll call again, and line the fans up according to the number. After that, the fanstaff (different from fanclub!) will arrive and check for your proof of entry. Once again, this proof of entry differs for different groups! For SHINee’s (and most SM groups), a CD is generally enough. However, note that priority queue will be given to those in the official fanclub AND with the CD. So in general the fanclub people will be in front while non-fanclub people, will have to wait till the fanclub people enters, before we can enter. They will go around writing numbers on your hand, which is basically your queue number, and then you will generally be allowed to “disperse” and come back again at a certain timing.
Hang around and don’t go off too far though! Sometimes they might call people back randomly, depending on the music show staff. We cannot really do anything or find out anything but just…WAIT. Usually an entire day is spent for one music show, but I guess you get to enter for free.
5. Pre-recording vs Live Show
The performances that we usually see on youtube / TV are either pre-recorded or performed live. Pre-recording usually takes place the day itself in the morning before the music show starts. For example, SHINee can pre-record for music bank at 11am, before the show itself starts in the evening. So when you queue, you will generally be queueing for pre-recording. The live show is ANOTHER queue, and that also depends on the group you are supporting. Whether or not it is pre-recording or live, will be written in their official website together with the official notice for the different music shows.
IF you get into pre-recording, there is a chance you will ONLY watch your fav group pre-record. OR if you are lucky (depending on the schedule of the pre-recordings), you get to watch different groups pre-record as well! After the pre-recording, you will come out of the building and if you want to try for the live show (the one you see on TV), go search for the same fanstaff and ask them where the queue is. This shouldn’t be as hectic since they will go according to the queue number you already have.
6. Is it a 100% guarantee?
No. Queueing and going to music shows depends pretty much on how early you are willing to go, how popular your fav group is, and how many people the music show staff allows in. If only 100 fans are allowed in, and you have 200 fanclub members in the queue, then the first 100 fanclub members will be allowed to enter first. Live shows are generally more competitive because you’re fighting with different fandoms for that limited space! I have friends who didn’t manage to enter music shows (live show & pre-recording) before, and they cannot do anything about it but leave so…take your chances!
7. My own experiences
So far I have watched SHINee perform Dream Girl during Inkigayo First-half special, Why So Serious at Music Bank 700th Special and Music Core, Beautiful at M!Countdown, SHINe at M!Countdown and Replay at Music Bank 700th Special. These are mainly pre-recordings, and I have only been to 2 live shows – Music Bank and Music Core.
I have been lucky in the sense I have never been rejected by a music show before, so I will at least get to watch them pre-record, even though for some I didn’t get in for the live show. For most of the pre-recordings I got to watch other groups perform as well! The most significant one was music bank where I got to watch almost every group pre-record! So that was pretty cool 😀
Well so bottomline, just have tons of patience and energy to wait for long hours in the long queue!!! But it will be worth it I guess, because I think the idols are always happier performing in their own country? Hehehe just my own feeling. Have fun! ^^