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K-Culture Night demonstrates Korea’s artistic might

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A Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) delegation watches K-pop performances during K-Culture Night held at Busan Cinema Center on Wednesday night. [YONHAP]
A Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) delegation watches K-pop performances during K-Culture Night held at Busan Cinema Center on Wednesday night. [YONHAP]

BUSAN — Busan Cinema Center was bustling Wednesday night.

Thousands of excited people were waiting to be the first to enter K-Culture Night, a concert specifically held for the visiting delegation from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).

The two-hour concert was not just a K-pop concert, but a way to demonstrate to the inquiry mission the country’s strengths and success in the global music scene.

“I bought the ticket right after I realized that the BIE team will be at the concert,” said 22-year-old university student Kim Seul-hye, who was born and raised in Busan, while waiting in line in front of Busan Cinema Center to get her ticket verified.

“My mother accompanied me as she is a big fan of soprano Sumi Jo,” she said. “I hope the BIE delegation will be deeply touched by the explosive energy of Korean music and Busan residents’ passion toward the world expo.”

At a glance, many young foreigners were present at the concert as well.

More than 2,000 audiences filled the venue at Busan Cinema Center for K-Culture Night on Wednesday. [YONHAP]
More than 2,000 audiences filled the venue at Busan Cinema Center for K-Culture Night on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

“I believe the delegation will add more points to Busan if they understand that Korean culture is now loved by many foreigners around the world,” said Yasmine Hakim, a 27-year-old student from Algeria.

Despite the heavy rain and wind, thousands of concertgoers wearing raincoats filled the outdoor venue. Almost all of the venue’s 2,979 seats were taken.

The delegation walked into the venue on a red carpet, prepared by Busan City to demonstrate the city’s status as one of Asia’s premier cinematic hubs.

Busan is home to the annual Busan International Film Festival, or BIFF, Asia’s largest film festival.

The BIE delegation and Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, right, walk on the red carpet to attend K-Culture Night on Wednesday night. [YONHAP]
The BIE delegation and Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, right, walk on the red carpet to attend K-Culture Night on Wednesday night. [YONHAP]

Korea’s first movie theater to screen a film was also based in Busan Haengjwa — which was located in Nampo-dong, near the port sometime between 1895 and 1915.

Girl group Oh My Girl started the concert with one of its famous songs, “Dun Dun Dance” (2021), which made some members of the BIE team dance in their seats or capture the moment with their smartphones.

The microphone was handed over to singer Rain, who started his performance with “Gang” (2017).

Busan is the hometown of many famous Korean artists, including legendary maestro Geum Nan-sae.

Under Geum’s baton, Seongnam Philharmonic Orchestra played selections from the soundtracks of films such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.

Sumi Jo performs during the K-Culture Night at the Busan Cinema Center Wednesday night. [YONHAP]
Sumi Jo performs during the K-Culture Night at the Busan Cinema Center Wednesday night. [YONHAP]

As the last performer of Part 1 of the concert, Grammy Award-winning soprano Jo started her performance with “Je Veux Vivre” from “Romeo and Juliet.”

Jo’s last song was “We Will Be One,” Busan’s official promotional song for its bid to host the world expo in 2030.

“Korea and Busan have the power and passion for hosting World Expo 2030,” Jo said before she left the stage.

Jo is the ambassador for Busan’s bid for World Expo 2030.

The delegation left after Jo’s performance for its next scheduled event, and Part 2 of the concert featured rock band Kardi and rapper Wonstein, both also ambassadors for Busan’s bid.

Boy group iKON ended the finale in a flourish Wednesday night.

The BIE delegation poses for a photo after a hand-printing event ahead of K-Culture Night Wednesday night. [YONHAP]
The BIE delegation poses for a photo after a hand-printing event ahead of K-Culture Night Wednesday night. [YONHAP]

BY SARAH CHEA [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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