On the weekend of July 9 and 10, Wembley’s OVO Arena hosted HallyuPopFest London ‘22. The arena is known for its important location mere meters away from Wembley Stadium, a historically iconic venue that has hosted events such as various Olympics and World Cup finals. This marks the first HallyuPopFest in the UK with the franchise, which has been running since 2018. However this is not the first K-pop event to grace the venue; EnVi has compiled a list to reflect and reminisce on past performances.
Bringing it back to the beginning, the very first K-pop to perform at the venue was BIGBANG in 2012. BIGBANG’s group leader, G-Dragon also performed his own solo shows at the arena in 2017. The tour was called the “Alive Galaxy Tour” and was spaced themed to suit the groups name. G-Dragon’s solo concert included a live band and was so popular that even YouTuber PewDiePie was in attendance.
NCT 127, Monsta X, GOT7
NCT 127 performed at the arena in one of their four European concerts, also completing stops in Russia and Paris. The performance from the nine member group under SM Entertainment included the use of climbing frames that they used in performances of songs “Baby Don’t Like It” and “Wake Up.” Highlights of the show included the groups dance track “Replay (PM 01:27)” when both artists and crowd alike jumped around waving their NCT lightsticks and “Mad City,” a duo rap performance from Mark and Taeyong, a song they had performed together pre-debut.
MONSTA X are no strangers to London. The group performed at the Eventim Apollo for their “The Connect” tour, where they overran their concert time and had to be asked to leave the stage by venue crew and Wembley arena itself for K-pop Knight in 2018. In 2019, the seven member group came to London for their “We Are Here Tour” during their third world tour. The members took the opportunity to show off some personal skills with Jooheon performing on the drums and Hyungwon DJing.
Completing the trio, GOT7 came to the venue for their only UK show to date as a part of their “Keep Spinning” tour in October 2019. The show included a duo dance performance from Jinyoung and Yugyeom and audience favorites “Just Right” and “Hard Carry.” In 2022, Yugyeom returned to the city for his solo concert “London, Got Yugyeom,” where he performed at Heaven. Not only did he perform solo tracks such as “Take You Down” and “All Your Fault” but he also treated the fans to a solo version of “Hard Carry.”
K-pop boy groups were not the only ones shining in 2019, as BLACKPINK performed at Wembley Arena the same year. The group set the arena alight with pink flames during their “BLACKPINK In Your Area Tour” in partnership with car company KIA. The group also added an extra stop to the tour and performed in Manchester, adjusting their DDU-DU DDU-DU choreography to respect the victims of the bombing attack that had happened at the arena two years prior.
The quartet had been the only K-pop girl group to perform in the venue until HallyuPopFest when EVERGLOW, Weeekly, and Kep1er took the stage, marking Kep1ler’s first international performance and EVERGLOW and Weeekly’s first time in the country. Hwasa from MAMAMOO also performed, making her the first female K-pop solo artist to take on the venue.
Most recently, the arena has been a host to The Boyz and ATEEZ, with both boy groups stopping off as a part of their European Tours. The Boyz, an 11 member group under IST Entertainment, greeted their London fans on the 20th June. It was their first stop on The B-Zone In Europe tour. The group had just completed “The B-Zone In USA” tour, of which the last two stops were postponed, due to members Juyeon, Kevin, and Q testing positive for Covid-19. Luckily this did not prevent them from coming on stage in London. However, Q did have to take a break from performing and sit down during the end of the show.
ATEEZ, the eight member group under KQ entertainment stopped by in the city as part of their “The Fellowship: Beginning Of The End European Tour.” They performed a long-awaited two nights at the arena on the April 31 and May 1, making ATEEZ the first K-pop group to perform in the venue since the beginning of the pandemic. Performances included “Take Me Home” with its mystical mirror choreography and “ROCKY” which allowed the group to transform into boxers. On Saturday there was a skilful football display from Jongho as the group discussed the teams they supported and on Sunday a display of Harry Potter magic from Yunho who was able to turn on the arena lights with just a wave of a magic wand.
[📷] TODAY ATEEZ— ATEEZ(에이티즈) (@ATEEZofficial) May 2, 2022
THE FELLOWSHIP : BEGINNING OF THE END IN London DAY 2🍀
둘째 날 London 공연에서도 열정적인 응원을 해준 에이티니 너무 고맙고 사랑해요💓
다음 파리 공연에서도 에이티니에게 잊지 못할 추억을 선물할게요🎁
⠀#TODAY_ATEEZ #ATEEZ #에이티즈 pic.twitter.com/wicSDe8wWV
With HallyuPopFest bringing so many new artists to the arena and many of them promising to return to London, fans shall be awaiting future tour announcement dates with eagerness, as they wonder who will be the first to arrive back to the stage.
Interested in HallyuPopFest London? Read our coverage about the event here!
Thumbnail courtesy of Xana.