This year, the ranking of financial investment in Seogwipo’s cultural tourism events has changed. As a result, the Seogwipo Chilsimni Festival, which had established itself as a representative cultural tourism festival in the region, was pushed to the lower ranks.
It is characteristic that K-pop concerts are not simply public performance events but are placed as a core business of local cultural and art events.
On the 7th, Seogwipo City finalized and announced this year’s business plan for culture, tourism, and sports, with the goal of ‘realizing a universal cultural life that enriches everyday life.’ As a result, the total investment amount was KRW 81.1 billion, up about 20% from last year.
This year, Seogwipo City’s cultural and artistic projects focus on expanding opportunities for cultural enjoyment to citizens this year to recover the daily lives of citizens who have been shrunk due to the prolonged COVID-19. Furthermore, projects to create a ‘Culture City in Seogwipo City,’ which has entered its fourth year, are also promoted.
Through this, he explained that he plans to realize a universal cultural life so that no one in the region is alienated from the opportunity to enjoy the culture.
Major festivals and events in the field of culture, tourism, and sports that Seogwipo City will promote this year. (Reconstruction of data from Seogwipo City) What is unusual is the budget to support festivals and events in the field of culture and tourism that is being promoted this year.
Among the 25 significant events, the largest budget was allocated to the K-pop concert scheduled to be held in October, with a budget of 1 billion won. This scale far exceeds the Seogwipo Chilsimni Festival (632 million won) and the Seogwipo Canola Flower Festival (261.5 million won) as single events.
In the case of general cultural and art events, the 8th Seogwipo Opera Festival, held for two months from July to August at the Seogwipo Arts Center, is a relatively significant investment at 290 million won. On the other hand, in the case of national performances held throughout the year, the total project cost is 250 million won.
The total budget for operating 110 small-scale performances, exhibitions, and educational programs is about 5.7 billion won. Considering this, the budget for a K-pop concert is not insignificant for a local cultural and artistic event.
Seogwipo City is promoting this event by setting it as the ‘Seogwipo K-Pop Culture Festival,’ one of the cultural tourism festivals.
At a press conference on the 100th day of his inauguration in December last year, Seogwipo Mayor Lee Jong-woo revealed his plan to discover festival items with the theme of K-pop and develop it into a representative cultural tourism festival in Seogwipo. Regarding the K-pop event, Mayor Lee said, “It is a business that I want to succeed with a focus on.”
Perhaps because of Mayor Lee’s strong will to promote it, various questions about the event were raised during the provincial council’s budget deliberation at the end of last year.
The problem is that the purpose and method of this event still need to be clarified, and there is a lot of room for controversy.
All that is known about the project is that it will hold a K-pop concert featuring top Korean singers between October and November. Furthermore, it is said that Jeju Island went through a local financial investment review prior to organizing this project in the budget. Still, the reality of the project needs to be presented.
Regarding the promotion method, it is only revealed that it will be carried out through private investment. Therefore, it is an ‘open business’ carried out through private investment. However, some have raised suspicions that it was planned with a specific private organization in mind.
Controversy continues over business purposes.
The city of Seogwipo also said it was intended to provide opportunities for cultural enjoyment to Seogwipo citizens who have difficulty seeing K-pop performances. Is being raised
This is because it is being held as a ‘paid event’ while injecting public funds. Instead, it is explained as a simple local event that needs to understand K-pop performances’ characteristics properly.
In the case of paid events for top singers in Korea, the price of performance tickets is inevitably set high. Considering it is not easy to book tickets, the purpose of ‘providing cultural enjoyment opportunities’ needs to be revised.
Even so, the Seogwipo City briefing on the 9th continued with the inertia of presenting the purpose of the K-pop performance as “to satisfy the citizens’ desire for large-scale concerts that have been difficult to meet in the region due to geographical limitations…”.
Despite this, opinions are emerging from the provincial council that hosting K-pop events as private rather than directly hosted by Seogwipo City is desirable.
During the budget review last month, Yang Kyung-ho, the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts Committee, also pointed out this. Chairman Yang pointed out, “If you charge a fee for admission while investing 1 billion won in taxpayers’ money, it is better to attract private (company) events.” Rep. Jeong Min-gu raised the issue of the infusion of substantial public funds into K-pop events where finances for local culture and arts support projects are complex.
However, Seogwipo City is showing a strong obsession with K-pop events. An official from Seogwipo City said, “This event was planned based on the policy of Mayor Jong-Woo Lee, and it has already passed the local financial investment review as it was considered free of problems.”
He said that it would be better to turn it into a private event rather than a direct investment in Seogwipo City, “Other regions also do it (directly organized).” “he emphasized.
When asked if the purpose of providing cultural enjoyment opportunities to Seogwipo citizens could be tarnished due to the price burden and difficulty in booking tickets, he waited to answer the question.
When asked if the outlet presented as a representative cultural and artistic event promoted this year with a larger budget than the Seogwipo Chilsimni Festival was appropriate, he said, “We need to think about the diversity of performances.”