BTS have canceled a string of concerts planned in South Korea, the group’s management company Big Hit Entertainment announced in a statement on Thursday, due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. The April shows, originally scheduled for the 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th at Seoul Olympic Stadium were to be the South Korean group’s homecoming Map of the Soul shows.
“Plans for ‘MAP OF THE SOUL TOUR – SEOUL’ included the involvement of a number of global production companies and a large group of expert international crew, with over 200,000 concertgoers expected to attend,” Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement to Rolling Stone translated into English. “However, the current global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has made it impossible at this time to predict the scale of the outbreak during the dates of the concert[s] in April, alongside increasing uncertainty about the cross-border movement of concert staff and equipment.
“While we hope that the situation will improve, we must take into consideration the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of guests as well as our artists and the dire impact a last-minute cancellation may have on guests from overseas, production companies and staff,” the statement continued. “We have thus determined that with approximately one month left before the Seoul concert is set to begin, it is unavoidable that the concert must be cancelled without further delay.”
The shows were supposed to serve as the kickoff for the band’s world tour in support of their newly released Map of the Soul: 7 album. Several other artists have postponed or completely canceled Asian tour plans due to coronavirus fears. Earlier in the month, Stormzy postponed five shows scheduled for the region in March. Coronavirus concerns also spurred the Boston Symphony Orchestra to cancel their 2020 tour of Asia.
However, the coronavirus outbreak has had a much larger impact on top Asian acts, who have nixed shows in China, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao. Among the artists to cancel shows are major K-pop acts including Taeyeon, Winner, NCT, and GOT7, as well as Cantopop superstar Andy Lau.
In the U.S., organizers of the Korean Times Music Festival held annually in Southern California announced on Tuesday that they would postpone their April event.
“Please understand that this decision was made after extensive and careful consideration in order to cooperate with the government’s measures on restricting public events as well as municipal advisories on the use of cultural and sports facilities,” Big Hit Entertainment added in their statement. Tickets will be refunded through Interpark, the official ticket agent. “We would like to sincerely apologize for issuing this notice of cancellation to all of our fans who had been eagerly looking forward to the BTS MAP OF THE SOUL TOUR – SEOUL Concert, and we ask for your understanding. Thank you.”