While COVID-19 put a halt to quite a few artists’ plans, it has also encouraged a surge of new fans, resulting in more and more international promotions. The MIK (Made In Korea) Festival is the third K-Pop festival to reach Europe – after Kpop.flex and Hallyupop Festival – with a two-day lineup. Taking place on July 30 and 31, the event shook Europe with excitement as news of some of the biggest K-Pop and K-hip-hop names would be gracing the stage at Southwark Park in London.
K-Pop Day kicked off the festival and saw a notable amount of people gathering. Although girl group BILLLIE, unfortunately, had to cancel their opening slot due to members Suhyeon and Siyoon testing positive for COVID-19, the beloved Holland took the stage as the first performer. With his iconic, recently-dyed bright red hair that captured everyone’s attention, the soloist performed “I’m So Afraid,” “Neverland,” and “I’m Not Afraid.” Known as an LGBT icon and for his bright personality, he ended his set by leaving the stage, taking a rainbow pride flag from a fan, and exclaiming, “I’m fucking gay!” During the break after his set, the singer left the waiting area to interact with fans, take photos, and receive hugs and gifts. Holland was also present during Hip-Hop Day, sporting a black bucket hat so as to not draw attention so he could enjoy the day as an attendee.
Cherry Bullet brought the perfect summer-y, bubbly atmosphere with “Q&A,” “Really Really,” and “Aloha Oe,” amongst others. Wearing beautiful flowy dresses, the seven members executed flawless choreography before taking a photo with fans while holding up the group’s signature gun hand sign. Since MIK was their first-ever British show, the girls hoped to see more of London and Europe in the future.
Following was Golden Child’s turn to step out onto the stage, and they did not disappoint the fans who had been eagerly waiting. Clad like royalty in white and gold, the members left their all on the stage. Performances of songs such as “Wannabe,” “Without You,” “Burn it,” and “DamDaDi” were followed by a collaborative performance of the group and the audience. With a rendition of happy birthday, Y and Joochan got to start celebrations a day early with the help of fans.
Next, London was graced by another iconic soloist, CHUNG HA, who literally blew the crowd away. Her presence inspired an eruption of cheers as she performed hit after hit. “Snapping” was followed by her recent comeback “Sparkling” and others from the Bare&Rare, Pt.1 album such as “California Dream.” To her fans’ delight, she brought “Roller Coaster” and “Gotta Go” to life followed by an exclusive premiere performance of “Don’t Believe In Love” that is to be included on Bare&Rare, Pt.2.
Next up were the girls of VIVIZ, Eunha, SinB, and Umji, all former members of the legendary group GFRIEND. To an audience full of fans waving encouraging banners, the trio performed songs to “cool down” – “Loveade” and “Lemonade.” After introductions and two more songs – “Love You Like” and “Red Sun!” – the three gave a nod to GFRIEND by performing “Time For The Moon Night.” While attempting to take a photo with the crowd, the VIVIZ girls happened to be attacked by a bee on stage resulting in possibly the cutest interlude that highlighted their personalities as they sprinted away from the bee. Finishing off the set with “Love Love Love” and “BOP BOP!” they got the crowd pumped for the next three performers.
With their incredibly energetic set, the six currently active members of PENTAGON had the crowd wrapped around their fingers. Performing songs such as “The Game,” “Feelin’ Like,” “Do Or Not,“ and “Sparkling Night,” the boys showcased their various talents by singing, rapping, and dancing together with fans. They took their time to interact with the audience, expressing how much they had enjoyed the festival. Their lovely stay in the city was also well-documented on the members’ individual Instagram pages. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights from their set was the last song “Shine,” which had everyone jumping along, trying to copy the iconic moves.
Rounding out an incredible lineup, EXO member Suho took the stage. As one of the only artists at the festival with a live band to back him up, Suho delivered a one-of-a-kind performance. As a nod to the cover of his latest EP Grey Suit, fans held up yellow flowers in support. Rather than the high-energy choreography of the previous sets, Suho focused on his vocals while he glided along the stage. Singing “Morning Star,” “Grey Suit,” “Let’s Love,” “Hurdle,” “O2,” and “Made In You,” he rounded off the performance by performing two covers “Met You By Chance” by Songolmae and “Let It Be” by the Beatles. Fans erupted in cheers when the EXO member left the stage and walked through the front in order to give out high fives and receive gifts like a plush bear.
A fitting closing for the show was Suho’s favorite girl group and labelmates, Red Velvet. Although member Joy was missing from the iconic five-member lineup, Wendy, Irene, Seulgi, and Yeri made sure to give a performance to remember. London ReVeluvs (Red Velvet’s fandom name) heard a mix of well-known and fan favorite songs such as “Feel My Rythm,” “Psycho,” and “Bad Boy (English version).” To bring Joy’s energy to London, the girls taught her recently viral point choreography in “Feel My Rhythm.” Wendy guided fans with, “Left, right, slay slay slay. Left, middle, right, roll, roll.” Afterward, London fans experienced performances of “Peek-A-Boo,” “Bamboleo,” “Carpool,” “You Better Know,” and “Queendom” while Wendy, Irene, Seulgi, and Yeri switched between high-intensity choreography and freely moving along the stage and the runway. A surprise performance of “Red Flavor” closed the night, which was greeted with an eruption of collective cheers during the bop’s first notes. This intense reaction reflects the love that fans have for the iconic girl group. Red Velvet left the stage with promises of their return as soon as possible – and next time they would bring Joy with them.
After the impactful performances of all eight acts, day one of the MIK Festival came to an end, leaving the audience wanting more. Fans in attendance were flowing out of the venue while discussing the day. One thing could be heard on everyone’s lips – it was a day to remember. After years of waiting for a K-Pop festival in the UK due to the global climate, the MIK Festival provided a breath of fresh air with a line-up of top-tier K-Pop artists currently dominating the scene. It is safe to say that day one was a massive success, but even more awaited fans on the second day. Tune in to read our review on the July 31 HipHop Day with headliner Jay Park.