Originally to have occurred on November 8th, SBS Inkigayo in Shenzhen was suddenly cancelled four days prior to the concert. The SBS television network gave the reason that “local event organizers were inadequately prepared”, while Chinese organizers have said that they did not know why the concert was cancelled.
According to investigation done by local media, concert preparations had lasted for three months. Early negotiations started in July, and the contract was signed in September. It is reported that Chinese organizers and SBS did not fully close off the contract, but instead negotiations were handled by a Korean arts and entertainment company called ARTSRO.
An official representing the Chinese event organizers told local media that they could not communicate directly with SBS, and could only sign the contract with the event agency ARTSRO. Likewise, ARTSRO only signed contracts with SBS. Whenever problems occurred during planning, they were forced to communicate only through the event planning agency. If there were communication delays from the agent, then all their work being done for the concert were delayed.
SBS’s reason for cancellation was that “local event organizers were inadequately prepared”, but the Chinese representative denied that there were problems. They were fully prepared for the concert, with all required items carefully checked off. Whether it was publicity, stage construction, staff visas, or corporate communications for SBS, all matters were reported to the event agency very early in the planning process. In turn, the event agency ARTSRO would take a very long time in replying to the Chinese organizers. The longest period without any feedback was one week, and even when they did receive a reply it would take three or four more tries before changes could be made. Event planning had been so last minute, the ARTSRO agency was still making demands on November 2nd, when they requested for more Korean staff members. But because work visas cannot be obtained within a week, the Chinese representatives could only try and make due with their current staff.
Korean media reported that one of the main cancellation reasons was because that there was a delay from Chinese organizers in paying the artist appearance fees, but according local media, Chinese organizers were able to show money order receipts that they had paid ARTSRO on time.
After the concert cancellation was announced, many fans pointed out that ticket sales were not satisfactory, and it could be that Korean companies cancelled the concert in fear of a financial loss. Chinese organizers denied this and said that as long as most tickets were sold, as well as there being seats for corporate sponsors, advertisement sponsors, and there were altogether at least 40,000 people in the audience, the concert would have proceeded as usual. Chinese organizers have also said that they had plans to provide supplies, posters, and light sticks for the event, so the stadium would not look empty during the show broadcast. The representative further explained that if there were to be a financial loss, the loss would have been the full responsibility of the Chinese organizers. Korean companies would assume no responsibility and no relation over the loss.
For the many overseas fans who were planning to fly into Shenzhen for the concert, it would not matter which side was responsible for the concert cancellation. Vacation time, hotels, and flights were booked many weeks in advance for the concert. Although the ticket fees could be refunded, but travel and accommodation expenses cannot be returned.
Hopefully Chinese and Korean event organizers will soon give fans a full explanation as to why the concert was cancelled.