Social Distancing Sparks New Entertainment Fads

  • By Yoon Soo-jung

    April 28, 2020 12:45

    The outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Korea marks its 100th day on Tuesday. At present, the only way to prevent infection is by social distancing until there is a vaccine or cure.

    This has resulted in new entertainment and leisure trends like drive-in concerts, balcony performances and online "travel."

    The Yongin Cultural Foundation hosted a drive-in concert last Saturday, and tickets sold out within 10 minutes. The park where the concert was held can accommodate 400 cars, but only 250 were admitted to ensure a safe distance between them. People were told not to leave their cars and enjoyed the performance on a large screen and speakers.

    Both K-pop and classical performers are embracing the trend. K-pop talent stable SM Entertainment held a pay-per-view online concert on Sunday that was streamed by around 75,000 people in 109 countries. Classical pianist Cho Seong-jin drew 48,000 viewers with an online recital live-streamed on Deutsche Grammophon's YouTube channel as part of the German label's "Moment Musical" series of professional live streams and delayed relays of concerts. 

    Expedia, Airbnb and other travel industry players are reduced to online products which enable users to experience foreign cultural programs using a video platform. Some examples are a cooking class by a Moroccan family and a meditation program on an English sheep farm.

    Here, the Seoul city government is offering an online travel program that consists of virtual tours of place of interest in the capital.

    Experts say the new trends will have a continued influence even after the epidemic ends. Koo Jeong-woo at Sungkyunkwan University said, "Leisure and entertainment are an essential part of our lifestyle, so when there is a change in the way people enjoy them, it tends to become more than a temporary phenomenon."

    But others doubt it. A staffer at online retailer 11st said, "Sales of do-it-yourself products surged 50 percent in March, when the social distancing trend started in earnest, but outdoor equipment sales started to rise in April, which suggests that consumers are getting tired of doing things at home."

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