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BLACKPINK: first Korean group to headline a major UK festival

Photo courtesy of The Outside Organisation and American Express

Yesterday at BST Hyde Park, we were treated to an incredible feast of music headlined by K-pop group BLACKPINK, marking their first-ever UK major festival show. The South Korean four-piece, known for being the most-subscribed-to music artists on YouTube, took over the Great Oak Stage with a special one-off show from around 9PM.

BLACKPINK's performance was a hit, with the group showcasing 17 of their biggest tracks and three outfit changes. They started the show in sleek white outfits against a hot pink background, opening with 'Pink Venom' and performing a mix of K-pop favorites like 'Kick It,' 'Pretty Savage,' 'How You Like That,' 'Shut Down,' and even their first-ever single, 'Whistle.' The girls engaged with the audience, moving between the main stage and a second platform, which only increased the excitement and nearly deafening screams from the crowd.

The show also featured a 'solo' section where each member of BLACKPINK took the lead on vocals for their favorite tracks. Jennie performed 'You & Me,' Jisoo chose 'Flower,' Rosé sang 'Gone' and 'On The Ground,' and Lisa showcased 'Money.' The solo performances were complemented by carefully crafted routines featuring male and female dancers.

Photo by Timothy Holm, 2 July 2023

In the final part of their performance, BLACKPINK appeared in all-black outfits and delivered electrifying performances of songs like 'Boombayah,' 'Lovesick Girls,' 'Playing With Fire,' and concluded with 'Tally', 'Forever Young', and 'Ddu-du Ddu-du.' Rosé expressed their honour to perform at Hyde Park and called it a dream come true.

The event also featured other talented artists. American singer Sabrina Carpenter dazzled the crowd with her set and proclaimed that she is a 'Blink' (a devoted Blackpink fan), but more interesting for this writer was the South Korean indie rock band, The Rose, who performed tracks like 'Time,' 'Yes,' 'Beauty and the Beast,' and their yet unannounced new track. Comprised of members Woosung (vocals and guitarist), Dojoon (keyboard), Lee Hajoon (drums), and Jaehyeong (bass), the band has garnered a dedicated fanbase both in Korea and internationally.

While this author is not particularly a big fan of K-pop in general, I can't deny getting swept up in the excitement and energetic atmosphere of the day's festivities. One of the remarkable aspects of BLACKPINK's appeal is their ability to attract a diverse fanbase. At the American Express presents BST Hyde Park 2023, the audience consisted of people from all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. BLACKPINK's music and performances have a universal appeal that transcends language barriers, bringing together fans from all over the world. Their popularity extends far beyond their home country of South Korea, as was clear to see last night.

Special thanks to Outside for providing guest tickets.

-Timothy Holm,


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