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World Club Dome Korea falls flat : Despite a stellar international DJ lineup, organizers delivered a deeply disappointing show

Sept 26,2017
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The World Club Dome Korea 2017 wrapped up its three-day event over the weekend. Despite the star-studded lineup, which included top DJs like Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, and Martin Garrix, the festival has left some disappointed over its poor management skills.[MPC PARTNERS]
The World Club Dome Korea 2017 excited music lovers over the weekend with its stunning lineup, but it may not have been enough to make them want to return next year.

The World Club Dome (WCD) is an annual electronic dance music (EDM) event that kicked off in Germany four years ago under the slogan “The Biggest Club in the World.” Hosted by the German radio station Big City Beats, it has attracted some 150,000 festivalgoers each year, according to the Korean Tourism Organization.

Aiming for a similar economic boost, Korea opened WCD’s first-ever Asian event on Friday in Munhak Sports Complex in Incheon. Around 150 DJs from around the world performed during the three-day event. A few of the most anticipated DJs were Afrojack, Kygo, Armin van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, and Martin Garrix. Ha:tfelt, a former member of now disbanded female act Wonder Girls, also performed at the opening and closing stages of the festival.

WCD Korea mostly took place around three stages - the main stage, climbing stage and hardstyle stage - with a few smaller stages set between these to entertain the audience nonstop.

The audience was scattered throughout the complex and started gathering at the main stage as night fell, with some of them fervently screaming and jumping as DJs played their sets. But the music was not enough to calm some angry festivalgoers, who were not satisfied with how WCD Korea organizers ran the festival.

For one thing, headliner DJ Snake was suddenly excluded from the lineup less than a week before the start of the event, which led some people on Facebook to say that the French DJ was initially included in the lineup simply to sell more tickets.

Things did not get any better when it began, as the event was not fully ready to kick off on its first day, forcing people to wait over half an hour to enter.

Pushing the performance schedule of Kygo up at the last minute was another factor that angered festivalgoers on Friday, as some had planned to arrive at the site in accordance with the DJ’s schedule and subsequently missed it.

“Went to day 1. Disappointed… Read if you are going for day 2 or 3. I would just cancel my ticket if I were you,” wrote a festivalgoer on WCD Korea’s official Facebook page.

The festival’s after-party location was another problem. Ticket buyers were informed they would be able to enjoy an afterparty at two “club stages” throughout the night, which many believed would be the big stages at the complex.

But the “club stages” turned out to have been located inside a wedding hall next to the complex that was not big enough to accommodate all the people who wished to enjoy the music throughout the night.

“The festival organizers slyly turned away from the responsibility they should hold about what they had initially informed the audience,” a 25-year-old EDM lover surnamed Kim told this reporter at the festival.

Kim, a frequent visitor of EDM festivals, said, “Seeing the lineup, I initially expected WCD Korea to be even better than UMF [Ultra Music Festival] Korea. But the organizers’ poor and irresponsible management skills greatly disappointed me. If they continue to manage the festival like this, I don’t think there will be another WCD in Korea next year.”

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]