This month clothing brand Community54 and event organizer TGM Entertainment teamed up to put on Highlight 2015, an event described as “a night of music and fashion.” The tour brought on K-pop boy group BTS to serve as brand ambassadors and performers, traveling to 4 cities across North America. In order to attend the show, fans must purchase a Highlight 2015 shirt as a ticket to gain entry. On top of that, Highlight offered various fan engagements such as hi-touch, autograph signing and photo opps for additional separate charges.
Fans have been concerned about the legitimacy of the tour since its announcement due to lack of information. Though the tour was first announced in May, little information regarding the event such as venues, show times and event schedules were announced until as late as the day before each show. Only two weeks prior to the tour kick off, BTS released an official video announcing their participation, which alleviated some unease. Although the video announcement proved the event’s validity, some fans continued to feel apprehensive and suspect that event preparations were coordinated last minute, explaining the late announcements. Moreover, many fans who chose to refund their tickets have expressed that they have not received correspondence regarding the refund, while many other fans are still waiting for their refunds from TGM’s previous events.
Highlight 2015 took place over the course of this past week and fans took to social media to share their disappointing and upsetting tour experiences. Check out any hashtags regarding the tour and you’ll find that many attendees have expressed that this may arguably be the worst K-pop event that has ever taken place in North America. From sudden event schedule changes to fan and artist mistreatment, APA compiles a list of some “highlights” from Highlight 2015. Thanks to Lisa and the fans who shared their experiences with us!
Most events hold ticket/wristband pickups at the venue’s willcall. However, wristband pickups took place at a conference room at the Holiday Inn, starting at 10AM and was described as “a mess.”
Initially, it was believed that the show was free seating by section, VIP in front and GA behind. However, TGM announced days before the show that the event had changed to assigned seating due to venue request and promised to send out all seating assignments via e-mail by Sunday. Many fans questioned TGM about their seat assignment e-mails, but it appears as if nobody received any e-mails.
Some seats were double booked. One Indiegogo donor was originally assigned a front row seat, but her double booked seat had staff sending her to sit in the back.
Mid-way through letting fans enter the venue, the event suddenly became free seating. It is believed this was done to get attendees into the venue faster. GA attendees were able to sit anywhere, even in previously assigned VIP seating. Venue staff wouldn’t make GA ticket holders leave VIP seating because TGM told them the show was entirely general admission now.
Not everyone got the Community54 shirt they paid as entry to the show. Shirts were supposed to be placed on the seats, but not all seats had shirts.
VIPs and Group Photo ticket holders had to exit the venue and wait outside in the cold for over an hour for hi-touch and group photo, while GA went first.
All GA ticket holders got to do hi-touch, even though it originally was a perk only for $70 GA.
Although no official announcement was made on the number of people in each group photo, it has been stated that fans heard it would be 8 fans per photo. However, the number changed to 10, 15 and eventually 25 people per group photo. Artists are usually standing in the back of group photos, but BTS was made to sit/kneel on the floor.
- TGM issued an apology to SF attendees after the show.
i would look this annoyed too if i had to sit on a dirty ass floor bc the poor management cant provide chairs pic.twitter.com/yln2bTypv3
— susu (@taehyunq) September 23, 2015
- Like SF, the show ran shorter than scheduled.
- Attendees expressed that the show was all-standing and that attendees were packed into the venue. It led to one fan having a panic attack.
- The provided Houston poster for autograph signing was smaller than San Francisco’s.
- The staff ran out of posters. Despite stating in the TGM FAQ that the only items to be signed were official event posters, they handed out white sheets of paper to be signed.
- Photo opp was reduced to 21 people, but still was described as too crowded.
— 🖤 Lucy 🖤 (@hanbin_mouse) September 25, 2015
- Like the previous shows, the show ran shorter than scheduled and a BTS member mentioned he was not aware why their performance set was so short
- The event oversold tickets and apparently TGM knew they oversold since July. About 100 attendees were forced to leave the venue and could not watch the show. Slips of paper were distributed to fans kicked out of the show. Fans suspect that TGM was well-aware of their overselling and prepared the slip in advance.
- However, there were empty seats in the venue after staff said the venue was oversold.
- Those fans were promised a hi-touch and free photo opp, so they waited in the rain. It turns out BTS was not informed of TGM’s promise and left the venue after the show. TGM admitted to unilaterally promising fans BTS engagements as compensation without consulting with BTS’ management.
- TGM founder Nadia made a statement after the show.
- TGM issued an apology to Atlanta attendees.
- Check-in was supposed to start at 10AM but fans waited around for 4 hours until check-in actually began at 2PM. No one is sure what exactly caused the delay.
- Venue staff was not even aware who was running the event and why they weren’t there. It currently cannot be confirmed whether TGM was present at the venue.
- Apparently TGM staff were not at the venue for check-in and did not appear to faciliate the entire event. It is believed that venue staff and fans organized the check-in and carried out the event smoothly.
- Fans seem to be pleased with how the show went without TGM running it.
- There has been no response from TGM on the Toronto show as of 8:30PM PT.
#HighlightInToronto is going as planned! Thank God TGM didn’t show up. I’m so happy it went better tonight for ARMYS who attended👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— 73vNN 7vGR!O (@msxigot7hi) September 28, 2015