Guerrilla gigs and concerts have long met their demise in the American music scene. However, K-pop seems to have seized upon this marketing and promotional tool with gusto. The most notable example is the upstart girl-group Crayon Pop. Hitting the streets from South Korea to Japan early on, the girl group rose rapidly to global stardom, with their unique brand of K-pop. Crayon Pop has now signed with Sony Music Entertainment for global promotions/distribution, and subsequently commenced on a series of guerrilla concerts beginning with Australia.

When asked why Australia? Way, one of the girls, weighed in. “There was no specific reason. We just want to introduce ourselves to people in Australia. We plan to travel around the world. We will hold guerrilla concerts in various places in the world. Through this, we can communicate with various people. And that’s why we chose to come to Australia for our promotion tour.” The Aussie spring afternoon, in November, saw more than 300 fans gather on the steps of the Sidney Opera House for a rare chance to see a K-pop mega-star really close-up. Guerrilla concerts work well for Crayon Pop, largely because as a group they are uniquely approachable, fun and quirky.

Quite unlike street performing or busking, which is common in large cities like New York, the goal of a guerrilla concert is not to seek gratuity such as money. Guerrilla concerts are purely promotional, by creating awareness and facilitating media activities. The concept has been said to originate in England, and was common among rockers. Many were performed on rooftops and other public places attracting the attention of passersby and the police alike, and so usually ended up getting shutdown. The most famous guerrilla concert to date is a U2 concert held on a roof of an Los Angeles building, and was used to shoot the music video of their song “Where the Streets Have No Name”.

Special Thanks to Johnny Au of the AU Review/Hello Asia for letting us use his videos, providing us the Crayon Pop quote and other relevant details.

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