Expats – at least those fresh off the boat – often bemoan the difficulty of buying concert tickets here.

With the likes of Oasis, Jamiroquai, Maroon 5 (and Weezer!) starting to show their faces Seoul-side, it’s high time we all learnt how to get past our language problems.

As Muse, Kasabian and Nine Inch Nails know, interest in Western music is at an all time high in Korea, which means the need to get tickets early is almost as pressing as it is in the rush for those magic Seo TaeGi or Drunken Tiger passes.

If you live in Seoul, ticket-buying’s not too difficult if you know where to go. Bandi and Luni’s bookstore (in Gangnam and Bundang) or Kyobo bookstore (in Gangnam, Bucheon and Jogno) are good places to start, with each branch selling tickets for a selection of events and usually able to provide service in decent English.

In other cities it’s also common for major bookstores to stock tickets (Kyobo in Daegu, for example), though tickets for events elsewhere are rarely held.

Alternatively, turning up at the venue with a calendar and the name of the artist spelled out in Korean has worked for me in the past, too. It’s worth noting that a lot of bigger events have an early bird price if you buy a few months in advance, which will usually save you 5,000 to 10,000 won.

For those living a long way from the venue, online ticketing is the way to go. Some good places to start are ticket.interpark.com or ticket.auction.co.kr.

If you don’t have substantial Korean skills, you’ll need to rope in a friend to guide you through the online booking steps. If you’re lucky, they might lend you the use of their credit card – in exchange for the cash, of course – to get your reservation through. But if not, most companies accept payment via the easy to use English language bank transfer options available on most Korean ATMs. You’ll probably need to take the supplier’s account details to a branch of your own bank to make the transfer, though some banks allow transfers from cards connected with other banks. You’ll also need a Korean address to have the tickets sent to; most employers will allow you to use their details if you have any doubt.

It’s worth noting that the booking isn’t always confirmed when you complete the online process. Confirmation can involve a follow up phone call from the company you purchased from, or in some cases ticket purchase is confirmed when the bank transfer is received.

Check the policies carefully. The sites can also prove troublesome when it comes to registering: Alien registration numbers are required, and we’ve found they’ve been accepted or declined at different times and on different sites, with various levels of success.

The phone options have no such requirements, so if it’s proving too difficult, InterPark English ticket reservations can be contacted on 02-1544-1555 (press #2 for English).

With so many concerts cancelled in Korea, there might well be times when you need to return your tickets, too. Summer Breeze Festival (featuring The Prodigy), Flower Power Peace Festival and 50 Cent’s Korean date were all announced last year, but never took place.

It’s always worth keeping a close eye on official websites to check the status of any concert right up to the day before you head off. If the worst does happen, those who paid by bank transfer should wait a week or two before getting in touch, as refunds are often automatic. If you bought your tickets in another way, get back in touch with the point of sale as soon as you can. The promoters are legally required to refund your ticket money, though you’ll probably lose out on any booking fees.

As published in the Korea Herald, 15th December 2009. Click here to view original


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