By Marie Starr

On Wednesday 20th of July, the 3rd annual Myanmar K-pop cover festival took place in Myanmar Plaza. Drawing crowds of hundreds of screaming fans, they lit up the mall and kept audience and shoppers nodding to the catchy beats all afternoon.

Sixteen acts performed in total- 7 vocal and 9 dancing acts-all presenting their own rendition of a song or dance by their favourite K-pop act. Last year’s winning vocal act Hnin Zi May entertained the audience during the interval.

One particularly popular act, Be Boom, took to the stage just before the break. They are a group of 7 girls, dressed as Korean boyband BTS sporting wigs of varying rainbow colours and sunglasses that were flung to the wings of the stage at various points of the act.

“We have been a dancing group since 2012,” says BeBoom performer Moe San Pann, “but this is our first time entering in this competition.”

There are reportedly many K-pop festivals in Myanmar each year but this one, organized by the Korean embassy, is the only festival of a competitive nature. It is held with a view to encouraging cultural exchange between the two countries and has grown in size and standard of competition since the first competition held in 2014.

Yoon Mi and So Hee, both 18 years old, sing and dance together as an act named Holler. They stride around boldly atop teetering high heels and glamorous black jackets raising their hands to encourage the crowd to join in.

yoon mi and soe hae kpop
Yoon Mi (left) and Soe Hee (right) known collectively as ‘Holler’ after their performance

“We’ve been interested in K-pop since we were young and began practicing performances together a year ago. This act came together just three weeks ago,” says Yoon Mi.

First place for dance performance went to Team XO1, a five-member act who wowed the judges with their impressive moves and flawless coordination. Honey Htun Wai was awarded first place in the vocal section of the competition. Other titles are also awarded to the performers such as Best Outfit Design the prize for which was presented by a local clothes designer.

The performers were given trophies awarded by representatives of the embassy of the Republic of Korea. The performers hope to go further with their success with a chance to enter in the World K-pop Cover Festival finals that will be held in Seoul later this year.


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