The UN’s venerable culture agency caught the K-Pop fever late Tuesday as Korean boy band Seventeen turned a conference room into a bopping dance fest.
With the stated aim of defending both the environment and education, the 13-member group sparked shouting and screaming among its mostly female audience.
“The vibe was crazy, it was very cool,” said a spokesman at UNESCO, not usually known for such relaxed language.
UNESCO’s YouTube channel clocked up 145,000 visitors during the live-streamed gig, an all-time record for the agency. Some 57,000 messages were posted live.
The 500 tickets for the concert, part of UNESCO’s two-day Youth Forum event, were sold out in a flash, with many fans managing to book online before the link was even officially active, the spokesman said. Many stood in line in the pouring rain for hours hoping for a spot.
Seventeen, founded in 2015, is one of K-Pop’s most successful acts, having sold 15 million album copies this year alone.
The group’s lyrics are neither political nor controversial, offering what the performers called “a positive message” in response to the world’s problems.
“I, along with the other members of the group, would like to take this time to share with all the young people of the world the importance of nature, the value of striving for a better future, the importance of education, and our personal stories of how we have grown closer to our dreams, one step at a time,” band member Seungkwan told the audience ahead of the concert.
His band mate Mingyu said that, with their first earnings, Seventeen’s members had bought 13 goats which they gifted to children in Tanzania.
Band member Joshua added that the group last year had begun collecting donations to help build a school in Malawi.
Siam, a 24-year-old fan, told AFP she had enjoyed the gig, including the band’s messages that she called “impactful and engaging”. (AFP)