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Trading footballs for Lightsticks at Madrid’s Cívitas Metropolitano Stadium

Updated: May 21

By Rosa Gulliver of TINYGMUSIC | 27th July 2023


TINYg has just returned from what could be described as one of the hottest and most exciting European K-Pop festivals of the summer: K-POP LUX - SBS SUPER CONCERT - Madrid 2023.


A thrilling summer night filled with K-Pop's favourite groups, sweltering heat, screaming fans, music, games, and non-stop fan interactions that lasted over three hours. By the end of it, TINYg's tiny feet were sore. I had walked over 16 miles alone that day. My voice was hoarse. The girl sitting next to me lost hers! Sleep? There was no chance of that. With the excitement of attending the concert and catching a late flight from Portugal to Madrid the night before, topped with the adrenaline rush from the performances, sleep was not a priority. Would I change anything? Only to relive the concert once more.


K-POP LUX Madrid 2023 gave fans a taste of the past, present, and future of K-Pop. The combination of veteran groups like SHINee and rising stars like Xikers demonstrated that the genre is poised to continue to grow and thrive. With amazing performances around every corner, this festival was one for the books.


Shawols ready to see their idols - Photo Credit : Twitter

K-POP LUX Madrid 2023 was a banger, raising the standards bar high following Europe's inaugural K-Pop festivals organised by KPOP Flex in 2022.


Fans Travelled From All Over The World To Attend K-Pop Lux 2023


Fans arriving for the hottest European K-Pop Festival of 2023

On Saturday, July 22, 2023, the impressive Estadio Civitas Metropolitano, located on the outskirts of the Spanish capital, Madrid, and home to the Atletico Madrid football club, was filled with tens of thousands of young and old K-Pop fans (and many more online) for the most anticipated K-Pop festival of the year. The stadium was completely renovated in 2017, boasting a great outdoor area with far-reaching views towards the city of Madrid, good facilities, and convenient public transportation connections.


Venue, Estadio Civitas Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain

The Korean television channel SBS was behind the organisation of the event, and people of all ages came from all corners of the globe just to see their favourite K-Pop groups perform live. The energy was electric. Fans arrived early in the morning to secure a prime spot, immerse themselves in the atmosphere, and make new friendships. They carried banners, sported light sticks, and wore an array of kaleidoscopically coloured outfits.


Photo Credit: K-Pop-Lux

The festival featured some of the most popular K-pop groups, with many performing their latest hits as well as fan favourites.


K-Pop Lux 2023 provided fans with a memorable experience and the opportunity to see their idols in person.


The Lineup of K-Pop Groups at K-Pop Lux 2023


The lineup for K-Pop Lux 2023 was stacked with some of the hottest K-Pop groups around.


As is customary in Korean style, the festival started promptly at 9:00 p.m. Within seconds, the sound levels from the stadium reverberated around the city of Madrid.


As with the first edition of this festival held last year in Frankfurt, Germany, under the name K.FLEX, the artists initiated the event by stepping on to the stage and welcoming their audience.


You could feel the stadium rocking; the wait was finally over. The fans were showing their excitement through increasingly loud shouting, screaming, and cheering.


Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

Before the artist's performances, the emotions and adrenaline of the audience were clearly evident. The stadium was filled with flags from multiple countries, light sticks were lit, and the stand-out banner of the festival read "I'M BROKE, BUT I'M HERE."


Xikers, the 10-member rookie boy group under KQ Entertainment, got the party started, and boy, do they know how to get everyone in the party mood. Within moments, the crowd had reached a fever-pitch of excitement.


Group members Minjae, Junmin, Sumin, Jinsik, Hyunwoo, Hunter, Junghoon, Seeun, Yujun, and Yechanopened their performance with "Rockstar." They then proceeded to perform their debut song "Trickey House," which had the entire audience singing along, Finally, they closed their act with "Xikey."


Xikers - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

Congratulations, too, to all the group members for speaking the most Spanish, and constructing complete sentences with great accents. Maybe KQ Entertainment adds a certain "je ne sais quoi" to the trainees’ water during idol training. Whatever they are doing, please do not change, we are lovin it. Fans were swept away by the group's powerful performance, clapping and cheering for the members as they dazzled with their charisma on stage. These guys were so exceptional and deserve the title of "Super Rookies."


Before STAYC's performance, the audience was treated to video footage of the girls’ time in Madrid. They were seen enjoying the famous Spanish churros and visiting the largest Royal Palace in Europe, which is located in Madrid. STAYC then took to the stage. The talented girl group members, Sieun, Seeun, Sumin, J, Isa, and Yoon, were praised for their captivating vocals and stage presence. With impeccably timed choreography, the group delivered a mesmerising performance that left the audience in awe.


STAYC - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

They performed some of their most beloved hits, such as Teddy Bear,” “RUN2U,” "ASAP," and "POPPY," showcasing their powerful and feminine charms. Their performance throughout was captivating and full of energy. To be honest, I think their fan base has increased after their performance.


STAYC LIGHTSTICK - Photo Credit: Twitter

Next, to entertain us, we had the nine-member boy group, Cravity. They brought their vibrant and youthful energy to the K-Pop Lux stage. Serim, Allen, Jungmo, Woobin, Wonjin, Minhee, N, Taeyoung, and Seongmin interacted with the fans in Spanish, which was well received. They started their setlist with "Groovy," capturing the attention of the crowd. Their choreography was synchronised and their stage presence was commanding. Cravity proved why they are one of the most exciting up-and-coming K-Pop groups around. They followed up with "Baddie," and the fans joined in with the chorus, "Get Lifted." This energised the crowd. To conclude their setlist, they created a moment of unity with "FLY." Cravity delivered an amazing performance.


Cravity - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

ENHYPEN, consisting of Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-ki, made a grand entrance with their song Future Perfect.” This intense and powerful track set the tone for an electrifying performance. With precise movements and captivating vocals, ENHYPEN demonstrated why they are considered one of the most prominent newcomers in the industry. The setlist continued with Tame-Dashed,” and the intensity increased with Sacrifice,” a powerful and emotional song that elevated the performance to new heights.


ENHYPEN - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

The septet interacted with the fans, and we had our first “Super Mission”of the night. Here's Ni-Ki re-enacting a childhood photo as part of his mission.


ENHYPEN's Ni-Ki re-enacting a childhood photo - Photo Credit: Twitter

A highlight of the group's mission was when Heeseung pleasantly surprised the fans by singing the famous song Despacito” along with him, leaving the crowd in awe.


ENHYPEN's Heesung = Photo Credit: Twitter

Bite Me,” the highly anticipated single of the night, kept the excitement at its peak with a performance full of attitude and charisma that captivated everyone in attendance. The song was an instant sensation. Fans couldn't contain their excitement, and the stadium erupted in cheers for the group. They joined in with the chorus, singing each line with enthusiasm, and showed their unwavering support for ENHYPEN.


ENHYPEN - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

The climax of the performance came with Karma,” an energetic and upbeat song that filled the stadium with chants and applause from the fans.


ENHYPEN - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

It was evident that ENHYPEN had poured their heart and soul into each of their performances, leaving a lasting impact on all who witnessed these amazing performances.


ENGENE BONG - OFFICIAL ENHYPEN LIGHTSTICK

Next on stage was the rookie girl group, IVE. An Yujin, Gaeul, Rei, Jang Wonyoung, Liz, and Leeseo started their setlist with "Kitsch." The ever-professional Jang Wonyoung handled the moment when her hair extensions fell out during the first song so calmly. Like a true professional, she simply carried on, and the extension stayed on stage.


No IVE performance would be complete without "After Like." The crowd happily joined in.


IVE - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

Next, IVE interacted with the crowd for the second segment of the "Super Mission." Part of the mission was to do a dance challenge with IVE members, which the fans adored. In another segment of the “Super Mission,” Liz showcased her vocal skills by singing an acapella rendition of a Shakira song.


IVE - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

IVE then went on to perform "Eleven," "Love Dive," and finished off with "I AM." Fans joined in a deafening chorus, demonstrating their unwavering support for the group and celebrating their passion and talent.


ATEEZ, one of the most popular 4th generation groups, performed next. Seonghwa, Hongjoong, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, and Jongho all have immense stage presence. They made their entrance to an outburst of cheers and screams, with the crowd unleashing a tsunami of emotions. Their setlist had one intention: to ensure that Estadio Civitas Metropolitano rocked. They succeeded. It was electrifying. The first three notes from their first set track Halazia'' sent shivers down my spine and gave me goosebumps all over. The cheering and screaming from the crowd were deafening, but this was nothing. It appeared that everyone in the stadium was "ATINY."


ATEEZ - Photo Credit: SBS NOW

They went on to make their introductions in Spanish with a mix of Korean, and it was evident that their love for Spain and vice versa was clear to see.


Next on their setlist was "BOUNCY (K-HOT CHILLI PEPPERS)." Everyone in the stadium was dancing and performing the choreography. The cheers and screams just kept getting louder! They followed with "Wave" and "THANXX" came next. All of their songs were accompanied by intricate choreography and high-powered stages. They had the crowd going wild.


ATEEZ - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

ATEEZ hosted the third and final segment of the “Super Mission.” One of the missions was a dance challenge where they danced to the Spanish song "Macarena." Out of the two songs, "FUNKYTOWN" by "Lipps, Inc." was the one that got everyone in the party mood. ATEEZ “Hit It Out Of The Park”


Now the time had come for their last song, and that could only be "Guerrilla." The atmosphere in the stadium during the song was indescribable, with a significant increase in decibel levels. The "Guerrilla" ATINY team and all the other fandoms chanted in unison "break the wall." Their chants could be heard far beyond the stadium grounds. We knew this moment was going to be great, but this was of epic proportions. Everyone in the stadium was in a state of euphoria. By this point, the young girl next to me had lost her voice. Now, that's a sign of a good concert, in my opinion, and we still had the headline act to perform. The expectations were high for this performance to be epic, but not on this level. Thank you ATEEZ providing me with an experience I will never forget.


The K-Pop Lux 2023 lineup was filled with some of the hottest K-Pop groups. The wait came to an end when SHINee, one of the industry's most iconic groups, took the stage. The excitement in the air was palpable as fans chanted their name endlessly, showing their unwavering love for the veteran idols. SHINee, the legends of the K-Pop industry, were now going to show us an energetic and soulful performance, reminding us why they remain the highly respected and beloved kings of K-Pop.



SHINee, the veteran group known for catchy songs like Ring Ding Dong” and Lucifer,” headlined tonight's festival. It was made even more memorable for SHINee and Shawols as it was their first-ever performance in Europe.


Minho from SHINee - PHOTO CREDIT: K-POP LUX/SBS LUX

As the time came for SHINee to take the stage and close the event, the stadium, which is usually adorned in red for the Atlético de Madrid team, transformed into a sea of SHINee’s signature pearl aqua green thanks to the multitude of shining Shawol lightsticks. After a quick introductory montage featuring fellow idols highlighting SHINee’s journey and legacy, the three members - Minho, Key, and Taemin - made their grand entrance on stage with their song "Don't Call Me." (Onew was absent due to health issues). The song captivated the audience from the very first chord. Fans joined in a deafening chorus, singing every word passionately and joyfully, celebrating the group's comeback. They continued with View,” a timeless classic that had everyone present dancing and moving to the rhythm of the music.


SHINee - Photo Credit: KPOP LUX/SBS NOW

The emotional moment came with JUICE” and “HARD,” two songs from their latest album. The intensity and power of these performances left everyone in awe, with fans fully immersing themselves in the magic of the stage.


SHINee - Photo Credit: SBS NOW

The group's stage presence was commanding, with each member shining with their unique charm and style. I saw SHINee live!


Other Notable Performers


To kick off the party started at K-Pop Lux 2023, Spain's K-Pop Dance Cover Group "GetShine" got everyone in the party mood. GetShine is renowned for their energetic covers of popular K-Pop songs. When they take the stage, the crowd goes wild.


GetShine - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

The Must-See Performances at K-Pop Lux 2023


The K-Pop Lux Festival featured some of the hottest K-pop groups, but a few performances stood out as absolute must-sees.


Xikers The rookie boy group Xikers, from KQ Entertainment, impressed the crowd with their first performance outside South Korea. Their energetic dance moves and catchy songs such as Trickey House'' and Rockstar” demonstrate why they are an up-and-coming group to watch.


Xikers - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

ENHYPEN One of the most memorable moments from the night was ENHYPEN's mesmerising performance of their recent hit "Bite Me," with the entire stadium singing along, "Oh my, oh my god." It must be admitted that, at this point, it felt as though everyone in the stadium had gathered for an ENHYPEN concert. Their immaculate white and beige outfits created stunning visual ensembles.


ENHYPEN - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

These seven young men are a force to be reckoned with in the K-Pop industry. Their outstanding performance, exceptional talent, charisma, and passion made it a night that fans will remember for a lifetime.


ATEEZ's performance of "THANXX," a song that the members claimed to be "the song of Spain." The special connection between the group and their fans in Spain became evident, creating a magical and emotional moment that will remain etched in the memories of all who were present.


ATEEZ member Seonghwa - PHOTO CREDIT: K-Pop-Lux

The highlight of the festival was the ultimate ATEEZ, "Guerrilla," with the crowd chanting "Break The Wall." The decibels must have been colossal. If ATEEZ is considered one of the most powerful forces in K-Pop today, the crowd at K-Pop Lux on July 22, 2023, is equally as powerful.


SHINee the headline act at K-Pop Lux Madrid- Photo Credit: SBS NOW

The legendary group SHINee headlined the festival and gave European fans their first-ever show. Celebrating their 15th anniversary this year, SHINee has proven that they still possess star power and talent. Both fans and fellow artists had their eyes on the second-generation group. They performed a set filled with hit songs. SHINee’s impressive live vocals, dancing, and showmanship demonstrate exactly why they are considered K-pop royalty.


Taemin from SHINee at K-Pop LUX - Photo Credit: K-POP LUX/SBS NOW

Fellow artists had high praise for SHINee.


Minjae from Xikers described them as captivating, stealing people's attention.


Ni-Ki from ENHYPEN called them a star.


Hunter from Xikers revealed that watching SHINee inspired his dreams of becoming an idol and singer.


Allen from Cravity touched everyone’s heart by stating SHINee will always be five.


Photo Credit: Twitter

K-Pop Lux Madrid 2023 gave fans a taste of the past, present, and future of K-pop. With all the amazing performances, this festival was one for the books.


The night belonged to SHINee - Photo Credit: Kpop Lux/SBS NOW

Surprise K-Pop Lux 2023 Performances


The K-Pop Lux Festival is known for surprising fans with special performances, and 2023 was no exception.


Xikers


In a thrilling twist, the boy group Xikers performed a cover of BLACKPINK's “Kill This Love.” The rookies once again ignited the crowd.


Xikers covers BLACKPINK's “Kill This Love” - Photo Credit: SBS NOW

STAYC


The next surprise came when STAYC took to the stage to perform a cover of EXO's “Love Shot.” STAYC put their unique touch to the popular song, transforming it into a flirty, energetic number that highlighted their sweet vocals and charm. Fans went wild for this unforeseen treat.


STAYC covers EXO's LOVE SHOT - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux/SBS NOW

CRAVITY


Finally, the boy group CRAVITY was the last act to perform a cover and they outdid themselves with a hard-hitting version of Seventeen’s “Super.” They did not disappoint, showcasing powerful vocals, catchy raps, and complex choreography that got the crowd jumping.


CRAVITY covers SEVENTEEN'S “Super” - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux/SBS NOW

Vibe From The Crowd


The crowd at K-Pop Lux Madrid was electrifying. Once the concert started, all the earlier problems encountered during the day became a distant memory.


The Energy Was Palpable.


You could feel the energy and excitement in the air as fans eagerly awaited their favourite groups. When a new group came on stage, the crowd erupted into deafening screams and cheers. Lightsticks and phone flashlights were waving in unison, creating a vibrant sea of colour. Everyone sang along at the top of their lungs to every song. The enthusiasm and passion of K-Pop fans is truly unmatched.


View of the crowds from the stage at K-Pop Lux Madrid - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

A United Community


Despite coming from all over Europe and beyond, the crowd united as a single community. Strangers bonded over their shared love for their favourite idols. You could strike up a conversation with anyone and instantly connect. Age, gender, and nationality did not matter: K-pop brings people together.


United K-pop fans from all corners of the globe

Once in a Lifetime Experience


For many fans, especially those from outside of Spain, K-Pop Lux Madrid was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Some had saved up for over a year to attend, while others came from as far as South America. Meeting other fans who share your passion, seeing your idols perform live, and being part of such an iconic festival is a dream come true for K-pop fans worldwide. The memories from K-Pop Lux Madrid 2023 will surely last forever.


Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux

Noteworthy Highlights


SHINee selfie time on stage.


Capturing special moments - SHINee taking a selfie on stage

Another memorable moment from K-Pop Lux was when a cameraman was caught dancing to STAYC's “ASAP” while filming them. Although the identity of the cameraman remains unknown, his love for K-Pop, or at least for STAYC, was evident. This incident showcased the captivating power of K-Pop music and its ability to bring people together, inspiring both fans and non-fans to sing and dance along. It also added a human touch to the event, reminding everyone of the shared joy that music brings, whether you're in the crowd, on the stage, or even behind the scenes as a camera operator or crew member.


ATEEZ singing “Guerrilla” that will stay with me for a lifetime

A special mention also goes to ATEEZ and ENHYPEN, who delivered outstanding performances that set the stage on fire! When I listen to “Guerrilla” and Bite Me” now, it automatically takes me back to that night in Madrid.


ENHYPEN singing "Bite Me"
ENHYPEN singing "Bite Me"

Moments like these are what made K-Pop Lux such a magical event. The passion of the fans, the extraordinary talent, and showmanship of the artists, and the connections built between them created an unforgettable experience.


The Negatives of K-Pop Lux 2023


Unfortunately, the K-Pop Lux Festival had its flaws. There were a few issues that the organisers should address and improve for future events.


The video screens on either side of the stage were too small for such a large stadium. Unless you were lucky enough to have front-of-stage (FOS) tickets, a powerful zoom on your phone camera, or X-ray vision, it was nearly impossible to see the artists or follow the choreography. For many fans, the screens are crucial for enjoying the show from a distance.


View of stage from lower stand
View of stage from lower stand

Audio issues at the K-Pop Lux festival made it difficult for the audience to understand the musicians during their interactions. The microphone levels and settings were not balanced, resulting in loud music and vocals but barely audible introductions and comments. The small screens also made it challenging to read the subtitles. This lack of clarity left fans feeling disconnected and called for improvements in fan experience.


The lack of organisation and shade for those waiting to enter the stadium was another complaint. Security was absent, and there was a lack of information early on. In the extreme heat of July, 38C, attendees were left without any shade, leading to numerous complaints on social media.


Overall K-Pop Lux 2023 Festival Experience


Madrid was sweltering in July, but the talent at K-Pop Lux 2023 was even hotter. This year’s lineup featured some of the biggest names in K-pop, and they did not disappoint.


By the end of the festival, I was hoarse from screaming and cheering, but I still wished for more. The artist’s performances were first-class and incredible.


ENHYPEN k-pop lux Madrid
ENHYPEN - Photo Credit: Twitter

The Atmosphere


The atmosphere at the festival was electric. Thousands of K-pop enthusiasts from all around Europe and beyond gathered, united by their love for music and culture. We sang, danced, waved lightsticks, and bonded over our faves. The excitement in the air was palpable.


The Crowds

We Say Goodbye to K-Pop Lux 2023


The conclusion of the K-Pop Lux Festival in Madrid, Spain, was a momentous occasion filled with unity. The headliners were joined on stage. The bright lights, the deafening chants, and the connection between the artists and their audience created a magical and emotional atmosphere.


ATEEZ member Mingi and Seonghwa - Photo Credit: K-Pop Lux
STAYC - Photo Credit: K-Pop lux
Xikers member Hyunwoo


ENHYPEN

So, there you have it. The K-Pop Lux Festival was an unforgettable experience, featuring an incredible lineup, mesmerising stage performances, and passionate fans uniting to celebrate Korean pop music. Although the festival has come to an end, the music continues to thrive.


K-Pop Lux 2023 delivered a memorable experience that will not be forgotten quickly. My cheeks hurt from smiling, and my voice is slowly returning to normal.


Goodbye Estadio Civitas Metropolitano,


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