Year-End Gayo Festivals Bad For Singers’ Health

When it comes to the final 3 days of the year, many singers would be invited to perform at the 3 major Korean tv stations gayo festivals. But for them, the packed schedule and ridiculous demands from the show PDs often leaves them feeling drained, or worse, ending up being hospitalized for fatique.

MBC Gayo Daejun 2008 Lineup

From 29th to 31st December, SBS, KBS and MBC will have their year-end gayo festivals to usher in the new year. But even with a different title and concept, the content for the 3 are mostly similar. From the list of singers invited to the gayo festivals, you will find that most of them are kind of similar too. The Wonder Girls, Jewelry, Rain and Big Bang are just a few who have appeared for the 3 festivals and are basically drained from this punishing schedule.

For gagmen or actors, they only need to attend their respective Entertainer Awards or Drama Awards, pick up their awards, congratulate the winners, present awards and just enjoy the performances. But in contrast, singers who attend the gayo festivals usually have to think up of special performances. With fierce competition especially for advertising dollars and ratings, the 3 tv broadcasters would ask the singers to prepare “extraordinary” performances to lure the viewers in to watch. But there is really a lack of time since they only have a week of preparation (rehearsals) and even worse, they can only rehearse at the actual venue on the day itself (morning/afternoon).

To fulfil the demands of the PDs from the 3 tv stations, the Wonder Girls had to prepare 3 different remixes of Nobody complete with different new dance cheoreography for each. This is not all, they have to participate in the many other special collaborations that they have been assigned for. In the final week of December, the Wonder Girls were only able to squeeze in just 2 – 3 hours of sleep daily. But they survived and will have a good rest in January.


The year-end gayo festivals always comes in for criticism but nothing is done. Not only does it place a big strain on the health of singers, the performances usually aren’t quite up to par because of the lack of time for preparation. There have been calls since 2005 for a joint year-end festival instead but until now, the 3 tv stations have continued their individual gayo festivals. Why would they stop since a joint gayo festival would just eat into their advertising dollars. A manager of a boy group expressed, “We are tired of this vicious cycle being repeated every year. A joint year-end gayo festival is more reasonable.”

52 thoughts on “Year-End Gayo Festivals Bad For Singers’ Health

  1. Happy new year . i agree those gayo show really make those singers feel exhausted and tired, some even ended up in hospital.. upon watching those gayo i feel excited but at the same time i feel bad.. i hope they could really take a break. As what the chinese article says maybe having an yearly Big gayo show will be more than enough instead of 3..

  2. Happy New Year. I was just thinking the other day about the toll these constant performances are taking on the artists’ health what with Hyori and Lee Hongki recently being admitted to the hospital. It’s really sad how often you hear about artists fainting or having to be rushed to the hospital. I hope the tv stations be reasonable and decide to have a joint festival next year.

  3. yeah..this is my concern too..they look damn tired. when i watched dbsk’s performance at kohaku, i can see the exhaustion from jaejoong’s eyes T T

  4. I don’t get what is has to be exactly at the end of the year and having to be shown one after the other.
    Yea, it be great if they could do a joint one.
    Or maybe one week after the other.
    It really is a big strain on singers. :[ They work the hardest out of everyone in the Entertainment Industry. From my POV anyways. =x

    Any ways, Happy New Years! I hope 2009 will be WAY better then 2008!

  5. I saw WonderBang’s performances and it was really something and yet it was heartwrenching to know they had to do 3 different choreography for 3 consecutive days…I hope they’ll be able to rest and stay well.

    Anyway I’d like to greet everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    It’s still 11:00 PM 31st of December here in Portland, OR…the ball has already dropped in New York 2 hrs. ago and we still have an hour to bid goodbye to 2008.

    Thank you Coolsmurf for all the hardwork you’ve done the past year…here’s wishing you and all your faithful fans the best for the coming new year.

  6. you can easily notice that they are exhausted day by day once they perform & even thier voice once the song seems really tired.. it’ll be better if there is at least between 5 to 7 days rest between each festival so that the singer will be able to give his best in better way & pleased his fan..

  7. i felt so horrible watching dbsk because they announced they weren’t going to attend any of the gayo’s and then they said they were going to attend one. i was happy to see them, but knowing they had a hectic schedule the following two days in japan made me worried.

    for not having ample time to rehearse or learn new dance moves, i thought it was pretty good. i watched the entire sbs awards and because it was the first, that was probably the one most rehearsed. the following two gayo’s i only watched clips of, but didn’t seem that bad.

    they really should just join in together and split the cost together. i can understand why they don’t want to cooperate together…money is most important in that business.

  8. i dont completely understand the logic behind having these huge year-end performances, but whatever -_-
    and even if the 3 major stations don’t want to do a joint festival, they should think about their viewers. i personally wouldn’t want to watch 3 very similar performances of the same songs.
    they say that the kpop industry is on the fall, but that doesn’t mean that artists should be working harder. i feel bad for all of them =[

    …and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! =D

  9. I had to add something again,

    I’m glad SS501 decided to go to ONE award show. It would have broken my heart to know how hard they had to work if they did all three. knowing how exhausted Leader is already.

  10. Yeah but you guys should consider the fact that singers are FREE to go to the shows. They just decided to go to all 3 but they could just attend 1,2 or none at all.

  11. I can’t imagine all the hard work..All those artists must so so so tired.. I emphatize. It makes me appreciate what they perform for us. GAD all the remixes that need to done.
    I just hope there could be one show at the end of the year where it could be a really fantastic show. the hell with the money.. T_T
    Wondergirls,BEG and jewelry are the ones (that i know) that is always present. bigbang and 2pm too.. *sighs* T___T

  12. @ Ichigo-Kun

    I don’t know about that. Wouldn’t you think that the artists’/groups’ production/media companies might have a lot to do with it to get them exposure and sell more CD’s, get more CF’s, etc?

    How much do think M-Net would have liked to have Hyo-ri on all three shows, especially just after her concerts to give another boost of sales to “It’s Hyorish” since she is no longer doing promotional performances for it?

    I would think that, sadly, the performers would have the least amount of input in their year-end schedule.

  13. I do feel that on the Year-end Gayo, a lot of the members were exhausted. :/ I think they should reschedule or “resystem” out everything so that the artists have a healthy cycle.

  14. Happy New Year, coolsmurf!

    As an audience, watching 3 Gayo-es is also tiring and overload, esp when the singers appear on the same shows, same songs, just different performances.

  15. just a question, was DBSK not in the gayo festivals? Cuz I can’t see any of them in the article. Just a curious question

  16. my DBSK guys also felt down of fatigue n tiredness….till they could’t perform really well on LIVE Japan stage… tiredness, off-pitch, dark circle eyes n a bit slow movement for up-beat song (purple line) ..~ i feel really hurt to see all my DBSK like this….Hope they will get enough rest n always b healthy…… ~ DBSK SARANGHE !!!!!!!!!! ^^

  17. i agree that this commerical biz is really adverse for the singers health but doesn’t it take 2 hands to clap? If the singers or rather their managment were not so greedy as to get them into every gayo performance, the TV pple can’t work them overly hard either. I mean, they also want to earn the money right? So they can’t really complain either. All they have to do is to say NO to the performances, or at least just agree to say 1 instead of all 3, then it’ll be fine. Unfortunately, the singers themselves can’t exactly choose.

    On the more objective side, every occupation has its tough ends to it, and for the singers this is it. Normal pple face awful situations in their jobs too, some even worse than this, but just cos they aren’t celebs pple don’t really bother.

  18. maybe i’m just cold hearted but i have no pity at all for them. i mean they, the singers, can simply decline the offer to attend but no because they think they need to be there so it’s their own fault too. they know that it’s tiring doing 3 shows in all row like this but they still take it so you can’t blame anyone but themselves. we get that they, bb, wg, beg, jewelry, was big in 2008 but attending all 3 shows? not very necessary. big bang dominated most of the gayo shows, they shouldn’t just name it big bang show or something and have other singers as guest.

    big bang fans were happy that big bang dominated these gayo shows. guess it could go both ways. good for the fans, bad for big bang.

  19. some artist were smart enought to only choose one gayo to attend unlike some other artist who’s hungry for money and think they need to appear at every show there is. it’s their own fault.

  20. “some artist were smart enought to only choose one gayo to attend unlike some other artist who’s hungry for money and think they need to appear at every show there is. it’s their own fault.”
    Yeah, Im agree with you.
    Nadie obliga a los artistas a ir a los 3 festivales. Basta con ir a 2 de 3.
    la compania a la que pertenecen definitivamente los explota, pero ellos deberian hacer respetar sus derechos

  21. wow. it’s funny how some of you think that the artists want to go to all three gayos for the money…For God’s sake, it’s -not- up to the artists themselves to decide whether they want to attend or not. Their companies obviously have all the say in their schedules and performances, and they will obviously want their artists to attend as many as possible for promotional purposes.

  22. honestly i dont know why these singers and managers complain all the time. whats so different about preforming 3 gayo festivals than having to do a worldwide tour for american artists? i know, american artists have to live in a bus and travel all over the world, not much free time there. these korean artists could avoid these problems easily if they just plan the performances ahead of time. i mean they cant just try different choreography like a month before? and im sure the festival venues arent the only places with stages. These networks give artists 3 concerts a week and they cant think ahead of time? the “fatique” that they get it is their fault. this article is just to symphatize with artist justs because that is who coolsmurf and others like.

  23. I agree that they should merge or take turns to host the show. ‘Cuz sometimes it gets repetive or the next performance isn’t up to par. But I guess it’s all about the money.

    By the way: HAPPY 2009!!!

  24. Actually I was just thinking about that. In America, NBC exclusively aired the Oympics while MBC, KBS, and SBS all wanted to air the Oympics. Also there’s only one big music award show in America, the Grammys. Korea is not even half the size of America they don’t need three different versions of everything.

  25. they should really do a joint festival. tbh i really like nobody remixes, i liked it at the mkmf, i liked it at golden disk, i liked it at sbs, but then once i got to kbs, i began to feel bored of the song because it was so similar, they were running out of ideas on how to perform nobody in a special way.

    i’m glad dbsk only attended one, but then when i watched their doushite performance at the 50th record japan awards or w.e, their performance was not up to par, they improved in kouhaku though but i could see their tired eye bags so clearly.

    anyway, joint festival ftw.

  26. Why do they wait so long to plan the performances? Can’t the broadcast station plan ahead and ask the performers to create concepts and dances beginning in June. It would be a better performance and give them time to advertise. Broadcast companies need to be more creative and bring in artist people would not expect. The same cookie cutter popular performers from the year can be boring. Bring in the unexpected would be nicer. Like a popular singer who has not been active that year.

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  28. @ jyyjc… I totally agree with you. After the KBS awards, I got so sick and tired of watching the same performances, the remixes and “special stages”. It’s just too repetitive. They need to get those creative juices flowing through their heads and think of something new… But I really liked SBS awards.
    Anyways, I was really sick of watching the same performers over and over, especially Big Bang. Those PDs should just made them do one special stage instead of 3 special stages or whatever. I felt so bad for Big Bang, WG, Rain, Jewelry and etc. they must be worn out.
    Hopefully, for next year, SBS/MBC/KBS would do a joint performance. It’ll be so much better for those artists; not because they are doing less work but to give their all in one performance.

  29. max:

    According to TNS Media,

    Nationwide ratings:
    18% – 19%
    11.6% – 12.9%
    16% – 17%

    Seoul ratings:
    19.4% – 20.5%
    12.1% – 13.4%
    16.8% – 17.6%

    Nationwide ratings:
    19% – 28.6%
    11.4 – 12.1%
    12.3% – 15.5%

    Seoul ratings:
    18.5% – 28.9%
    10.9% – 12.4%
    11.7% – 14.9%

  30. Dangit, how come the name of the shows didn’t show up?

    It’s supposed to be:

    Nationwide ratings:
    SBS Gayo 18% – 19%
    KBS Gayo 11.6% – 12.9%
    MBC Gayo 16% – 17%

    Seoul ratings:
    SBS Gayo 19.4% – 20.5%
    KBS Gayo 12.1% – 13.4%
    MBC Gayo 6.8% – 17.6%

    Nationwide ratings:
    MBC Drama Award 19% – 28.6%
    SBS Drama Award 11.4 – 12.1%
    KBS Drama Award 12.3% – 15.5%

    Seoul ratings:
    MBC Drama Award 18.5% – 28.9%
    SBS Drama Award 10.9% – 12.4%
    KBS Drama Award 11.7% – 14.9%

  31. i liked wg collaboration , but woah they had to remember all thoes steps i think id forget o_0

    well hopefully wonder girl get a lot of rest before there america tour .

  32. i completely agree with one. even though it’ll deprive us abit of more entertainment but its such a hectic schedule!!

  33. I agree too,I mean Big Bang did 13 performances in three days! and they didnt even sing the same songs! and also had to do special stages with DD and Wondergirls.

  34. yeah. i think it would js be greedy of us fans and pds to request that from the singers. i personally felt all worried for all the singers that they would faint or pass out. like last year, this year, many singers ended up in the hospital. for those who think singers were being “greedy” to get more money by going to all…i don’t think it was their choice. honestly, i think it took more money getting ready (props, costumes) and TIME/ENERGY!!

    like coolsmurf said, one big festival is good but MBC, SBS, KBS cannot come together. they have big rivalry…so probably not likely….

  35. Poor dears. TVXQ were smart to skip some. They shouldn’t put the same singers for every show, but they rarely have a choice since coming onto the shows help maintain their popularity. It’s tough being the popular bands of the moment 😛

    Wish them the best of health for the coming year…

  36. They should really just go with a joint year end gayo festival. They’re really wearing out the artists, it quite ridiculous. I saw a lot of performances at SBS gayo daejun that had a few mistakes in them. For example when DBSK was performing mirotic with “are you a good girl”, the part where yunho was doing the slidy thing down the stairs wasn’t executed succsessfully. Even F.T Island’s lead singer had to be hospitalized. Seriously they should stop thinking about the money and think about the artists health.

  37. poor my Hongki…ending up in hospital…and today (actually right now) they have another concert in Japan…

  38. Happy new year coolsmurf

    yeah, those year end gayo festivals made the in-demand singers like the wonder girls to be very exhausted…I really appreciate their performances to think that they only practiced and prepared for the limited time available…

    The performances are still awesome…wow im glad that they will have a good rest this year…

    Good luck coolsmurf…I’ll still visit wonderland even if you decided to stop from updating it.

  39. Aww.. I hope WG and Big Bang get to properly rest well for at least a week. Absolute no work at all for a week. It’s eye-candy for us, but my heart aches for them actually. On a side note,… Alvin!! I’m wow-ed!! One of my favourite videos as a rising video on Youtube after only a day! Check this out:

  40. These are some of the most disciplined and dedicated performers in the world! I truly admire there tenacity!
    There has to be some middle ground resolution to this situation. Maybe using a video streaming source and relaying to all stations instead? There are so many positive options available but of course it all comes down to money!

  41. joint gayo indeed more reasonable i’m only half heartedly excited about all of the performances how can they deliver under such circumstances? i feel so bad for the entertainers

  42. i was wondering about that… specially since DBSK had to even squeeze the flight between korea and japan to perform at ceremonies in both countries……….i love having 3 or more awesome performances for each of the artists i love, but sometime, less is more………


  43. Hmm… Although a joint Gayo Festivals is more reasonable, I for one also look forward to the many different performances in different networks. I think the thing here is that they should be given more time to rehearse… why just a week? I don’t understand. For such a huge occasion and event for this 3-day festival, I think the singers should be able to rehearse much earlier.

    Also, question: Why was Jewelry still performing? I thought it was already confirmed that they were skipping the Gayo Festivals, and they are going to rest and go on a vacation instead. o.O

  44. Pingback: Gayos are Unhealthy « Twisted Stars

  45. the music festivals are entertaining, but i do admit that they tire the singers quite a lot

    ONE joint BIG and GOOD festival is a good idea

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