Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 February 2020

BTS release tour schedule: There are no UAE stops, but could that change?

It seem as though the popular K-pop group will not be making a stop in Abu Dhabi or Dubai – however, there is a glaring gap in their schedule

Members of South Korean boy band BTS speak for the 34st annual Golden Disk Awards ceremony at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Kim Hee-Chul / EPA 
Members of South Korean boy band BTS speak for the 34st annual Golden Disk Awards ceremony at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Kim Hee-Chul / EPA 

BTS have officially released the dates for their highly anticipated tour, Map of the Soul: 7. A number of big cities around the world are listed, including Seoul, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, London and Tokyo. Sadly, it appears there will be no stopover in the Middle East.

However, for fans in the region there’s still a sliver of hope. After seeing the schedule, there was one noticeable blank space in the middle. It has left a lingering question on the minds of many people: where will BTS play on Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14?

The Army (the nickname given to BTS fans) know those dates are important for the group because it marks the anniversary of when they debuted on the music scene in 2013. It seems as the yet-to-be revealed location will be very special for them, but why not make it a stopover in the UAE?

Fans in the Middle East have certainly been desperate to see them again. They last performed in the Emirates in 2016 as part of KCon Abu Dhabi but a lot has changed in the last four years – mostly in regards to the group's rising global popularity. When they were last in the UAE, they seemed to enjoy their time as they uploaded a video showing what they did while here:

When it was announced BTS would perform in Riyadh last year, fans in the UAE began to hope the group would visit the country as well. The hashtag #WeWantBTSinUAE immediately began trending on social medoa but the band did not respond.

Even after the Saudi Arabia gig, fans didn’t give up hope. A social media campaign started by BangtanUAE, the Twitter account for BTS fans in the UAE, asked fellow Army members to help trend a new hashtag every day with the hopes of raising attention to bring the group back to the country. It still went unanswered.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, band member RM explained the decision behind the gig in Saudi Arabia.

"We were officially invited," he said. "It's been a while since we've performed in the Middle East – I guess the last time was 2015 in Dubai."

"If there's a place where people want to see us, we'll go there," added Jimin. "That's really how we feel."

If that's the case, then the UAE should be considered. A video has been circulating on social media from fans showing Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City Stadium as the ideal location for a gig. Of course, if BTS are set to return, they’ll need an arena big enough for their fans. With a capacity of just over 44,000, it would surely be good place to host a concert.

Two of the biggest venues in the UAE are in Abu Dhabi, with the other being Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium which fits roughly 42,000 people. Since both stadiums are outdoors, it could be a tricky with the summer heat. However, the UAE has always been innovative so perhaps BTS could get special treatment with their own custom-created indoor space for a performance?

This year will also be a big one for the UAE as the global spotlight will shine on Dubai thanks to Expo 2020. On the official website, “live performances” and “global celebrations” are part of the ongoing events and getting the band to perform would tick off both categories. A fan has recently asked Expo 2020 Dubai if they will perform, with the official Twitter page responding as such:

In the last couple of years, a number of high-profile K-pop acts have come to the Emirates including Exo, Seventeen, Girls' Generation, SHINee, Red Velvet, SF9 and the more recently announced Super Junior and NCT 127. Surely BTS will have their eyes on the region as well?

But even if they don’t come back to the UAE for this tour, fans shouldn't feel too disheartened. After all, the Riyadh gig was a late addition to the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour so there's always a chance. Fans have already waited almost four years, but if they are to return any time soon, many will probably agree it's been worth it.

Updated: January 24, 2020 04:05 PM

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