So you think camping outside the venue the night before is extreme? Oh boy, do I have news for you! There’s no need for me to retell Brazil’s known over-the-top energy at everything we do, and our reputation remains true, of course, at concerts. But the hype begins way before the concert itself, way before entering the venue even. It begins five months prior, to be exact. That’s the amount of months Brazilian ARMYs camped outside Citibank Hall, the venue that hosted both stops for BTS’ THE WINGS TOUR in São Paulo.
This wasn’t the first time Brazilian fans camped for a K-Pop concert. Back in 2015, this time for BTS’ THE RED BULLET, fans camped outside the venue for a month, allegedly after hearing that Chilean ARMYs were coming to Brazil and camping prior to the concert. While that was later reported to be false, Brazilian ARMYs wanted to stay ahead of their game and decided to camp before any fans would get the chance to be ahead of them.
Back in 2015 I had the chance to interview two of the happy campers, Larinessa and Edson. Larinessa then told me that they were driven by the desire to be as close to BTS as possible. While they did camp through São Paulo’s winter, they kept themselves entertained; not one afternoon passed without games and conversation. But Edson claimed that he was, at first, scared. There were a lot of hate messages sent to the group of campers after he posted a picture of their camping site. Edson explained that he didn’t do it so that it would spark jealousy among the fandom. He simply wanted to share the fun experience he and his friends were having.
Camping before concerts is old news in Brazil, so when the time came for K-Pop concerts to get their very own campers, fans had years of experience. No one stays in line for the entire time. Groups made up of friends ranging from ten to a hundred people schedule a rotating system. Each person has to spend at least a day and a night at the campsite in order to guarantee their spot. If they don’t, they have to find their way to the end of the line. Of course, several groups that aren’t related to each other set camp, so in order to maintain peace and keep matters organized, lists are created with the names of everyone who makes up every group to guarantee that there will be no cutting in line. Of course, the organization is never properly met, but the preparation is there. KARD fans have also camped outside the venue, but just for a few days prior to their concerts.
Speaking of preparations, Brazilian fans are notorious for organizing projects for the entirety of the event. Back in June, I took my little sister to KARD’s fansign event in Salvador as my birthday gift to her. I wasn’t expecting much since this was going to be an event with around 300 fans at a hotel and did not include any performances. I thought we would be sitting there, listening to background music as we waited for our turn. I couldn’t possibly have been any more wrong. Fans organized fanchants for before, during, and after the event. One fan even found herself on stage with the microphone practicing fanchants before the group showed up. Do keep in mind that KARD hadn’t even had their official debut back then, all Hidden KARDs had to work with back then were three songs and their love and admiration for the group.
I hate to be that person who always circles a K-Pop article back to BTS and ARMYs, but THE WINGS TOUR in Brazil was simply epic and (sorry, BTS!) because of the fans. Ever since the Brazil stops were announced, Brazilian ARMYs, affectionately nicknamed B-ARMYs by international fans after the raging success of their projects, took Twitter by storm in order to promote their projects. Fanbases and personal accounts were creating new projects every day, and fans all across Brazil took it upon themselves to spread and guarantee the success of every project. And there is no denying that they were successful.
B-ARMYs created fanchants, banners, choreographies, and even faux ARMY Bombs so that every fan could be part of the projects being promoted. The queue the day of the concerts was a mess, to say the least, but that was because fans were running up and down so that everyone at the location knew about every project being done that day. After months of emailing fanbases and creating viral tweets, projects created by B-ARMYs became highlights of the tour and were taken to every venue after theirs. As a Brazilian living in the United States, I was blown away to hear all of Prudential Center in Newark chanting “we love you” after Rap Monster’s “I wish I could love myself” in his solo and carrying out the chorus in “Spring Day” just like B-ARMYs had done.
Brazilians don’t get enough credit for their incredible organizational skills at concerts. They are often made fun of and labelled as excessive or overly-dramatic. Well, they might just be, but no criticism can take away their success rate. We have yet to see a project for a concert for which Brazilian fans set their minds to and it doesn’t work. Keep on being extra, Brazil, we all love it.