About 40,000 participants of the 2023 World Scout Jamboree gathered in Seoul on Friday for a K-pop concert, wrapping up the world event plagued by a heat wave and a typhoon with a glitzy entertainment show.
The “K-pop super live” concert took place at Seoul World Cup Stadium in western Seoul following a closing ceremony to look back on highlights of their 12 turbulent days in South Korea and hand over the Scout flag to a representative from Poland, the host country for the 2027 jamboree.
Girl group NewJeans took the stage with “ETA” from its recently released album and the global hit “Hype Boy,” and 18 other K-pop artists performed at the show, including IVE, NCT Dream, ITZY, Mamamoo, The Boyz, Kang Daniel and fromis_9.
Also on the stage were Shownu X Hyungwon, Zerobaseone, Kwon Eun-bi, Jo Yuri, P1Harmony, KARD, The New Six and ATBO.
Scouts sang along to NewJeans’s “Hype Boy.” The festive atmosphere ran throughout the two-hour concert, with Scouts, unfazed by the rain, shouting for joy and doing the wave.
The show was co-hosted by actor Gong Myoung, ITZY’s Yuna and NewJeans’ Hyein, and broadcast live on KBS and its YouTube channel.
“The last a few days have not been easy, to say the least, exhausting but also very inspiring … No other event has faced this many challenges and extreme weather conditions,” Ahmad Alhendawi, secretary-general of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, in a farewell speech during the closing ceremony.
But the members were able to change those challenges into a unique, special experience as the first “traveling jamboree” with “determination, creativity and resilience,” he said, expressing gratitude for South Korea and the people for their support.
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo voiced regret over difficulties the Scouts had suffered here and praised the Scout spirit.
“You’ve overcome adversity with a great sense of altruism and responsibility, and the Scout spirit will serve as a basis for coalition and cooperation of the world,” Han said, vowing to ensure the safety of each member until they return home.
The closing ceremony was also attended by Andy Chapman, chairman of the World Scout Committee, as well as co-chairs of the jamboree’s organizing committee — the ministers of gender equality and family, security and public administration, and culture, sports and tourism.
The K-pop concert was originally scheduled to take place at the campsite in Saemangeum — a reclaimed tidal land area in Buan, North Jeolla Province — last Sunday but was postponed due to concerns about accidents and heat-related illnesses.
The venue was initially changed to Jeonju World Cup Stadium, about an hour’s drive from the campsite, and again to Seoul World Cup Stadium as a precaution against the approach of Typhoon Khanun toward the provincial area.
Seoul World Cup Stadium has a capacity of over 66,000 seats and is a major venue for sports games and music concerts.
The police controlled the flow of traffic around the stadium in the afternoon as over 1,000 buses carrying jamboree participants flocked to the venue for the show.About 40,000 young Scouts and adult volunteers from 156 countries have been staying across the nation after they left the campsite in Saemangeum, which was struck by bad weather but also plagued by mismanagement and safety risks.
The quadrennial global event kicked off in Saemangeum on Aug. 1 for a 12-day run, but British, U.S. and some other contingents pulled out of the campsite after just a few days amid safety concerns arising from a prolonged heat wave and a lack of sanitation in the reclaimed treeless land area.
On Tuesday, the rest of the Scouts were evacuated to Seoul and seven other regions as Typhoon Khanun was forecast to make landfall near the region. The typhoon passed vertically through South Korea on Thursday and dissipated after reaching North Korea early Friday.
Provincial governments and local companies hosted various cultural programs, including K-pop dance programs, temple stays, museum visits and factory tours, for the participants scattered across the country to help replace the campsite event with alternative culture programs.