The indie band scene was once really big in Korea, but an incident occurred in 2005, and it completely changed public perception of it ever since.
According to the YouTube channel DKDKTV, indie music was once gaining serious traction in Korea around the early 2000s. Groups such as Delispice, Onnine Ibalgwan, Jaurim and Crying Nut were all receiving lots of attention for their music and mainstream success.
Music shows were always on the lookout for indie bands to perform on their shows, and MBC even established a show titled Live Music Camp in 1999, that had a special segment introducing indie bands from around South Korea.
On the fateful day of July 30, 2005, a punk rock band named Rux was performing for a live broadcast stage that day. To make for a livelier stage, the band invited other bands to sing and dance in the background of the stage while Rux would be the main performers.
Towards the end of the performance, two men-one from the band The Couch and the other from Spiky Brats– took off their pants, and started jumping around the stage while fully, completely, naked.
Around 4-5 seconds of total frontal-nudity was recorded and broadcasted to the people of South Korea, and this is not including the live audience that was already present there.
The two men were arrested and charged with public indecency and interference with a business. They also had to undergo drug testing(which they tested negative for), and were eventually sentenced to 2 years of probation. Won Jong Hee, the member who invited the bands, was also arrested for inviting the two to perform at the show, despite stating in interviews that he had no idea that was going to happen numerous times.
This one incident effectively killed the indie scene in Korea. Live Music Camp was immediately cancelled, and was eventually replaced with Show! Music Core. MBC also suffered damage to their image, and consequentially, banned the appearance of indie bands on their show from 2005-2009, with other major TV stations following suit with their own restrictions.
With the debut of Kiha And The Faces in 2008, the public slowly began to warm up to the idea of bands again, but public perception had deteriorated to such an extent that it was still difficult to completely accept bands, and thus, ended the Golden Age of indie music in Korea.
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