For this week’s column, I decided to venture out in my interests and found an event coming up this Saturday, September 18th, that helps celebrate the birthdays of two BTS members, RM and Jungkook. I interviewed the main organizer and brainchild of the event, Melody, about many different topics including the event and her interest in BTS.
Can you explain in your own words what goes into a birthday event for people who may not know what it is?
Melody: “Cupsleeve events are celebrations for Kpop idols/groups. They're primarily to celebrate birthdays, or group anniversaries. They are a great way for fans to come together and mingle, and to celebrate a group/group member (idol). There is a LOT that goes into planning an event like this! Securing a venue, finding someone to make the cupsleeves, reaching out to vendors, coming up with and executing freebie items, photo ops, finding volunteers, networking, promoting, etc. It's been a job at times, albeit a very enjoyable job!”
When and how did you get into BTS?
Melody: “I am a relatively new army. I got into BTS mid-July of last year. My mom and I had heard "Make It Right" on a road trip once before but had no real knowledge of their music aside from that and hearing of "Boy With Luv" in passing. One afternoon, I decided to turn on the 'This is BTS' Playlist on Spotify, and I was instantly hooked. Their music covered so many different genres so effortlessly that I couldn't stop listening to them. From there, I looked up translations and was completely blown away by the lyricism. If you take their music on the most basic, surface level, it is enjoyable. It conveys emotion. Whether it's an upbeat song, a ballad, a rap line song. Etc. The language barrier almost ceases to exist, because they are so talented and able to convey the emotion of the song so well. Once you decide to dig deeper and look at the actual lyrics, it's just incredible to see the metaphors, the deeper meaning, the relatability, etc. Their music is just on a whole other level. "Pied Piper" is a great example of what I mean. I don't want to spoil this for anyone unfamiliar with BTS, but I highly suggest listening to the song without translation first, and then listening to it a second time with a translation up.”
What made you want to set up this event?
Melody: “Last year, after getting into BTS, I scoured the internet and Twitter for ways to connect with other fans. I don't have many people (aside from my mom, who is wonderful and just as much a part of this whole thing as me) in my daily life to talk about BTS with, so I was really interested in connecting with other fans. I saw things in passing about cupsleeve events, but was unable to find anything in our vicinity, aside from Chicago and Northern Ohio. My mom and I went to a showing of "Break the Silence" last year, and we happened to run into Susan Chapman, who had created a Louisville BTS Army group for Louisville fans to connect. We joined and found that there was an interest within the group for a cupsleeve to be held, but COVID made it much more complicated to plan anything last year. This summer, our group was able to have a few private events at a local theater, watching older concerts, and we decided to give the cupsleeve a real shot!”
What was the process you took to get businesses to help set this event up?
Melody: “It was a LOT of networking. A lot of calls were made, messages were sent out, plans fell through. When I reached out to Boba Fête, I was so shocked to hear how enthusiastic they were to partner with us! Lexie (the owner of Boba Fête) has been amazing, and I am so happy to have been able to find someone who was just as enthusiastic and excited to have this event. Through her, we were able to get access to hosting at the Logan Street Market, which is an amazing location! The space is incredible, and there are so many awesome vendors and restaurants inside for people to check out as well. There is even a Korean restaurant in the market! It's still so surreal to have found such a great venue to host the event at.”
Do you see yourself doing another event like this?
Melody: “We plan to have more events! This is our first one, so we plan to look at what worked and what we can improve on for the next one. We are aiming to have another cupsleeve event for Jin and Taehyung's December birthdays, so please look forward to that!”
What would say to people who may not know about BTS?
Melody: “I would strongly urge them to give BTS a chance! I have personally introduced all my friends to their music, and every one of them has been pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed their music. Don't let the language barrier scare you off. As Namjoon says "Music transcends language", and he is exactly right. Whether you're looking for something to dance to, cry to resonate with, whatever.... I promise you will find that with BTS.”
Is there anything else you want people to know about BTS or the birthday event?
Melody: “I know that a lot of people feel leery of BTS because army is so big, because of the language barrier, etc. I have found so many wonderful people within army, and I have found so much joy since finding BTS. Their fans come from all walks of life, all age ranges, all over the world. Their music has resonated and had such an impact, and they truly deserve all the hype. Along with having incredible music, they are amazing people. They are so humbled by and appreciate of each and every fan (ARMY) they have. One example of this is when BTS were first starting out, they had a fan meet on Suga's birthday. He was so appreciative of fans coming to meet them, that the hand wrote notes and gave candy to every single person who showed up. You might think that is fan service because of being a new Kpop group, but if it were feasible, to this day, he would hand write a million notes to army. All seven of the members have hearts just as big, and genuinely care just as much about their fans. They are so active on Weverse (their fan app) to this day. It is rare that a few days go by without at least one member posting or commenting on multiple fans posts. They constantly go on VLive and chat with us. Jungkook just celebrated HIS birthday with us by creating a song with lyrics sent to him by army. He spent well over two hours working on and singing to us all. That's the relationship they have with their fans. It never feels forced or insincere. They genuinely love army as much as army loves them, which is not something you see with a lot of artists. Especially once they reach the level of success BTS has.”
The event is this Saturday starting at 1pm at the Logan Street Market in Louisville. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rm-jungkook-birthday-cupsleeve-event-tickets-165073079023. There will be raffles, bubble tea from Boba Fête, baked goods from Sugar High Louisville, and of course a cupsleeve for the event. Stop by and see what it is all about.