It’s time for the annual BTS FESTA to celebrate the anniversary of Bangtan Sonyeondan’s (BTS) debut. And judging from the festival teaser and timeline that Big Hit released, BTS prepared something remarkable for the ARMYs, their devoted millions-strong fan base.
It is, after all, BTS’ seventh anniversary, and it happens at a time music and healing are needed the most.
The two-week #2020BTSFESTA starts tomorrow, June 1, with an “opening ceremony.” On June 13, their debut date, RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook will have their “Saengpa” or Bangtan birthday party, where they’ll share a meal while reflecting on the year they had.
The 14-second teaser Big Hit uploaded on its social media platforms had ARMYs guessing that this year’s FESTA theme is inspired by The Little Prince.
The boys have expressed love for the book, and the teaser has several allusions to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry classic—the desert, the roses, the little airplane and even the captions “Here is my secret” and “New Journey to #2020BTSFESTA.” For good measure, the teaser also has a “Young Forever” instrumental as background music.
The boys often give ARMYs exclusive content during the festival. A couple of things on the timeline have the fans wondering if they should have a box of tissues when these are released: “Still With You” (could it be a new song as poignant as Jin’s “Tonight” last year?); “Map of the Soul: 7” video; and “We are Bulletproof: The Eternal.”
Here’s the #2020BTSFESTA calendar:
June 1: Opening Ceremony
June 2: BTS 7th Anniversary Family Portrait photo
June 3: Choreography Video 1
June 4: BTS Photo Collection 19/20
June 5: “Still With You”
June 7: 2020 BTS Profile 1 Image
June 8: Choreography Video 2
June 9: Answer: BTS 3 Units Photo and Video
June 10: 2020 BTS Profile 2 Image
June 11: “Map of the Soul: 7” video
June 12: “We are Bulletproof: The Eternal”
June 13: “Bangtan Saengpa” (Bangtan birthday party) video
There’s no schedule on June 6, presumably because BTS will be commencement speakers, with the Obamas and other influential personalities, at YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual graduation. BTS and other artists will also perform in the virtual graduation party.
ARMYs will still be on a high from the anniversary festival when on June 14, BTS will showcase their “Bangbangcon: The Live” online concert.
Now on her third year celebrating the BTS anniversary, 16-year-old Julianne said that the boys have never disappointed ARMYs with their FESTA. Like the rest of the fandom, Julianne feels the FESTA is “extra special this year” because it marks the boys’ seventh year as BTS.
She looks forward to the yearly FESTA fare. “But I’d also love to see them come up with more surprising content like performing one of their older tracks to relive the old memories and tell in-depth stories about their seven years together as artists,” said Julianne, who sings covers of BTS songs on her YouTube channel.
In my own Bangtan journey, I talk to my sister Michelle and friends Camille, Joy, Jam and Jenn, and Lifestyle editor Ma’am Thelma, a lot about BTS. Our daily conversations are filled with updates, photos and thoughts about why and how these seven unassuming young artists have become today’s biggest stars.
Jenn, who fell in love with BTS after watching the ON music video, thinks this year’s FESTA will be “meaningful and emotional for both BTS and ARMY, especially during these difficult times.”
“I’m looking forward to one of the very colorful fan theories playing out (hope it really is ‘The Little Prince!’) and what sort of cutting-edge way of performing or communicating BTS will use, given the situation,” Jenn texted me.
It was a year ago when Jam, Camille and my sister were just making sure that BTS were OK for their children to listen to. As all ARMY parents’ stories go, they fell deeper into the Bangtan rabbit hole than the kids.
Jam said she’s simply looking forward to the unexpected, “to being surprised with what they have for ARMYs, since we all know that the Bangtan boys will always have their ‘pasabog.’”
Well, for the past months, those VLive, Weverse and YouTube notifications on my phone have been startling me while I work from home during the lockdown. It’s funny how they get you to jump in your seat, and make you stop whatever it is you’re doing.
Camille and I have been lucky baby ARMYs. We got to watch BTS perform live at the Love Yourself encore concert in Seoul in October last year, and the Melon Music Awards in December.
Camille would love to see their “kuwentuhang barbero” and an Armypedia-like performance the boys have had before, complete with acoustic coffee-shop vibe. “We already get so much every day, personal stuff from them from their other platforms,” said Camille, who stans the rap line. “I just miss hearing them sing.”
As for me, I’m happy that I’ll be able to finally experience a BTS FESTA after a year of catching up with the rest of the fandom.
I’m glad that BTS are doing this for themselves and their fans, because the BTS FESTA is a tradition that has to be celebrated despite the circumstances. This wisdom came from Nicole Kidman in 2003, when she won the Oscars for Best Actress. Jin and Suga, the band’s two oldest members, had just turned 10 that time.
In March that year, shortly before the Academy Awards, the United States had launched an offensive in Iraq and the world was in turmoil. There were questions on whether or not it was appropriate for Hollywood to celebrate its artists’ achievements.
In her acceptance speech, Kidman explained why it was important for her to be at the awards ceremony that night: “Because art is important. And because you believe in what you do and you want to honor that. And it is a tradition that needs to be upheld.”
Nearly two decades later, here we are, our lives turned upside down.
ARMYs have always said that they discovered BTS at a time when they needed love, hope, courage and positivity the most. Today, that’s what we all need—and so, we celebrate this Bangtan tradition. —CONTRIBUTED