The K-pop Light Stick: A Breakdown
The K-pop light stick is an essential fan accessory for a more civilized age.
by Rachelle "Roach"
Some of you may open your January Deluxe Box to discover a light stick. Chances are, you're either going to be SUPER excited about it, or have no idea what's happening.
The January Deluxe Box comes with a concert light stick, courtesy of our friends at SubKulture Entertainment! Subscribe now to reserve yours! For the uninitiated, a.k.a. the people that haven't been to a live K-pop show or haven't spent hours browsing K-pop merchandise sites, let's break it down. A light stick is an integral part of any K-pop live show. Some of your parents used to wave their lighters back and forth to the tune of a folk guitar. Now, in a slightly more smoking and fire-averse time, K-pop fans wave their glow sticks to the tune of blaring pop music. Check out VIPs and their awesome Big Bang light sticks during the group's MADE concert tour!
The more blockbuster the concert, the more involved the light sticks will be! You might get a sea of blue like the photo above, or you might get an entire rainbow of dazzling lights, as shown in the photo below.
Whatever the color scheme, that sea of twinkling lights, made all the more brilliant against the pitch blackness of a sold out stadium concert, is known as the "ocean." That ocean is made up of hundreds of thousands of light sticks, just like the ones that our deluxe subscribers will receive in their box. It's a visual representation of one of the guiding principles of K-pop: millions of fans worldwide coming together to create a glowing sensation.
Light sticks have one thing in common: they help fans provide light for a K-pop concert and serve as an invaluable souvenir. Other than that, they're all different. The first variation is, of course, color. There are colors like the pink ones from Girl's Generation:
There are some with more neutral, elegant lighting, like this metallic one from 2pm.
The next differentiator is the shape of the light stick. Many groups try to make the shape as personal as possible, like designing the light stick in the shape of the group's logo, or in another eye-catching design. Some of the fan favorites include this kinda creepy but adorable little guy from B.A.P.'s light stick.
There are also the shapes that wind up turning light sticks into collector's items. For instance: there's this one from VIXX that requires five different light sticks to make a star.
Another important aspect of the merchandise: the sling. While you're screaming about your favorite K-pop group at the top of your lungs, can you also easily wave your light stick around like a madman? With ones like these, you can't (instead having to grip your light stick like a common peasant):
But if it has a sling and a cool color and shape? It's the whole package.
If you're already geeking out about your incoming light stick, you're not alone. The K-pop accessory is a global phenomenon. You can head on over to YouTube and check out some vloggers unboxing their favorite light sticks.
Got a legendary light stick we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments! Otherwise, whether you're waving it with 60,000 of your closest friends at a K-pop concert or just imagining that you are while alone in your bedroom, you enjoy the light stick that's headed your way from us. Show us your own light sticks in the comments!