Curated Playlist: 6 Must-Hear Tracks by 2023 Global Music Festival Headliners

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Hana Lee


Last April, BLACKPINK headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, drawing in about 120,000 spectators despite the scorching heat and sandy wind. However, Coachella is just the beginning. The summer of 2023 is brimming with popular international music festivals that will showcase performances from other K-pop acts.

Red Velvet – Primavera Sound Barcelona 2023

Red Velvet will be making history as the first K-pop act to headline Spain’s Primavera Sound Festival, which will take place in Barcelona and Madrid in June. In 2019, Red Velvet released “Zimzalabim,” the title track from the first installment of their The ReVe Festival trilogy. This song features the repeating phrase “Zimzalabim,” which sounds like a mystical spell, and the entire song gives off a festive parade-like vibe. It’s worth noting that during the R to V concert held in April, the audience responded with great enthusiasm when the group performed this song on the spot, despite it not being on the official setlist.

aespa – Governors Ball Music Festival 2023 & Outside Lands Festival 2023

After headlining Coachella in 2022, aespa is returning to the US this summer for two major music festivals. The group is set to perform at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York in June and at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco in August. One of aespa’s latest tracks, “Next Level,” is a brand-new version of the soundtrack from the movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, with the group adding their own unique style to the song. The track features a simple yet catchy dance move that involves forming the shape of the Korean consonant ‘ㄷ’ with your hands, which adds to the song’s appeal. “Next Level” continues the world view presented in aespa’s debut song, “Black Mamba,” which centers around SYNK, their alter ego ‘ae,’ and their journey to KWANGYA. In “Next Level,” aespa sings about why they had no choice but to leave for KWANGYA.

Stray Kids – Lollapalooza Paris 2023

Stray Kids is set to make history as the first K-pop act to headline Lollapalooza Paris in July. The group’s first full-length album GO生 (GO LIVE) features the title track “God’s Menu,” which is just as addictive as their previous releases. The hip-hop sound is coupled with a declaration to captivate all types of listeners with their unique style. Produced by the sub-unit 3RACHA (Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han), the song showcases their distinct sound.

NewJeans – Lollapalooza Chicago 2023 & SUMMER SONIC 2023

NewJeans is getting ready for two upcoming festivals in August: Lollapalooza, held in Chicago, USA, and the Summer Sonic Festival, held in both Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. The female act, which debuted in the summer of 2022, is rapidly becoming the next big thing in K-pop. Though every single song they have released so far has instantly made a splash, their debut song “Attention” helped them particularly emerge as the newest darling in the K-pop scene, receiving lots of love for their bubbly energy and fresh style that had not been seen for a while in the industry.


ENHYPEN has been announced as a headliner for the 2023 Summer Sonic Festival. The title song of their second EP BORDER: CARNIVAL, “Drunk-Dazed,” is a pop-rock piece that features a sense of speed and 808 bass sounds throughout the song. It captures all the struggles the group had faced after debuting as an idol. With the theme of being drunk and dazed, ENHYPEN is now ready to mesmerize the audience with their performance.

TOMORROW X TOGETHER – Lollapalooza Chicago 2023

TOMORROW X TOGETHER is set to make a return to Lollapalooza Festival for the second consecutive year, this time as headliners, raising fans’ expectations. The group’s third mini-album, minisode1: Blue Hour, features “Blue Hour” as the title track, a refreshing disco song that conveys the complex emotions of boys watching the beautiful sky as the sun sets at 5:53 PM, leaving a lasting impression on listeners.


Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

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