K-pop supergroup BTS has scrapped their upcoming Map of the Soul world tour because of insurmountable logistical difficulties related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our company has worked hard to resume preparations for the BTS Map of the Soul Tour, knowing that all fans have been waiting eagerly and long for the tour,” the band’s label Big Hit Music said in a statement released Friday.
“Due to changing circumstances beyond our control, it has become difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned,” it added. “Therefore we must announce the cancellation of the BTS Map of the Soul Tour.”
BTS has been trying to tour in support of their fourth album, Map of the Soul: 7, since Spring 2020, but pandemic-related delays have stretched on indefinitely. The group’s original tour plans included a series of dates beginning in Seoul in April 2020, followed by 39 shows in 18 countries spanning North America, Europe and Asia.
Instead, BTS has pivoted to ticketed online concerts. The group’s label said Friday that live shows may be rescheduled for the fall, while also intimating that a return to virtual performance might be required. No specifics were supplied, however.
“Once again, please allow us to offer our sincere apology to all fans who have waited for the BTS Map of the Soul Tour to resume,” Big Hit concluded. “We are working to prepare a viable schedule and performance format that can meet your expectations, and we will provide updated notices as soon as possible.”
South Korea is currently weathering its fourth, and worst, wave of COVID-19 infection to date, with the more contagious Delta variant now the dominant strain in the country. After six weeks of stringent social distancing rules and a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m., daily case loads are hovering around record highs of 2,000 per day.
South Korea has administered 48.3 percent of its population of 52 million at least one vaccine dose, but just 21.6 percent are fully vaccinated. The country aims to fully vaccinate 70 percent of the populace by October.