BTS Officially Cancel Their ‘Map Of The Soul’ Tour

For tens of thousands of BTS fans holding out hope for the postponed tour (including me), news of its cancellation is devastating.

Eighteen months after tickets went on sale, BTS have officially cancelled their Map of the Soul tour. It’s news that, while perhaps not wholly surprising, has devastated thousands of fans – including myself – who were holding out hope that the tour would still happen in future.

Originally slated to start in Korea in April 2020 before heading to North America and Europe, the first stops on the tour – scheduled for Seoul – were actually cancelled in February last year. North American stops, meanwhile, were officially postponed in March 2020, while European concerts never even went on sale. It’s the North American shows which have finally been cancelled now.

BTS’s label, Bighit Music, released a statement announcing that despite every effort to make the tour happen, “it has become too difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned”.

Cancelled concerts have become a common event during the pandemic, just like so many other aspects of our lives that have been put on hold. Of course, the loss of them is not on the same level as the devastating loss of lives and health for millions. But it is still a loss, and one that is understandably mourned by many. It’s not just the loss of the concerts – sad in itself, for both fans and everyone who worked on them, most especially BTS – but also what they represent.

For myself, securing tickets for the Map of the Soul tour was, without exaggeration, one of my happiest moments of 2020. I’d been a fan of BTS since April 2019, and when their tour was announced I knew I had to see them. With no Australian dates planned, I decided to aim for North America, and combine the concerts with a much-needed holiday with my husband and my best friend.

When the tickets went on sale in early February 2020, there was talk of COVID 19, of course. We had discussions of “what if…?”, but – perhaps naively – we dismissed fears and seized hope. We secured our tickets, and had the trip of a lifetime planned.

And then March 2020 happened. The month it feels like we’re all suspended in; still suffering from. It soon became obvious my dream trip was not happening, but it was a huge relief when the concert dates for North America were postponed rather than cancelled. Everything else might have been falling apart, but the tickets still being there made it feel like one day in the future, things would be good again.

That future went from being “maybe in October” to “in 2021” to “hopefully early 2022?”. As the pandemic wore on, far longer than most of us ever expected, it seemed increasingly likely that the concerts would never happen. And yet, they officially remained postponed. While the tickets were still there, there was hope.

The tickets – already extremely hard to get in February 2020 – felt more and more valuable as BTS’s popularity exploded even further, with countless new fans coming on board with the release of their first English single “Dynamite”, and later the follow-ups “Butter” and “Permission to Dance”. The idea of trying to secure tickets for future concerts began to feel impossible, and the fear of never being able to get tickets as good as what I had was real.

But now that those tickets have been cancelled, that concern is not top of mind. It’s there, sure, but it’s not what is most upsetting.

What hurts most is the loss of hope. Of a tangible link to the before times, and the joy and excitement I felt then. Of the idea that, after suffering through the pandemic, after so much loss worldwide, this would at least be this one thing the pandemic hadn’t taken from us. That after waiting for so long, we would be able to come together with friends and fans from all over the world, and celebrate life and joy and the end of this nightmare along with a band we love.

That can still happen, of course. There is still hope. But it won’t be the Map of the Soul tour. Big Hit have already shared that they are “working to prepare a viable schedule and performance format” for the future, and whatever comes next from BTS will no doubt be amazing. But it can’t completely replace what was lost.

Everyone has coped with the pandemic in different ways. For almost 18 months, the postponed tour was a glimmer of hope. Something certain to look forward to in future. In the midst of uncertainty everywhere else, it’s what helped me and so many other fans get through it. Now, that tiny token of comfort and security is gone.

It feels like a final nail in the coffin of the life that came before COVID. A reminder that things will never be the same again. And a sign to finally let that dream go, and fully grieve, before we can move on into whatever the future may bring, and whatever form of hope we can grasp onto next.

Written by Jenna Guillaume, an entertainment journalist and author of YA rom-coms What I Like About Me and You Were Made For Me. Follow her at @jennaguillaume.

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