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Rumors Are True – North Korea Preparing to Rock

Months ago, I Logued about this in Rockin’ Pyongyang: Woodstock 38 in North Korea? This almost spam-like press release came over the transom and I never heard anything about it again. But Forbes has this apparent confirmation of an international rock show planned for Pyongyang. Here’s a few of the details:

“Walter Keats, president of Wilmette, Ill.-based Asia Pacific Travel, had a group of 270 travelers lined up to go last year, when the regime canceled the festivals–and the visitors–due to floods. So he said he “felt great” when he got an e-mail from Pyongyang earlier this month, saying that he could bring visitors in May this year and again in the fall. Just this week, he received an e-mail from the North Korean tourism authority saying it was appointing his company the sole travel agent it would deal with for the U.S. market.”

“Keats takes the decision to allow Americans in this year as a sign that the regime is optimistic about the outcome of ongoing six-nation talks aimed at halting North Korean nuclear proliferation.

Another reason for letting Americans in is that the North Koreans need to fill seats at Pyongyang’s 150,000-seat stadium. With tickets to a single Arirang performance costing from $25 to $300 — the top price will get you a bottle of water, candy bars and a green felt table cloth at your seat–the performances are an important source of foreign revenue.

With limited tourism facilities, Pyongyang is restricting all foreign visits to four days and three nights to allow the maximum number of sightseers. Asia Pacific Travel is leading a trip from May 2 to 15 that will take in Beijing and Seoul as well as the DMZ on the border between North and South Korea, and Kumgang and Pyongyang in North Korea. The 14-day itinerary costs $4,790 per person; for more information, visit www.northkorea1on1.com or call 1-800-262-6420.”