Aug. 10-12 brought “All Things Hallyu” to Los Angeles in one massive wave of excitement. People from all over, crowded into STAPLES Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center to check out the best of Korean culture and possibly get the chance to high five one of their favorite artists. While much of the worldwide attention is on groups such as BTS who are now dominating the music scene, as anyone who has ever attended KCON will tell you, there is so much more than K-pop to be excited about. Yes, the music is its own phenomenon but so are the dramas, the beauty products, and of course, the cuisine. KCON highlights all of that.
As the annual KCON event expands into other parts of the world, it’s also adding in some new experiences for attendees. While this year KCON-ers saw the return of activations like Star Square, recent updates include things such as STAR Live Talk: a place for fans to get up close and personal with some of their favorite Korean idols in a live talk show setting. Artist engagements, panels, workshops, programs, beauty products, fashion, new innovations, food, and music; KCON 2018 LA had everything you could ever want and more.
Are you ready for the top five reasons you don’t want to miss out next year? Good. Let’s KCON.
5. The fandom
There is no fan so dedicated as those who love K-pop. If you could imagine Beatlemania at its height, it might make for an accurate comparison. While making your way through the Convention Center, the crowd lends their energy to the excitement of the whole scene. You can catch fans lined up in K-POP World just waiting for a glimpse of their favorite star or watch them race for the opportunity to send a written message to a popular KCON artist. Fans know everything about the artists they love; from where they were born to their blood type. Their dedication even has them traveling across state lines. Some concertgoers drove halfway across the country to catch the evening shows at STAPLES Center and others spent the entire day in line just waiting for the doors to open.
4. The choreography
Part of the fun of being a fan is getting down the choreography to some of your favorite songs. Dancing is a big part of the fandom, naturally making it a big part of what happens at KCON. The Dance Workshops had choreographers on hand, teaching KCON-ers moves to BTS’ “Singularity,” MOMOLAND’s “BAAM,” IN2IT’s “SnapShot,” and Wanna One’s “Light,” among others. But, it wasn’t only about crowds of people learning a routine; it was about crowds of people getting to show off said routine during the evening concerts at STAPLES Center. As fans watched their idols performing on stage, those who stood in general admission near the stage had every opportunity to flaunt their moves next to the artists themselves.
3. The products
This year, Beauty Block was back and bigger than ever. In its expansion, it has now incorporated a stage that features some of your favorite stars as well as some cool makeup tutorials. While K-Beauty is a huge aspect of the convention, offering up a multitude of treats, the weekend also provides a platform for an assortment of exhibitors ranging in everything from jewelry to DJ equipment. New innovations also took the spotlight with the Product 101 Challenge. Based on CJ ENM’s TV audition show (‘Produce 101’) the company took on this nationwide project helping some of Korea’s most promising products gain traction, offering up 101 businesses the chance to show their products at KCON 2018 LA. Baby products, a heating vest, even AsomeIT (a bot that helps children learn to code) were all included in this year’s fun finds.
2. The food
Certainly, the indoor Bibigo booth had a line stretching around the corner, but just outside of the L.A. Convention Center doors, extending past STAPLES Center was Food Street. Open to the public, the vendor-lined area was filled with delicious Korean cuisine that had crowds of people not really caring about waiting in 90-degree weather to grab a bite. Every treat was more delectable than the next. Belly Bombz had Korean-inspired burgers, Okamoto Kitchen had a delicious beef bowl, and Crasians had crunch buns coated in pastries that were filled with kalbi beef. There were HK egg waffles with ice cream, Korean BBQ bulgogi fries, sushi burritos and twisted potatoes. There were also plenty of refreshing drinks to compliment your meal. It was a piece of foodie heaven.
1. The music
Of course, the music rules at KCON! Friday night kicked things off with the debut of KLUB KCON, while Saturday and Sunday brought in two star-studded concerts highlighting a revolving lineup of popular Korean artists. The packed bill allows time for roughly two songs per act. In between fans showing off their dance moves, a sea of glow sticks illuminated the arena, upping the already high-energy performances. This weekend, pre-show fun included a remarkable presentation by Kukkiwon Taekwondo while the artist lineup featured over a dozen acts. This year’s stage saw Ailee, Dynamic Duo, Crush, Golden Child, IN2IT, MOMOLAND, TWICE, Wanna One, Davichi, Mia, Chung Ha, fromis_9, IMFACT, NU’EST W, PENTAGON, SEVENTEEN, Dreamcatcher, JUN, and Roy Kim. KCON and M Countdown put on a show that is an absolute must to experience. There is truly nothing else like it in the world.