[Event Review] KCON 2013 Celebrates Korean Wave

Los Angeles transformed into Hallyu heaven for K-Pop fans last weekend with the return of KCON 2013! The two-day event dedicated to “All Things Hallyu” was held on August 24-25 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, and welcomed over 20,000 fans.

The upgraded event included numerous celebrity panels, contests, autograph sessions, performances, workshops on Korean makeup, food, fitness, and more! Finally the weekend was topped off with a star-studded episode of Mnet’s M!Countdown: What’s Up LA featuring G-Dragon, EXO, f(x), Teen Top, 2AM, Dynamic Duo, Super Junior M‘s Henry, Yoo Seung Woo, Crayon Pop, and Missy Elliott.

KCON offered a packed scheduled for fans with a huge variety of activities to participate in. Let’s take a closer look at the events of the weekend!

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Whew – the day sure was hot and packed with lots of excited fans and K-Pop blasting everywhere! Soompi Team had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with our readers and new fans at our Soompi booth. We had lots of goodies to give away, including CDs (some signed), shirts, stationery, pins, and stickers to show off your love for K-Pop.

Our fan art station gave attendees a chance to showcase their artistic talent. More than 50% of the art submissions were EXO drawings! (Kris and Chanyeol were especially popular subjects). Can you believe some of these were drawn on the spot in just a few minutes?

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kcon_winnersWinners of Soompi’s give away raffle.

Convention Overview

Similar to the 2012 convention, KCON 2013 was held in an outdoor venue. Though the sun was shining high and bright, attendees received fans from KCON and vendors to help stay cool.

After passing through ticket check-in, attendees could check out the various fan clubs, sponsors, merchandisers, and food trucks lined across the circumference of the concert hall. The three packed panel tents were scattered away from each, preventing congestion in the main walkway.

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NEXT: Artists up close, panels, workshops, and more!

Artist Engagement

International fans often hear about idol autograph session and Hi-Touch events that occur frequently in Korea, but now they had the opportunity to experience it themselves at KCON!

Attendees were split into three categories depending on their winning card. With a “Hi-Touch card,” you could do a high-five with the artist, and a “signing card” allowed you to get an autograph. To accommodate for the high demand and limited space, KCON offered an “audience card” that gave attendees the chance to view the engagement session and see the idols close up.

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Artist engagement sessions were held with 2AM, Dynamic Duo, EXO, f(x), G-Dragon, and Teen Top. You could easily find fans walking around the convention holding signs asking to trade with others to see their preferred artist.

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Panels and Workshops

Want to learn about what life is like as an idol, writing hit K-Pop songs, creating fan clubs, old school K-Pop, K-drama, K-fashion, and more? KCON has you covered!

The convention brought in a refreshing mix of K-Entertainment experts, artists, and industry professionals to share their knowledge and experience. With 23 panels going on throughout the weekend from 11AM-6PM, there were many special guests to meet and an endless amount of topics to learn about, including: The World of K-DramaVintage K-Pop, Leading Edge K-Fashion, Day in the Life of a K-Pop Artist with Bekah, K-Pop Siblings, How I Became a K-Pop Choreographer.

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“Vintage K-Pop” Panel
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Asian Americans in Hip-Hop” Panel

Our very own soomp moderated the “Vintage K-Pop” panel with hot 90s acts 1TYM‘s Danny, Baby VOX‘s Yumi Cha, and CLON‘s DJ Koo. Soompi’s editor CallMeN00NA also gave a behind-the-scene glimpse of the work process behind reporting K-Pop news in the “Spreading the Goodness of K-Pop” panel.

Panel tents were packed out, and many people had to stand outside to catch a glimpse! One in particular was the “Behind the Scenes of a K-Movie: Final Recipe Feat. Henry” in which fans waited hours ahead in line. As the panel tent filled up early, event staff permitted a large, enthusiastic group of fans to watch from beyond the tent. Now that’s dedication!

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Behind the Scenes of a K-Movie: Final Recipe Feat. Henry” Panel

NEXT: Booths, autographs, and Soompi’s recap video of the event!

Booths and Other Attractions

In between panel sessions, attendees could check out the many booths and vendors. You could grab some goodies and learn more about the fan clubs, sponsors, and vendors supporting KCON. Major sponsors such as Verizon, LG, Nongshim, Hyundai, and Asiana Airlines drew crowds with their contests and give aways.

Mnet’s packed schedule included various activities such as photo zones, message boards, and autograph sessions with Danny, Yoo Seung Woo, and Jjang‘s Jake.

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Autograph Session with 1TYM’s Danny kcon_viki

Viki’s Autograph Session with Actor Sean Richard Dulake

Want more? There was also a day-long dance tent, musical stages, cooking lessons, arts and craft, makeup demonstrations, and many food truck vendors to keep you hydrated and nourished through the busy weekend schedule. We also saw some amazing cosplayers roaming around.

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Concert

KCON drew to a close with the first U.S. edition of Mnet’s M!Countdown. With a mashup of new faces such as Chad Future, Jeff Bernat, former American Idol contestant Heejun Han, and top Hallyu acts, the artists kept the ecstatic audience screaming and cheering throughout the night.

Before the show began, the artists met the press on the red carpet and press conference. Click here for Soompi’s exclusive photos and to watch the complete press conference.

Check out Soompi’s review of M!Countdown What’s Up LA concert, including the highly anticipated collaboration stage between Missy Elliott and G-Dragon, Heejun Han and Yoo Seung Woo’s collaboration, and Crayon Pop’s surprise stage!

Soompi’s KCON video recap:

Thank you to CJ E&M and Mnet America for the production of KCON and inviting Soompi!

Did you attend KCON 2013? What was your favorite part of the convention? Tell us below in the comments!

Images courtesy of CJ E&M. 

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