KCON LA: Korean Pop-Tradition Competition Wraps on Musical Excessive Observe

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Korean pop-culture fest KCON LA wrapped up an in-person version on Sunday with a second multi-act live performance that largely crammed Los Angeles’ Crypto.com area.

The mania for Korean culture appeared barely diminished by the COVID hiatus, throughout which era the style’s digital natives gathered just about and KCON morphed into KCON:TACT.

The seamless circulate between fandom’s on-line and offline iterations was a dominant function of the conference, held in individual for the primary time since 2019. And organizers Monday confirmed that the three-day conference on the Los Angeles Conference Middle attracted greater than 90,000 actual world guests, plus an additional 7.17 million worldwide by way of video streaming.

“The Asian American neighborhood, they existed 12 years in the past [when KCON started]. They had been at residence. Now they’re in all places. They didn’t have a neighborhood,” mentioned Kevin Woo, a San Francisco-native singer and actor who was skilled and achieved success throughout the Korean expertise system. He’s subsequent heading to Broadway with “K-Pop: The Musical” in mid-October.

At a presentation Friday, Woo talked about his personal journey by way of Okay-Pop and the style’s intense and unceasing fandom. “I envy this technology. You need to use social media, create dance covers [in the U.S.] see them go viral and other people again in Korea watch them.” However Woo additionally confirmed the Korean music’s business’s all-consuming stresses. “You’ve acquired to like the eye. You’ll should sacrifice your personal life for 5 years. Minimal,” he mentioned.

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Kep1er assembly with followers on the KCON LA 2022 conference.

On the conference flooring, these stresses and strains had been largely put apart and changed by a fast-paced succession of fan occasions (idols meet college-age crowds), dance teach-ins and dance competitions, one billed as a ‘Dance Battle Relay,’ and photo-ops galore.

Many conference flooring points of interest featured video know-how that allowed followers to pose just about with stars or to insert themselves into scenes from Korean TV dramas — modern-day equivalents of the distorting mirrors and your face-goes-here cardboard cut-outs from enjoyable festivals and circuses of outdated.

The school-age followers appeared to stretch throughout the U.S.’s racial divides and to joyously embrace a number of elements of South Korean gentle energy. These included cubicles operated by meals and cosmetics corporations.

A two-day Marketing Summit gave KCON LA a more high-minded academic and commercial angle. The sidebar included insightful displays from U.S. college professors and how-to lectures from platforms similar to TikTok meant to assist U.S. companies harness the Okay-wave for themselves.

Occasion organizer CJ ENM additionally used KCON LA to audition U.S. hopefuls for a TV expertise present it is going to launch subsequent 12 months. The present goals to find a brand new international Okay-Pop boy band.

Perplexingly, contemplating its success on the Oscars and at main movie festivals, Korean movie appeared largely sidelined at this 12 months’s conference. That’s one thing CJ ENM sources say could also be remedied in future iterations.

This weekend, nonetheless, music was the prime mover. A warm-up mini live performance on Friday featured KCON debutants Cravity, Lightsum, Stayc and TO1. These new acts will subsequent segue right into a six metropolis U.S. tour.

Saturday’s three-hour present featured Ateez, Cravity, Enhypen, INI, Itzy, Kep1er, Lightsum and Stray Children – plus Bebe Rexha who joined Itzy to carry out “Break My Coronary heart Myself.”

Sunday was lit up by Loona, NCT Dream, NMIXX, P1Harmony, Stayc, The Boyz, TO1 and WJSN. TO1’s set included a canopy efficiency of Psy’s “That That.”

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KCON LA followers and bands on the conference flooring.

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