North America’s largest K-pop convention celebrates its 5th year with over 76,000 attendees at KCON 2016 Presented by Toyota in LA. The event spanned over 3 days with the daytime convention comprised of three main elements: beauty, food and gaming. Throughout the weekend, attendees were able to experience Korean pop culture through panels, beauty makeovers, food and dance workshops and more. The convention also featured two nights of performances, bringing a variety of musical acts from some of the hottest idol groups like Twice and BTS to solo acts such as f(x)’s Amber and Dean.
APA attends KCON LA 2016 and shares some of the event’s most memorable moments.
Augmented Reality Booth
Ever wanted to meet your favorite K-pop celebrities? The Augmented Reality area allowed fans to “interact” with popular idols like dancing with Big Bang on stage or cuddle with AOA on a couch. Some girls couldn’t help but shyly smile when “G-Dragon” laid on the couch to rest his head on their laps. Best of all, these moments were captured and printed out for fans to keep the photos as souvenirs.
The Beauty Block featured a plethora of Korean cosmetic brands for attendees looking to get in on the Korean skincare and makeup routine. Overwhelmed by the options? Not a problem, as visitors who lined up received high quality samples to try out. Moreover, attendees were able to receive makeovers and even receive tips from the pros. The area even held a photo area with cute props and beauty lighting to ensure visitors looked their best.Bibigo:At Bibigo’s workshop, attendees learned how to make one of Korea’s most recognized dishes, bibimbap, translated into English as “mixed rice.” Explaining how simple and nutritious the dish is, a chef led the workshop and visitors were able to whip up a bowl of their own bibimbap to take home for a delicious meal later.
Panel with Korean drama director Won Suk Kim
Director of some of Korea’s most popular dramas including “Signal,” “Misaeng,” “Monster,” and “Sungkyunkwan Scandal,” Won Suk Kim shared insight into the challenges of becoming a director and compared the process to in the US. In the US, aspiring directors start small and work their way up, but in Korea, they must pass a rigorous exam to become a director. He also shared tidbits from his personal life such as being in a band before becoming a director. Drama fans also learned some interesting behind the scenes stories about filming show like how the first day of shooting “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” was terrible due to heavy rain, causing a lead actress to develop rashes.
Panel with YouTuber Go Toe Kyung
Go Toe Kyung is a pharmacist by day and comedic YouTuber by night, creating dance cover parodies of idol group songs. Making videos to relieve stress, Toe Kyung watches idol dances over and over, so he can perform his own creative and silly rendition. Fans were thrilled to see him perform live, singing Zico’s “Boys & Girls” and dancing to BTS’ “Save Me.” During the Q&A, he revealed his favorite male idols were Zico, Rap Monster, Chanyeol and Xiumin, though he had a difficult time deciding.
Running Man is an SBS variety show that is incredibly popular internationally and the US is no exception. This area was manned by dedicated fans, recreating games for visitors to experience some of Running Man’s most recognized games such as the human-sized Tetris game with a stuffed tiger sitting on top of the tower instead of cast member Ji Hyo Song.
1Million Dance Workshop
KCON invites some of the top choreographers from 1Million Dance studio to meet and dance with attendees. Fans performed their favorite choreographers’ routines and whoever was able to perform best got the opportunity to learn some moves from the team. The workshop turned out to be one of the most interactive at KCON with choreographers and fans alike having a great time together.
Flower Boy Cafe
KCON introduces its first ever Flower Boy Cafe. As you can guess, it’s a cafe with flower boys, lots of them. Guests were served by an array of handsome hosts with different concepts like cute, sexy or boy-next-door. With so many things going on at KCON, attendees were able to slow down and relax at the Flower Boy Cafe, enjoying some coffee while chatting with good-looking guys. Seems kind of like something straight out of a K-drama, right?
“Chocolate abs” is another term coined in the Korean language for six-pack abs. And with shirtless men being a requirement in K-dramas, it’s no surprise that DramaFever created their own tanks with chocolate bars on them. Where DramaFever went above and beyond is bringing models to sport their new gear… and reveal their actual “chocolate abs” while taking photos with fans.
Surprise Star Appearances
Surprising attendees, idols randomly appeared during the day convention, causing a bit of chaos of excitement. Some appearances include Eric Nam taking photos with winners at the Toyota booth and Monsta X greeting fans at the O Shopping booth.
Concert Collaboration Stages
KCON held two concerts featuring 12 artists with each performing their hottest tracks. What makes the KCON concerts unique are its special stages and collaborations. On concert day 1, Dean performed “Pour Up” with Zico and Zico also performed his solo track “Boys & Girls” with fellow Block B member U-Kwon. Later, Amber performed “Shake That Brass” with I.O.I’s Chungha. Finally, Astro and GFRIEND joined Turbo on stage to perform the group’s “Twist King” and Jong Kook Kim’s “Loveable.” The collaboration was such a hit that even all the older attendees couldn’t help but dance along.
On day 2, Eric Nam performed his latest track “Can’t Help Myself” with Astro’s Jin Jin and even performed a duet “I Just Wanna” with Amber. Also, the groups prepared English covers with Twice performing Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” while Monsta X performed Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.”
Before the concert, APA stopped by the red carpet and snapped some photos of the KCON lineup. Check out our photos below!
Photos by Catherine Han & KCON