Last weekend, California was treated to K-CON, a convention slash concert celebrating all things Hallyu (that is, the rising popularity of South Korean entertainment such as Korean music, dramas and movies). Held on Saturday, October 13 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, ticket prices ranged from $40 to $120.
K-CON is heralded as the first large scale convention dedicated to the hallyu wave, the full day event ranged from celebrity panels, contests, autograph signing and fan workshops. The event was produced by Mnet, a youth entertainment brand whom are the only television network in the US for fans of Asian pop culture that is in English.
At the end of the day, a star-studded concert involved K-Pop acts such as 4Minute, VIXX, EXO-M, G.NA, Nu’est, B.A.P, as well as LA based musicians and youtube celebrities dumbfoundead and AJ Rafael.
Panels involved professional advice on songwriting and becoming a K-Pop idol; K-Pop dance and fashion; talks with successful K-Pop FanClub organizers and YouTube Celebrities. Workshops involved Korean food culture and etiquette; live cooking demonstrations, tips on getting the look of your favourite K-Pop idol and the fundamentals of dance and choreography.
Also launched was MCube, an interactive digital portal concerning all things Asian for web and mobile. Live content was streamed via MCube for those unable to attend K-CON. Popular LA based Korean food trucks Seoul Sausage, Kogi Beef, Bun Truck, and CJAsian Dining operated at the convention.
As mentioned previously, the highly anticipated concert acts included:
4Minute are a five member South Korean girl group signed by Cube Entertainment in 2009. Rapper and vocalist HyunA is well known for her role in PSY’s hit "Gangnam Style". Check out their gothic inspired music video for this year’s comeback single “Volume Up”, the set of which reportedly cost $132,538 USD to construct.
VIXX are a six member rookie South Korean boy band signed by Jellyfish Entertainment. The members were all finalists on Mnet’s reality show 'Mydol'. Check out the super fun MV for their debut song “Super Hero”.
Six member group EXO-M are a subunit of SM Entertainment’s EXO. The subunits EXO-K and EXO-M simultaneously promote their tracks in South Korea and China with EXO-M singing in Chinese Mandarin. I’m loving the epic story-like introduction to their debut single “MAMA”.
G.NA is a Korean-Canadian singer under Cube Entertainment who debuted in 2010. Originally she was to debut as leader of a five member girl group under Good Entertainment which disbanded due to financial troubles. While the other members have since debuted under various girl groups, G.NA ’s strong presence and vocals led to her releasing as a solo artist. This is her MV for the emotionally infused “I’ll back off so you can live better” which she has recently released an English version of.
Five member South Korean boy group NU'EST are a rookie group signed under Pledis Entertainment. Their musical style has been described as 'urban electro'. Composed by Swedish songwriter Daniel Bergman, their catchy debut single “FACE” aimed to spread the awareness of bullying in schools as was promoted by a NU’EST bus driving around Seoul.
B.A.P are a six member rookie group signed under TS Entertainment whose promotions started late last year. They are already well known for their manly image, well-choreographed dance moves and hip-hop influenced music. Since January, they have already released three EPs and one full length album. MTV Korea has described their debut single “Warrior” as ‘powerful and charismatic’.
dumbfoundead is an Argentine born American entertainer of Korean descent currently residing in LA, California. He is known for his affiliation with Los Angeles based hip hop collective Project Blowed and has participated in the rap battle league Grind Time, his first battle achieving some of the highest number of views for its era. He has also collaborated with Korean artists Epik High and Jay Park.
AJ Rafael is a popular American youtube celebrity of Filipino descent. He first started posting videos on youtube in 2006 and since has over 400,000 subscribers and over 90,000,000 views of his videos. He is involved in the charity “Music Speaks”, and runs his own annual autism benefit concert as his cousin has autism. Here is the video for “Five-Hundred Days”, off his 2011 debut album. This smooth song is based on the movie "500 Days of Summer" which can be seen in his beautiful and cinematic MV.
The other panelists/performers included:
Blue Whale Brothers, fresh off winning the second season of “Korea’s Got Talent” bringing with them their famous dance moves.
Danny Im, a veteran K-Pop idol formerly of group 1TYM and currently hosting Mnet’s new TV series Danny from LA.
Simon and Martina from Eat Your Kimchi, a popular youtube channel on K-pop and life in Korea
David Yi , a New York-based fashion writer, stylist, and on-air correspondent; Sena Yang ( (SENA) fashion designer, Jen (aka From Head To Toe ), a renowned internet beauty and lifestyle blogger and Jeff Yang, a journalist for Wall Street Journal
Young-Hu Kim, a producer for SM Entertainment
Peter Rocks, a prominent K-Pop producer who has worked with Far East Movement and is a producer for Jungle Entertainment and M.I.B
Bibimbap Backpackers, five friends who set off on a globetrotting to promote bibimbap all over the world.
As well as Duane Adler; Eric Hetzel; Korean DJ Daze47