The Hallyu Wave Crests at KCON 2012
On Saturday, 18 October 2012, hellokpop had the privilege to attend KCON 2012, at the Verizon Ampitheatre in Irvine, California.
KCON 2012 was the first North American convention about everything Korean: the food, the make-up (BB Cream anyone?), the culture, and of course, the Hallyu wave. There were a variety of booths for many different vendors, such as make-up booths, an Asiana Airlines booth, fan club booths (DBSKnights, Code EXO, Soshified, etc.), a CGV cinemas booth, and many more.
The majority of my time was spent in the Artist booth, where VIXX, NU’EST, B.A.P, EXO-M, G.Na, and 4Minute held their autograph and Q & A sessions. The first group to hold their signing and Q&A was NU’EST. They were as cute as we see them in photos and videos. NU’EST is a five-member group, made up of Aron, JR, Baekho, Minhyun, and Ren. One of the members, Aron, is from Los Angeles, so he spoke about how happy he was to be back in California. The artists answered some questions and then were whisked away to rehearse for the concert later that day. The fans were cleared out of the tent, and then the waiting for the VIXX autograph session began.
VIXX is a six-member group, made up of N, Leo, Ken, Ravi, HongBin and Hyuk. At 12:10 PM, the VIXX autograph session along with the Q&A commenced! During VIXX’s autograph session, their music was playing, so during some intervals, some of the members got up and did the choreography to their songs. VIXX did something different than the rest of the artists, they got actually sang Rock Your Body live, and did the choreography to it as well. Ravi spoke the most English out of the VIXX members, which made the K-Pop fan girls and some fan boys scream even louder than usual. The leader of VIXX, N, did a bit of aegyo, which led to his members face-palming and head-desking. Then like all of the other artists, VIXX was whisked away to rehearsal.
The next group that held a fan-signing was B.A.P, a six-member group made up of Bang Yongguk, Zelo, Him chan, Jongup, Daehyun, and Young Jae. The B.A.P fan-signing and Q&A was held a bit later than scheduled, because there were too many people crowding the Artist Tent. There were lots of Baby’s in attendance during this fan-signing, and the day was really hot. So, the boys of B.A.P had KCON volunteers fanning them from behind.
The next artist to hold her autograph session and Q & A was G.Na which I did not manage to attend because I was looking for the illusive EXO-M vouchers. I was very unsuccessful. The biggest problem with KCON was perhaps the voucher system, which everyone I spoke to agreed. In order to get the KCON artist(s) to sign their official merchandise, one needed to have a voucher. Many people (at least the ones that I spoke with) really wanted the EXO-M vouchers, or the B.A.P vouchers, but the vouchers were given out randomly, and only about 100 people were allowed vouchers for each artist-signing event. So, only approximately 600 people received vouchers and were allowed to attend the signing events, which left a lot of people out of the process. Also, some people ended up not even using the vouchers they received, because they weren’t fans of those artists. Some suggested that in the future, perhaps KCON could consider something like a raffle, or even a voucher exchange, so that fans could exchange vouchers they didn’t want to use for vouchers they actually wanted. Nevertheless, it was already an amazing opportunity where the fans could actually get up close to their favorite artistes!
Crowd control was another little issue that caused some minor discomfort to the fans. At 3:30 PM, EXO-M was scheduled to hold their autograph and Q & A session. Their fan-signing was super crazy though, because the people from G.Na’s prior fan-signing couldn’t leave the tent due to the large number of EXO-M fans outside of the tent. The emcee asked EXO-M fans to step back multiple times, but few fans responded until Kris got the microphone and asked all of the fans to take a few steps back.
The screams for EXO-M exceeded all of the previous autograph sessions. All six of the members, Kris, Lay, Lu Han, Xiumin, Chen and Tao, looked surprised that so many of their fans had shown up. During the Q & A, Kris spoke in English, Lay spoke a bit in Chinese, and Kris looked surprised when there was cheering. Kris asked the audience:
“You guys can understand Chinese?”
To which many of the fans replied:
Lay did a heart sign in the middle of the autograph signing, and all of the fans cheered. After EXO-M had their fan-signing, it was discovered that one of the metal barricade poles had been broken, due to so many fans pushing and shoving. The 4Minute autograph and Q & A started at 5:00 PM, but it was already crowded even before it began!
After all of the Q &As were finished, there were still about 2 hours until the actual concert was to begin. I met up with a few of my friends who, as it turned out, had won the Kollaboration portion of KCON, which meant that they would be performing onstage during the concert.
By 5:30 PM, people were already waiting in front of the concert venue, for the gates to open, so that they could rest their tired feet for a bit and then dance the night away to awesome acts. At 7:00 PM, the gates opened and people rushed in and at 7:30 PM, the concert officially started, with a two-song performance by AJ Rafael, and a performance by Dumbfoundead. KCON concert-goers were surprised with a special collaboration effort between Daze47, which is a Korean Electronic Dance Music Group, and the winners of Korea’s Got Talent; a duo that are experts at ‘pop’ dancing.
After the opening acts, it was time for the concert to start! B.A.P opened with No Mercy, followed by What My Heart Tells Me to Do and Crash. It was cute, because after No Mercy, they apologized and said that the other songs that they were performing were not as active as No Mercy. G.Na was next, and she performed 2Hot, the English version of I’ll Back Off so You Can Live Better, and lastly, Black and White. After her performance, she emceed the rest of the KCON concert with Danny from 1TYM or Im Taebin.
VIXX was next with Rock Your Body, U, and Super Hero. NU’EST played Face, Not Over You, and Action. There was a little break in between, where the Kollaboration contest winners at KCON, Andy Le, Brian Le, and Geran Simpson put on a show with their masterful use of tricking and wushu. After the Kollaboration winners performed, EXO-M started off with History, and then performed Angel, What is Love and finally Mama. The last, but certainly not the least, 4Minute, performed Volume Up, Mirror Mirror, HuH, Heart to Heart, and lastly, Hot Issue.
Check out the photos of the event below:
KCON was truly a wonderful one-of-the-kind event that a K-pop fan would want so much badly to attend. All attendees would have agree that they are sure looking forward to more KCON events in the coming years!
Special thanks to MNET for giving hellokpop the opportunity to cover KCON 2012.