KCON 2016 LA Presented by Toyota (kconusa.com) is an event that we’d been highly anticipating this year. Cheryl and I have been going ever since the first one held in Irvine back in 2012. We’ve seen in grow exponentially each year but after covering the event in 2013 one of the things at the top of my wish list for it was the desire to see Korean Indie acts get in on the Hallyu action.
In 2013 KCON started incorporating a convention stage where different activities took place throughout the day(s) along side the panels and workshops. It was primarily used for the cosplay masquerade, dance competitions, Danny From LAsegments and performances from YouTubers such as JuNCurryAhn.
By 2015, KCON brought in CoreMagaZinE to be the opening act for the M Countdown Concert which was HUGE as this was the first year they moved the show to the Staples Center. There’s a high potential that CoreMagaZinE was the first time a lot of Kpop fans ever saw a Korean Indie artist perform live. That’s really exciting to think about!
Flash forward to KCON 2016 LA. The convention stage is indoors in a prime location of the exhibition hall. There’s a performance time slot, Kpop Night Out, dedicated to Korean Indie artists (Dead Buttons, Love X Stereo, and Sultan of the Disco) Day 1 of the convention with Eluphant opening the Saturday concert on Day 2, and Echae En Route performing in the afternoon on Day 3 then as the openers for the Sunday concert.
It was fantastic to see all of the curious Kpop fans find their way to the stage gradually throughout the nearly 2 hours of performances. Each act provided a different feeling so if a the punk rock sound of Dead Buttons wasn’t your style maybe some electro pop songs of Love X Stereo or high energy disco of Sultan of the Disco was your jam. We missed out on Eluphant due to the long lines getting into the Staples Center on Saturday. Echae En Route were particularly impressive having drawn a crowd during the final day of the convention so I wasn’t as bummed to miss them at Staples.
I’m hoping next year that they bring even more Korean Indie artists. Maybe convention stage performances on all three days? How about some artists speaking on a panel? Korean Indie albums made available to purchase at a booth? It’s a great opportunity to showcase a variety of artists and music that don’t necessarily fall under the Kpop umbrella term. There’s a huge risk when Indie acts come out and tour on their own so events curating them to a new set of awaiting fans such as Seoulsonic, CAAMFest, SXSW and now KCON are ideal to help spread the word.
Side note: I personally would die if KCON brought Nell to perform next year.