The Hallyu Wave: KCON

By Avery Souders

All respective fandoms have their own events, such as Comic-con or Anime Expo, so why shouldn’t K-pop fans have their own convention? KCON is hosted every year in multiple countries, like the United States, France, Japan, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and more; making it accessible for all fans to experience the Korean Wave up close and in person!

A quick background on KCON: First held in 2012, KCON is described as “the one place where every element of Hallyu encompassing pop music, TV dramas, movies, fashion, food, and beauty can be experienced and celebrated" (KCON USA). Since then, it has grown immensely, hosting the convention for up to five full days! There is an abundance of activities to participate in and prizes to win!

KCON gives you the ability to meet with Hallyu stars, like actors and singers. They are part of different events at the convention that give fans the opportunity to interact with them or watch live performances. It is not only stars who come to KCON, YouTubers are also in attendance, such as JREKML, JunCurryAhn, Edward Avila, and Heyitsfeiii; just to name a few. The  YouTuber’s and K-drama stars will be in panels of various topics and K-pop groups will perform at the concert that is held later in the day.

This convention not only brings along fans’ favorite celebrities, but brands and foods as well that would not normally be available in certain countries otherwise. Fans have the opportunity to attend hi-touch events, meet and greets, workshops, and more! There is something for everyone!

Now, how does all of this tie in with globalization, you ask? Well, this is another way in which South Korea is able to spread their culture into other countries. By having fans attend events such as KCON, the brands and celebrities that make an appearance gain more recognition. Anyone can participate! KCON was not always able to be hosted in such diverse countries, but with the help of globalization, the expansion of KCON has been possible, allowing the Korean Wave to grow as well. Just last year, KCON had its largest attendance yet with 147,000 people at the NYC and LA conventions.

KCON 2019 in NYC will be held at Madison Square Garden and Javits Center, in LA it is at the Staples Center and LACC.

If you have ever attended KCON, what was your most memorable experience there? If you haven’t gone, what would you hope to do while there, or what would you want to see?

For more about the Hallyu Wave, check out The Hallyu Wave: What Is It Exactly? and The Hallyu Wave & the Influence of Social Media!

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Written by Avery Souders

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