Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
KCON 2013!
 

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2013!  This news report covers our trip to KCON 2013 for a huge weekend of KPOP enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium in Los Angeles, California over the weekend of August 24-25, KCON 2013 saw lots of attendees ready to party on with a bunch of dedicated artists, live performances, musical events, cosplay fun, and plenty of opportunities to hang out with fellow Korean Pop fans. Our exciting trip to KCON 2013 starts here!  Coverage you can count on, here at Linus Lam Network News!

Highlights: Various live programming events kept the attendees well-covered throughout the weekend. Artists included 2AM, Dynamic Duo, EXO, f(x), Crayon Pop, G-Dragon, Teen Top, and special guests Henry from Super Junior, Bekah from AfterSchool, Nylon Pink, Missy Elliott, DJ Koo, Yu Seung Woo, Dumbfounded, TOKiMONSTA, and more. Main events, panels and workshops included KCON's Talent Contest, Korean Jongie Jupgi, Cooking Korean Food, Beauty: The KPop Face, World of K-Drama, Art of Remixing and Resampling, Developing KPop Songwriting Skills, YouTube Phenomemon, Leading Edge K-Fashion, Vintage KPop, BCD Tofu House Spicy Tofu Eating Challenge, K-Pop Masquerade, AMN Star Audition, Oppa Debate, Writing the Next Hit K-Pop Song, Evolution of K-Pop, Becoming a K-Pop Choreographer, Making K-Pop Work in America, Building a Successful FanClub, Spreading the Goodness of K-Pop, and more.
Cosplay: This year's trip to KCON saw lots of inspired costumes from numerous KPop bands! Chart-topping displays for this year included characters from Boyfriend, f(x), 2NE1, Big Bang, EXO, Girls' Generation, Crayon Pop, and much more! 
Please check out more cosplay photo coverage from our KCON stock convention archives!
Report: If there's one thing to take away from this year's KCON, it would have to be an apparent disconnect between the fans and whoever or whatever entity is running KCON.  That's not to say KCON wasn't great and exciting.  Surely many staffers went out of their way to make it better than last year's KCON in Irvine.  It's just that this year's event presented a whole new range of problems that could've been addressed much faster if someone had been actually awake and listening.  Much of the frustration probably came from lack of decent answers.  To me, at least, it shows that fusing a volunteer organization with an actual business like MNet probably isn't the best way to evangelize K-Pop in America.  You either go full-professional like SMTown and have all your swag and ticketing organized to a T or you go back to your volunteer roots and make it a sunny food and music festival.

Held in the much friendlier venue, the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium, KCON allowed many attendees to freely walk back and forth to their cars and store purchased items or go out to lunch whenever they felt like it.  Registration was somewhat of a hassle.  Three lines for VIP1, VIP2, and then General Admission were pretty clear, but the speed at which each line started moving was not entirely clear.  At first, possible reasons for VIP1 line taking so long was because of special bags to pick up, but at the end, it was just crowds clogging up the left-hand side where the main entrance was and that affected VIP1 lines.  All attendees were handed three tickets (scratch-offs they called them, but were actually peel-offs) and to many disappointed fans, the enthusiasm died when groups like EXO or f(x) were not doing autographs and many other groups were cut out because of travel delays.  No one is entirely sure what caused so much confusion and frustration with the tickets and that's a real big problem within KCON itself.  The confusion about tickets went even further when fans went around with signs willing to pay money for autographs that never emerged.  The KCON website was atrocious.  It was far too stylish and and less-functional; you had to find the FAQ to get to really important logistical answers to your questions.  Very counter-intuitive.  Most of the updates were dispersed by KCON's constantly teasing Facebook page and then through weekly videos you had to watch; really, who has time for such drivel?  Can't most of that really important information go up on the website like, I dunno, all the other conventions out there?  Food coupons for the food trucks didn't make a whole lot of sense.  In the end, it seemed like kind of a scam to pay more than what the food was really worth.  $5 snack ticket for a $3 snack.  $14 ticket for something realistically worth only $8-10.  Hmmm...

Let's move on to more positive parts of KCON 2013.  The fan booths were really nice; many had varying stock of bracelets, stickers, T-shirts, and other neat things representing their favorite bands like B1A4, Shinee, EXO, Girls' Generation, f(x), and more.  It felt like a college rather than a convention.  Professional dealers included MNet, SMTown, Music Bank, and numerous food bizarres along with food trucks.  Panels and workshops were well-received.  It was nice that VIP1 ticket holders had their own lounge with free drinks and chips.  The outdoor performance stage had a great line-up of additional performing acts like Nylon Pink and After Romeo as well as DJ Koo and the KPop Masquerade.  KPop cosplay had a huge turn-out this year.  The concert itself was crazy and awesome at the same time, featuring amazing acts by G-Dragon, f(x), EXO, Henry from Super Junior, Teen Top, Dynamic Duo, Missy Elliott, Crayon Pop, 2AM, and more.  I was lucky to take my time getting in and finding a really nice spot out of the way of the crowds and getting some nice shots of the performances.  The concert could've done without Chad Future's video intro though.  It was basically a stab at the "haters" he has or something and that just came out really awkward.  Other than that, the concert was fantastic and certainly was worth the cost of the VIP1 price when you consider that most K-Pop concerts don't give you anything more than just a concert.  

There's just so many areas for improvement though, that I'm not even sure KCON itself could fix them.  I think if KCON had just given VIP1 members more generous swag bags, allowance into the VIP Lounge, guaranteed Hi-Touch and Red Carpet access, we would've been much happier.  The whole autograph thing just messes everything up.  As for the VIP2 and general admission, many came away quite fulfilled because they never had to deal with the stress of fighting hard for something that didn't materialize as well as it could've.  I also heard reports from VIP1 members who spent the night in line for the concert only to be broken up by site security ending up in more confusion and frustration.  KCON didn't have any policy about that.  The placement of the food trucks in two areas also didn't make a whole lot of sense.  Why not combine them into one whole area and move the clothing and music booths into their own area?  Placement of the Panels and Workshops booths were scattered, also adding to the traffic.  It didn't seem like the whole layout was well thought out.  At least there were plenty of restrooms.  The one big elephant in the room was the line-up of too many boy bands and not enough girl bands.  The world of K-Pop is huge and to simply ignore a huge number of girl groups, small or large, clouds the vision of what K-Pop is all about.  Many fans were left confused and frustrated when you consider concerts hosted by SMTown and SBS tell you exactly who is coming far in advance.  To make matters worse, the T-Shirts omitted all of the SMTown artists, creating even more chaos amongst the fans.  All of these problems could've been addressed if KCON had better leadership and didn't have to rely on some guy named Hoon on a YouTube channel to hem and haw for 45 minutes.

Being held in Los Angeles was definitely a step up for KCON, but KCON still has a long way to go towards getting to some semblance of what a normal convention actually does and runs like.  We're just not entirely sure if what they're doing is right or have they no experience in running shows like this before.  It would be nice to go back again and hopefully see if KCON can make it a better experience.  I still recommend going to KCON for the ultimate in KPop fandom, but I'd keep my expectations very low.  Go for the over-priced food and amazing concert.  Don't expect much from autographs or other such nonsense.

Come check out more cosplay and events photo coverage from our KCON stock convention archives!

Be sure to visit the next KCON!

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