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An online magazine about Korean culture, food and hallyu based in Toronto, Canada

Review: HallyuCon 2012

Poster courtesy of TKMG

Poster courtesy of TKMG

Dear Korean music companies,

Hello, I’d like to introduce you to the Toronto Korean Music Group (TKMG) and the K-pop fans in Canada. We love Korean music here in Canada just as much as they do in America or the UK but we often seem to be forgotten. Please don’t forget us; we really want to support you and attend K-pop concerts! And just to show you how much we love K-pop in Canada, I want to tell you about a recent event that was organized by TKMG, in association with KOFICE.

Why do I want to tell you about this event?

It will show you more than anything why you need to hold more K-pop concerts and events in Canada.

This is the scene that greeted me when I arrived

This is the scene that greeted me when I arrived

HallyuCon 2012

HallyuCon 2012 was a volunteer organized and run event put on by the wonderful (and young) crew behind TKMG. With the help of KOFICE, they put together a K-pop fan event – run by fans, with fan performances, and for fans – in just two months. In December. In Canada! Which is definitely not the best time of year for events in Canada as the weather is cold and unpredictable.

The crush of people was amazing!

The crush of people was amazing!

But despite all the challenges – wrong time of year (student exams), bad weather forecasted, on a Sunday, short time-frame to get ready, new event – it was a wonderful success. Actually, with more than 500 people (and from the crowd I saw, that number might be conservative) attending, it was amazing!

I waited almost 10 minutes just to get this close.

I waited almost 10 minutes just to get this close.

When I arrived a little after it started, the venue – the Korean Canadian Cultural Association (KCCA), was already packed. There were huge line-ups at every booth, lots of fans milling around and chatting with each other, every chair was filled with people waiting for the performances… in short, everyone was having fun. The only complaint I heard – either during the event or after – other than people not being able to make it that day, was that some of the booths run out of fan merchandise. The demand was just that great! A lot of K-pop merchandise and CDs are hard to find here unless you have a credit card and can order online – which most of the younger fans can’t – so this was a fabulous way for them to see and buy K-pop stuff they might not have had access to otherwise. I know I was tempted to buy stuff!

Don’t believe me? Check out this great video shot by EARS Online.

As I wandered around, taking in the friendly atmosphere and taking pictures, I had a huge smile on my face seeing K-pop fans of all ages and races come together for such a fun event. In addition to the 10 fan booths, there were also booths by The Face Shop, Rockstar Canadian Paintball Team, Pop! Goes the World! and a volunteer booth giving out food from Nongshim.

The Face Shop booth - they gave out free samples ^^

The Face Shop booth – they gave out free samples ^^

It wasn’t all fan booths though; there were performances throughout the afternoon by both dance groups and singers. The performers were Ottawa Hallyu Dance Team, Mitzi, Lillian Jia, Mixed Seouls, Angel, Brian Seo and Alexandra Porat. It was hard to say who was the fan favourite as they were all so good.

Performances were about to start

Performances were about to start

But it was truly the fan booths that were the focus of attention! There were booths for the following groups: EXO, SHINee (SHINee World Canada), SHINee (SHINee Forums International), Block B, Girls Generation, Super Junior, Infinite, MBLAQ, and one for all of YG Entertainment. There was also a general K-pop fan merchandise booth. All of the booths were completely mobbed the entire time I was there but I was impressed by how friendly everyone was and how little pushing there was.

The YG booth ^^

The YG booth ^^

Now Canadian K-pop fans know there are lots of us here and we know that we could support a big concert – Big Bang… why didn’t you come? T.T – but I think even the organizers were surprised by the sheer number of people that showed up for HallyuCon 2012. It was amazing to see. I’d like to congratulate the TKMG and KOFICE for a wonderfully successful fan-run event. It certainly showed that K-pop love is alive and well in Toronto.

In closing, I would just like to stress to all the Korean music companies that you do have a market in Canada… especially in Toronto. You really should come and see us! We would dearly love to see all of you.

We want to hear what you think!