Preview: Toronto K-pop Con

Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con
Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con

I’ve written this preview in my head a thousand times. Well, maybe not a thousand times but definitely a dozen or so times since I first heard that the people behind Pop! Goes the World! were planning on throwing a KCON-style convention – complete with a real, live K-pop concert – in Toronto. You see, I have a history with Pop! Goes the World! and it’s been super fun to watch them grow. What history you ask? I was at their first ever Pop! Goes the World! K-pop dance party (and wrote about it of course), along with a few others over the last three years, and can’t wait to attend the first ever Toronto K-pop Con.

Of course, I’m not just attending. I’m hosting a panel on Korean indie music (more on that later in the article) because it’s near and dear to my heart. But even if I wasn’t, I’d be super excited as it’s going to be huge.

Toronto recently gained the reputation as the “K-pop Capital of North America” when it was the only city to sell enough tickets for the “Unite the Mic” concert in March. And the Toronto K-pop Con – along with the other Korean music-related events happening in the next month – is going to help solidify it. This can only be a great thing for Toronto as the more Korean concerts we host, especially the more we sell out, the more Korean musicians will want to come here.

What’s Toronto K-pop Con?

What? Have you been living on the moon and don’t know what Toronto K-pop Con is? Don’t worry; you know we have you covered. To be brief, it’s a one-day convention and concert (Saturday May 2, 2015 from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm) at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s North Building (225 Front Street West, Toronto) and is presented by Pop! Goes the World, Pledis Entertainment and My Music Taste. But it’s so much more than that.

The Convention

From 11:00 am (doors open at 10:00 am) to the concert starts – plus a film screening from 7:00-9:00 pm for those who are attending the concert – there will be workshops, activities and panels. You can meet YouTube stars from Canada and the U.S., learn K-pop dances, or find out what it’s like to be the brother of a K-pop idol. The keynote speech will be by iDR (Denzil Remedios) who toured, performed, written and produced for some of the world’s most famous artists (including some of your favourite K-pop stars), record labels, companies, tv shows and movies.

Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con
Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con

And of course, you can come to my panel. I’m hosting and moderating a panel called “Korean Indie Music 101,” where you can learn all about Korean indie music. The panel will consist of fantastic – and super knowledgable – special guests to introduce you not only to the wider breadth of Korean music, but also give you an insight into what the Korean music scene is like. Joining me on the panel are Chris Park from Korean Indie, my go-to site when I need some info – or a new band to listen to – on Korean indie music; and Shawn Despres, who was one of my main contacts with Korean indie musicians in Korea (he helped me set up a ton of interviews) as well as being a music writer for publications like Korea Gig Guide and The Japan Times. But that’s not all, I’m also working on getting a surprise special guest (or two) that will bring even more cool knowledge of the Korean indie music scene.

The Marketplace

There will be fan booths, community booths and vendors at the marketplace. You can buy official and fan-made merchandise, check out different fan groups and visit community booths from Korean culture university clubs and festivals. There’s something for everyone here.

The Canadian Dream Stage

The second part of Toronto K-pop Con is the Canadian Dream Stage (from 4:00 – 7:00 pm) in which you’ll be able to see performers like Brian Seo and Keely Valentine, along with various dance crews.

Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con
Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con

The Concert

Yeah, this is definitely the big draw. NU’EST will be performing for all those who bought concert tickets. Doors open at 8:00 pm and the concert starts at 9:00 pm. This is going to be one concert you won’t want to miss… and to help you out… use the discount code “LOVETKC15” to buy your NU’EST concert tickets with a 10% discount.

Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con
Photo courtesy of Toronto K-pop Con

Final Thoughts

This is definitely an event you don’t want to miss and there’s still time to buy tickets (don’t forget to use our discount code when you do!) to it. If you like K-pop and you’re anywhere near Toronto, you’ll want to be at Toronto K-pop Con on May 2nd!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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