Preview: Toronto Kpop Con

Posters courtesy of TKC
Posters courtesy of TKC

While I’m sure many of you are already aware of Toronto Kpop Con (TKC), I’m writing this preview because we have some exciting news to share. Yay! But first up, let’s talk about TKC itself. What is it? When is it? Why should you go? These are just some of the questions we’re going to answer for you!

What’s happening at Toronto Kpop Con?

This will be the second year for TKC (I’m too lazy to keep writing Toronto Kpop Con so I’m going to stick with TKC for the remainder of the article ^^) and they’re back with an expanded line up of fun and excitement for all your K-pop and Hallyu needs. 2016 brings a three-day convention with not one, not two, but four K-pop acts in attendance, all for the first time in Toronto. It’s happening over the May long weekend – from Friday, May 20th to Sunday, May 22nd.

Friday night fans will see a VIXX fan meet (limited tickets still available), Saturday fans can catch GFRIEND (tickets still available) and GOT7 (sold out!) and Sunday brings DAY6 (tickets still available) and another sold out GOT7 fan meet. Wow, there are a lot of GOT7 fans in Toronto!

But it’s not just about K-pop or the fan meets! There’s a whole convention to explore with two full days of panels, YouTube meet & greets, games, a Canadian Dream stage, exhibitors and more.

And ATK Magazine will be there! So we think you should be too! ^^

Image courtesy of TKC
Image courtesy of TKC

Which panels are we on?

Both myself (Cindy) and Leah will be attending, although Leah will be there for another publication. But we love her and her K-drama articles so we’re going to hype up her panel up too.^^ Want to know what we’ll be talking about? Of course you do! Keep reading to find out all the details. And please, if you’re attending, come to our panels and say “hi”. We love hearing from you.

I’m hosting the Korean Indie 101 panel and participating on the Not Just Fangirls: Women in Hallyu Media panel – both of which are on Sunday.

Leah will be participating on the “Plight of the International K-Pop Fan” panel, also on Sunday. Hm, Sunday is definitely the day to catch us!

What are our panels about?

Korean Indie 101

My panel is an introduction to Korean indie music. The panelists come from different backgrounds – two are Korean indie musicians, two are writers, and the last is a publicist and radio host – but all are excited to talk about the Korean indie music scene and hopefully, introduce you to some great music. I chatted with Shawn (one of the panelists) last Sunday on his radio show, Sounds from the Korean Underground, about the panel if you want to know more… and hear some great Korean indie music.

Not Just Fangirls: Women in Hallyu Media

Just like the first, the participants come from different backgrounds but all are women who work in or with hallyu media. We’ll be talking about our experiences, some of the challenges and other aspects of being media… and perhaps a fan too.

Plight of the International K-Pop Fan

Leah’s panel will talk about the difficulties being an international fan of hallyu and will deal with the troubles of waiting for subtitles, not having a lot of friends (or any) who like/understand K-pop and living far from good Korean food, among other things.

My panel at TKC 2015 with the fabulous Annie, Bernie, Chris and Shawn
My panel at TKC 2015 with the fabulous Annie, Bernie, Chris and Shawn

Korean Indie 101

I’m going to tell you a little more about this panel because it’s my baby and the second year I hosted it. This year there are five people on the panel – two who will be participating in person and three who’ll be Skyping in. I’ll be the moderator, just like last year, but you already know me so let’s learn a little about the panelists.

All bios are courtesy of the fabulous panel members themselves. ^^

Shawn Despres

Image courtesy of Shawn Despres
Image courtesy of Shawn Despres

Shawn Despres is the host of Sounds from the Korean Underground, a radio show that airs on Sunday nights on 93.3 CFMU in Hamilton, ON and aims to highlight the wealth of talent in South Korea’s indie scene. He also works as an overseas tour booker and English publicist for Korean indie acts. To date, he has worked internationally with Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, Goonam, Gate Flowers, Crying Nut, Jambinai, Dead Buttons, Patients, Asian Chairshot, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio, Smacksoft, EE, Victim Mentality, Juck Juck Grunzie, and MFBTY. He was also the international publicist for the 2015 edition of Zandari Festa – South Korea’s largest music showcase festival.

Tamar Herman

Tamar Herman
Image courtesy of Tamar Herman

Tamar discovered Korean music when in high school looking for background noise that she wouldn’t be able to sing along to. Half a decade later, she’s spent time living in Seoul and earned a degree in East Asian Studies. Nowadays, Tamar is writing about K-pop for Billboard’s K-Town column while also running the creative content site KultScene with a few friends. Her ramblings can be seen @tamar_herman on Twitter.


Image courtesy of Jenna Rowe
Image courtesy of Jenna Rowe

Owner and editor at large of Rock ‘N Seoul, Jenna attended the Institute of Production & Recording and has a degree in Entertainment and Music Business. Her passion for Korean music started in 2002 when she found an Lee Jung-Hyun album at a local Korean shop and that, as they say, is all she wrote. Jenna also writes for YAM Magazine – an international magazine focusing on media all around the world. She can often be found exploring the world wide web for new music, checking out local shows, or frantically trying to help bands promote and book shows.

Jeff & Trash from …Whatever That Means

Image courtesy of …Whatever That Means

Jeff (guitar/vocals) and Trash Moses (bass/vocals) play in the Seoul-based melodic punk rock band …Whatever That Means, which originally formed in 2009 as a one-off project band for the punk show celebrating their wedding. Since then, they have spent more than seven years building a reputation as a hardworking DIY band and were described by Alternative Press Magazine (USA) as, “the pop-punk face of the Korean music scene.” The band has toured throughout Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore and is currently planning their second US tour for this summer in support of their new split 7″ record, “Blowing Minds & Melting Faces,” with Seattle punk rock band Burn Burn Burn. Jeff and Trash also operate the record label/concert promoting venture World Domination, Inc. as a part of their efforts to support Korean bands in the punk, ska, and hardcore scene.

Final Thoughts

While K-pop isn’t totally my thing, other than my well-documented love affair with Big Bang, as I’m more into Korean indie music (hence my panel ^^) I’m really looking forward to seeing DAY6. And beyond the music, and our panels of course, I’m looking forward to the other panels. It’s always fun to hear about the experiences of others in the Hallyu community and you never know when you might learn something fun or make a new friend. So please, come out to our panels and of course, say “hi” if you do! I love chatting with our lovely readers because you guys rock!!

Are you attending TKC? What are you looking forward to most?

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.

2 thoughts on “Preview: Toronto Kpop Con

  • May 19, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Yay!! So exciting! 🙂 I’ll see if I can come by and say Hi! My sister has been insisting to go to Kcon this year to see merch and stuff. now i know the panels, maybe we’ll go! 🙂

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