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

Preview: KCON 2016 Presented by Toyota

Courtesy of KCON

Courtesy of KCON

While I’m personally super bummed to be missing KCON LA this year as I really wanted to attend, don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of coverage for you of this weekend’s event. The lovely Leah – also known as The Zombie Mamma – will be covering the concerts for us, in addition to speaking on four panels (wow!). Yep, not one or two but FOUR panels so be sure to catch her if you have the chance. And my friends and fellow K-indie music lovers, Mirella and Maureen will be interviewing the four groups playing the K-pop Night Out showcase on Friday (more on that later) for us. So, personal disappointment aside, I’m happy that ATK Magazine will have so much coverage for our lovely readers… stay tuned for it after KCON.

But I co-opted my editor’s position to write this preview article because there’s so much I would want to do and see if I was attending, so our preview is a little love letter to what I’m missing.

I attended KCON two years ago, as both press and a guest (I spoke on one panel, it was supposed to be two but one was cancelled) and I was amazed at all there was to see and do. Beyond the concerts – obviously the major draw – and all the fan engagement activities, there’s a whole convention to explore. Of course we’ll talk about the artists and the concerts but KCON is more than just a concert so be prepared for a weekend filled with fun food and friends.

K-pop Night Out showcase

I’m a big fan of the K-pop Night Out showcase at whichever festival or convention it plays (I’ve seen it at South by Southwest and Canadian Music Week) as they always put together an interesting mix of bands and artists. So, of course, this would be the first thing I would recommend to all KCON goers. The KCON’s K-pop Night Out (at 2 pm on Friday) will feature Love X Stereo, Sultan of the Disco, Dead Buttons and Eluphant. I’ve seen the first two perform and loved their shows. Plus I’d love to see Dead Buttons and Eluphant. Go see them, seriously!

Courtesy of KCON

Courtesy of KCON

The Marketplace/KCON Food Street

I love shopping and food so both the marketplace, which will feature start-ups and innovative businesses from Korea, and the KCON Food Street are two parts of KCON that I wouldn’t miss. The KCON Food Street has free entry and an absolute ton of fun options to try – just looking at the link was making me hungry so check it out! For more details, click here. If you ever wanted to make me jealous, just tell me about all the delicious food you tried.

The Panels

As a former panelist and someone who knows several panelists at this year’s KCON, I can wholehearted recommend the panels. There is literally something for everyone from a Korean Skincare panel to Uncovering Korean Indie Music to From K-pop Fan to K-pop Professional (part 1 & 2) – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can also meet YouTubers, participate in dance workshops and so much more. Don’t forget to drop by the Beauty Block either.

Flower Boy Cafe | Courtesy of KCON

Flower Boy Cafe | Courtesy of KCON

Klub KCON and Flower Boy Cafe

I’ll be the first to admit that both intrigue me. First, DEAN and Amber will both be at Klub KCON which sounds fun. But the Flower Boy Cafe sounds like such a guilty pleasure – a time to indulge in a fantasy of being in a flower boy drama for an hour. And come on, what K-drama lover wouldn’t want that?! So grab a delicious beverage and enjoy time with the flower boys.

Lee Min Ho | Courtesy of KCON

Lee Min Ho | Courtesy of KCON

Special Guests

Lee Min Ho. Do I need to say anything else? Seriously though, Lee Min Ho, along with Davichi and Turbo will make a special appearance during this year’s event so you’ll want to catch them if you can.

DEAN | Courtesy of KCON

DEAN | Courtesy of KCON

Finally, who’s performing?

Okay, I’m sure you already know who’s performing in the Saturday and Sunday night concerts but it’s definitely still worth mentioning. The official lineup for Saturday has Block B, DEAN, F(Amber), GFRIEND, I.O.I, and SHINee rocking the stage. Sunday’s lineup features ASTRO, BTS, Eric Nam, Girl’s Generation-TTS, Monsta X, and Twice. K-pop may not be my thing but I’d love to see DEAN again and my K-pop loving friends say both lineups rock. Who are YOU most looking forward to?

SHINee | Courtesy of KCON

SHINee | Courtesy of KCON

Final Thoughts

There’s just so much happening at KCON that it doesn’t matter what your interest is, there’s something – or more probably, several somethings – to enjoy. From music to food to shopping to panels – it’s going to be a blast. Man, I wish I was going! Beyond the concerts, what are you want to see or do?

We want to hear what you think!