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KCON Organizers Head To The Middle East For Brand New K-Pop Festival In Abu Dhabi

By Tamar Herman | January 28, 2016 03:26 PM EST

2016 is the year for Middle Eastern K-pop fans who have been waiting anxiously for large-scale K-pop events.

On Thursday, the Korean company CJ E&M announced that it will be taking its K-pop festival, KCON, to the Middle East this year. Abu Dhabi will see its first ever KCON on March 25th.

This is the first time that any major K-pop event is being held in United Arab Emirates, or anywhere in the Middle East.

The move comes at a time as Korean entertainment companies are seeking to find new, international markets for K-pop and other Hallyu (Korean wave) commodities, such as Korean dramas and films.

CJ E&M has not yet verified what acts will be attending KCON Abu Dhabi. K-pop and Korean dramas have been popular throughout the Middle East for several years, with dramas and the music scene overall seen as a more modest alternative to Hollywood productions that is appropriate for the values of many Middle Eastern countries.

In the past, several K-pop acts have held shows in the Middle East, but this is the first time that that a larger event will be held on the sub-continent.

South Korean channel KBS has a Seoul-based station, KBS World Arabic, devoted to its Middle Eastern fanbase. The radio station frequently features interviews K-pop stars.

The UAE event is the first of its kind to be held outside of Asia or North America. A recent report by the Korea Foundation determined that there are more than 35 million fans of K-pop around the globe. 

KCON began in California in 2012, and expanded to the East Coast of the United States, Jeju Island in South Korea, and Japan in 2015.

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Tamar Herman is a multi-media journalist and the co-founder of KultScene. She is a freelance writer and copy editor, and has written for MTV Iggy, Noisey, and Paste Magazine.

Tagged :  KCON, Middle East, uae, united arab emirates

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