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A Weekend in Review: KCON 2018 NY (EXCLUSIVE)

By Kaitlin Cunanan | July 11, 2018 12:12 AM EDT


Another year, another successful KCON! On June 23 and 24, the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ was home to KCON 2018 NY Presented by Toyota, and an audience of over 53,000 attendees. This is the fourth consecutive year of KCON USA's East Coast stop, and was bigger, brighter, and filled with more Korean culture and fun than ever. This year's convention certainly put the New in New York --- here's our overview on the new aspects of this year's KCON18NY!

1. Pre-KCON Mwave Events!

The excitement of joining in the Hallyu wave and interacting with your faves started earlier than ever, with KCON launching a series of (very fortunate!) pre-KCON events through Mwave. Fans could see their votes, submissions, and uploads before KCON weekend flourish into real-life interaction during KCON.

With My Playlist KCON, fans could vote for a song of their favorite attending artist during the May 25 - June 11 event period to be performed on stage at KCON! This fan-voted playlist resulted in EXID performing their booty-shaking hit song DDD. With KCON 2018 NY Fan Awards, fans could name an award for the KCON artist of their choice from May 21 to June 8, with the chosen award presented directly to the artist at their fan engagement session. These ranged from fromis_9 adorably accepting the "Cutest Rookie Group" Award to Wanna One hilariously receiving the "Most Meat Consuming Group" Award.

The most exciting addition to this Mwave KCON Event lineup is the Cover Star K event! Fans uploaded their K-Pop dance cover videos to the Mwave contest and, if chosen as a finalist, performed on KCON's outdoor stage for judges. The grand prize of performing on the stage of the M Countdown Pre-Show went to HARU Dance for their charismatic mashup of Red Velvet's Be Natural and Look --- and they killed it!

These new Mwave events increased the hype for the KCON excitement to come, and led to some unforgettable memories for fans!

2. Artist Engagement Packs!

In the previous years, artist engagement packs came bundled with your concert ticket. This year, concert tickets and artist engagement packs were sold separately (with the exception of Diamond and Platinum tickets) to, in the words of KCONUSA, "provide all of our KCON-ers with more opportunities to see their favorite artist up and close!" While the decision was met with some confusion and distaste from fans, others were pleased that they could splurge (artist engagements!) and save (a nice birds-eye view!) where they wanted to.

KCON also introduced a "Gallery All-Access" pass, which allows you access to all the artist engagement sessions on a given day. Check out the view from the designated Gallery section!

Our review on the Gallery artist engagement pack? Not worth a $45 price tag for a seat where the Hockey House distorts the sound too much to hear Bae Jinyoung's voice clearly, but perfect for days packed with more than one of your ult groups. The convenience of getting to sit down and watch a full day's artist engagements triumphs over the stress of having to trade around Audience passes.

3. STAR Live Talks!

KCON18NY held the worldwide debut of STAR Live Talks! KCON Artists sat on the KCON Stage and answered a host's questions while interacting with fans. This was a great opportunity to see your faves up close and brightly lit, outside of artist engagement sessions or off the concert stage. For the artist-engagement-session-less Super Junior, it was the only opportunity to see them talk comfortably and joke around. They definitely joked around to the fullest extent: many laughs were had over Shindong being chosen as "Most Likely to Compete in the Olympics", and members showing off their marketing skills by selling the KCON Stage microphone as a multi-faceted product.

These STAR Live Talks were also streamed live via Billboard, so you could join in on all the fun whether you were amongst the crowds at the KCON Stage or in front of your laptop screen, clutching your Pentagon Lightstick. They provided a lot of fun moments and were a beautiful addition to KCON's Star-packed schedule.

4. KCON Star Square!

KCON18NY once again amps up their artist engagements with the East Coast debut of the KCON Star Square! The KCON Star Square hosted two "KCONic" events. Fans could take pictures at the Square's four awesome STAR photo zones: Stage M Countdown, Tower Block, Artist Green Room, and Republic of KCON. By posting these photos on social media using chosen hashtags, fans could win a photo op with a KCON Artist! Check out EXID's Star Square appearance here!

Fans could also purchase a "Fan letter kit" from the KCON Merch booth and send a handwritten letter to their favorite group at the Star Square Lucky Fan Letter Box. At the Red Carpet, each group picked out a letter from the box to read and respond. The KCON Star Square provided a lot of fun photo ops for fans, and even more fun for the lucky winners of its events!

5. A New Layout!

With KCON NY in its fourth year, it's seen a good amount of improvement and growth -- with an emphasis on the growth. This year's KCON was filled with more activities, more sponsors, and more fun than ever, and it was all presented with a new and organized layout featuring two zones: a K-Activity Zone and a K-Culture Zone.

The K-Activity Zone held the new KCON Star Square, the Dance Workshop Stage, panels and workshops to interact with KCON's 140+ Hallyu influencers, and the Fan Club. The Fan Club Meeting space was also a new addition to the KCON NY lineup, and presented the perfect space to play fun activities centered on your bias group and make new friends!

The K-Culture Zone held booths from KCON's sponsors, a Beauty Block, the Market, and the KCON Stage. With KCON's sponsors Toyota, Amore Pacific, State Farm, McDonald's, Verizon Fios, Olive Young, Bibigo, Tour les Jours and Asiana Airlines, fans had endless amounts of photo ops, activities, freebies, and opportunities to win artist engagement passes, concert tickets, or even a trip to Korea! In KCON's Beauty Block and Market area, KCON-ers could purchase skincare, makeup, clothing, and K-Pop albums, hitting all the needs of any K-Pop fan.

Outside of these zones, KCON also had a variety of food trucks and booths, with attendees lined up to buy "kimcheese fries" and bubble tea. A Culligan water truck set up allowed for attendees to fill up their water bottles and beat the heat!

All these changes and additions are really just the result of KCON being bigger and better than ever, with more activities, more sponsors, and more Hallyu fun! KCON NY started off the North American KCON bracket powerfully, and we are excited to see how this momentum continues on with KCON LA on August 10 to 12.

Tickets for the KCON Los Angeles will go on sale on July 11 at 10 AM PDT while the convention tickets go up for sale on July 13 at 10 AM PDT.

For more information tickets, lineups and KCON visit

Be sure to follow @KpopStarzLive for updates on KCON USA or live Hallyu event coverage!

Tagged :  Wanna One, Red Velvet, Super Junior, Heize, pentagon, Golden Child


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