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Here's What's New at KCON 2018 LA!

By Kaitlin Cunanan | August 29, 2018 01:48 AM EDT

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From August 10 to 12, 2018, Los Angeles was once again home to the biggest and hottest Hallyu celebration in the USA: KCON 2018 LA presented by Toyota! With the increase of K-Pop and Korean culture's popularity, it is no surprise that KCON LA has grown alongside it -- both in the size of KCON's audience with a record-breaking 94,000 attendees, and the sheer amount of things to do! Here's what was new at KCON LA this year:


1. More Hype KLUB KCON Experience!

Last year's Klub KCON was held inside the Concourse Hall, the same room as KCON's Artist Engagements and Red Carpet events, and felt like a music-filled, SF9-fanmeet-slash-prologue to the excitement of the upcoming concerts. This year's Klub KCON was held inside the much larger South Exhibit Hall, creating a lit concert experience of its own! The event was uniquely separated into three sections: K-Hip Hop, K-Performance, and K-EDM. Each section included featured artists: Crush and Dynamic Duo for K-Hip Hop, Momoland and Golden Child for K-Performance, and IN2IT for K-EDM, with rapper Heesun Lee, singer-songwriter Esna, and dancers Ellen and Brian also taking the stage. The hype for this year's Klub KCON was larger than ever before -- and so was the price, with the event being $60 dollars with a convention ticket or $80 alone.

Photo credit: CJ E&M

2. Seeing your idols at Star LIVE TALKS!

Star Live Talk was debuted at KCON 18 NY earlier this summer, resulting in huge crowds and lots of success -- KCON 18 LA was no different! Held on the KCON Stage, Star Live Talk allowed fans without Artist Engagement Packs to see their favorite idols up close -- so you could flirt with Twice's Sana or throw fingerhearts at Chungha without scrambling to find a Hi-touch pass. KCON 18 LA held Star Live Talks with Twice, Momoland, Chungha, and Roy Kim. With Q&A sessions, Relay Dance portions, and many hearts thrown from artist to fan, Star Live Talks were another unforgettable fan experience on the KCON lineup, and a great addition to 2018!

Photo Credit: CJ E&M

3. SUPER ROOKIE SHOWCASE

Completely new to the KCON event lineup is the Super Rookie Showcase! This event was held at the KCON Stage, and provided yet another opportunity to show love to your favs -- or get your heart captured by a new idol! Rookie groups Fromis_9, IMFACT, and IN2IT each had their own showcase, showing off their performance skills and discussing their albums! The event was especially important for IMFACT and IN2IT, who didn't have separate artist engagement sessions. The easy-to-stumble upon KCON stage easily gathered crowds and gave these talented rookie groups a well-deserved chance to shine!

Photo Credit: CJ E&M

4. CJ Startup Challenge!

Spanning a long strip of the Petree Hall were products innovating new ways to transport your cat or prevent yourself from dropping your phone, displayed for KCON attendees' perusal. This was the home of the CJ Startup Challenge, the result of CJ America searching for startups that identify with their vision of providing consumers with "Convenient", "Healthy", and "Happy" lives. The challenge was called "Product 101" at KCON, in homage to the reality TV show Produce 101, where headlining group Wanna One was created. Up to ten finalists were picked to display their products at KCON 18 LA, with CJ America potentially investing up to one million dollars to the one finalist. In the spirit of KCON, the displays included many cute references to Korean pop culture, especially Produce 101.

Photo Credit: KpopStarz

5. Not just a Hallyu Wave -- an Asian Invasion!

While many fans attended KCON to experience culture and see their favorite K-Pop idols, the convention pushed Asian representation as a whole! "Crazy Rich Asians" is the first movie in twenty-five years to feature an all-Asian cast, and its promoting photo-op booth saw many eager faces throughout the weekend. The Shibsibs, or the Japanese-American figure-skating siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, had a packed panel, with KCON attendees lining the walls to see them discuss their experiences as the first ice dancers of both Asian descent to medal at the Olympics. Justine Mae Biticon also made an appearance with a Meet & Greet, and the Filipina-Mexican Instagram baddie turned professional model brought her snark and well-needed Southeast-Asian representation to the table.

KCON 2018 LA brought so many new experiences to fans of Korean culture and beyond, and is constantly growing in size, excitement, and hype. I can't wait to see what 2019 brings! Until next year, KCON!

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