(Photo : Leah Westbrook For KpopStarz)
Though it’s been 2 weeks since KCO N 2016 LA presented by Toyota descended upon downtown Los Angeles, the events of that weekend remain bright in the memories of those who attended. With three days chock full of panels, workshops, meet & greet sessions with some of YouTube’s brightest stars, the convention itself had much to offer. But the fun didn’t stop there. With a convention hall crammed with vendor booths, there was so much see, do, sample and experience it took the convention’s full three days to get through. One of the biggest draws of the convention hall was the stage set up at its center. Here convention goers could take part in various games, sit in on various beauty and fashion demonstrations, enjoy performances by several popular YouTubers, and even got to enjoy a 2-hour long concert showcasing some of Korea’s hottest indie bands, including Love x Stereo, Sultan of the Disco and Dead Buttons. Another of the convention hall’s most visited spots was the Flower Boy Cafe. The first of its kind at any KCON, the Flower Boy Cafe offered those with tickets the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the convention for an hour and unwind with a hot cup of coffee, brought to the table by a handful of handsome young men. Charming guests with their warm smiles and friendly conversation, the Flower Boy Cafe was one of the convention’s most talked about events. For those looking to get away from the crowds at the convention hall, the various panels and workshops offered throughout the weekend were a good place to turn. With topics ranging from K-Pop’s LGBT Fandom, to Queering the Family in and Through K-Dramas, Conversations with K-Drama Writers, to exploring the Secret Life of K-Pop Fans Over 30, the panels offered at this year’s convention were as abundant and varied as any Hallyu lover could wish for. Knowing panels aren’t for everyone, KCON offered convention-goers looking for something a bit more hands-on a plethora of Hallyu related workshops. With subjects as wide and varied as the convention’s panels, guests could experience Korean cooking with Bibigo, learn some of the latest K-Beauty trends and even have the chance to make their own fansigns. While the convention itself took place indoors, for those willing to brave the brutal Los Angeles heat, an entire street, lined with food trucks and other vendors, stood ready to welcome the hungry masses. Offering everything from bibimbap to BBQ, mochi cheese fries to sushi tacos, KCON’s Food Street was a food-lover’s dream come true. (Photo : Leah Westbrook For KpopStarz) Adding to the convention’s already impressive schedule of events, KCON offered attendees the chance to meet some of their favorite Hallyu stars throughout the weekend. One of the convention’s most sought after events were the artist engagements, where for a few precious moments, fans could either take part in a rare high-touch or watch the event from the sidelines. Either way offered fans an up-close encounter with some of K-Pop’s brightest stars. The convention’s 2 Red Carpet events were another way for fans to get an up-close glimpse of all their favorite Hallyu stars. With these events scheduled on Saturday and Sunday night, fans in possession of a Red Carpet pass were treated to an idol-filled hour in which stars could interact with their fans in a much more intimate setting. As each artist or group walked the Red Carpet, they would stop on-stage to smile, wave and answer questions asked by the evening’s MC, Danny Im. Promising attendees the biggest and best KCON yet, KCON 2016 LA didn’t disappoint. With a 3-day schedule jam-packed with events and activities, the convention made the trek to sunny California worthwhile. The convention’s 2 M Countdown concerts were, if you’ll pardon the cliche, simply the icing on the cake.