KCON USA, the world’s largest Korean culture convention and music festival, presented by Toyota, posted a record-setting attendance number in the East Coast. KCON 2018 NY took place June 23 and 24 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, and drew an audience of more than 53,000. The event also set a new record notching the highest livestream viewer counts on its platform, Mwave, for the event.
This year, concert tickets to see K-pop artists EXID, fromis_9, Golden Child, Heize, NCT 127, Pentagon, Red Velvet, Stray Kids, Super Junior and Wanna One sold out in under 10 minutes, causing organizers to change the stage layout and open up more seats. These additional seats ultimately sold out as well.
The convention continued to be a 360-degree immersion into Korean culture, with more than 90 programs including dance workshops, panels, performances and a showcase of the leading Korean food and beauty brands. KCON 2018 NY marked the largest K-beauty presence to date, with the top K-beauty brands Olive Young, LANEIGE, Mamonde and Innisfree under the Amore Pacific umbrella joining the K-Culture marketplace.
Fans who couldn’t make it to the convention were in luck as the event was livestreamed to audiences worldwide. Billboard livestreamed a special STAR Live Talk exclusively onto their YouTube and Facebook pages while the Red Carpet was livestreamed through KCON USA’s own Twitter account. The concerts streamed on Mwave sponsored by McDonald’s gathered more than 100,000 viewers, the highest number for KCON NY since its inauguration in 2015. These KCON 2018 NY livestreams garnered more than one million views in less than 24 hours.
Among the fans present was none other than NBA star Jeremy Lin, proving how K-pop’s fandom spreads far and wide. Lin made a surprising appearance on the red carpet and stopped to do a meet and greet with fans.
KCON 2018 NY over delivered on programming this year with a wide variety of booths and panels for festival goers. This year’s lineup and program strengthened KCON’s value and identity as a true fan festival by expanding artist engagement programs and giving even more power to the fans. In addition to multiple appearances by the artists on the show floor and in meet and greets, fans were invited to participate in producing the event through various interactive online events. Through Mwave’s series of KCON events, fan voting helped select some of the songs performed during the concerts and artists received awards created by the fans.
Sponsors for KCON 2018 NY included Toyota, Amore Pacific, State Farm, McDonald’s, Verizon Fios, Olive Young, Bibigo, Tour les Jours and Asiana Airlines. More than 80 local booths enjoyed thousands of patrons lined up for their food and merchandise which sold out on the first day of the event.
On August 10-12, KCON 2018 USA will continue as it returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center and Staples Center. Concert tickets go on sale on July 11 and convention ticket sales open on July 13. Additional details including star-studded lineup are being announced in the coming weeks.