KCON 2016 NY Presented by Toyota was back again for its second year in Newark, New Jersey! Produced by CJ E&M, the two-day convention was held at Prudential Center on June 24 and 25, 2016. Fans from the east coast got to meet the hottest K-pop acts through two nights of M! Countdown concerts, produced by South Korea’s very own Mnet. KCON emphasizes getting bigger and better each year, and that is absolutely true! Not only did KCON venture into hosting in more countries like Japan, U.A.E (Abu Dhabi), and France (Paris), the music festival is also bringing more new artists into the U.S. from coast-to-coast.
Artists who graced the red carpet and stages for the first night include Ailee, BTOB, SEVENTEEN, Crush, and Dynamic Duo. Not forgetting to mention, ZE:A member and actor Im Siwan and actress Park Bo Young were also tasked with the role of being special MCs during the night. Not only did the English speakers of the idol groups engage their fans in a language they were familiar with, we also heard SEVENTEEN’s The8 catering to Chinese fans in Mandarin. The M! Countdown concert was also broadcasted live through KCON TV, while fans are also expecting it to air on the official Mnet channel in weeks to come.
Let’s get right into the surprises.
Even before KCON NY officially started, SEVENTEEN members made a special appearance at Klub Kcon the evening before. Many had guessed Crush or Dynamic Duo to be the guests, but who would have known these twelve young boys would appear at the Klub?
Did you think you could only see the idols at the concert? The Kpop celebrities definitely had fans lining up outdoors shocked when they came out to visit the convention booths. MAMAMOO, Siwan, Park Bo Young, BTOB, and Crush were among the few who provided such fanservice.
The concert night started off with BTS’ Rap Monster and Ailee being the hosts of the show – of course fans were not expecting this at all when they rose up the stage as BTS was scheduled only for the second night. Who knew?! Rap Monster, having studied in New Zealand, and New Jersey home girl Ailee addressed the crowd in fluent English and kept the crowd on fire.
During Ailee’s performance, technical difficulties caused the background music to halt halfway, but that did not stop her from continuing the song, which made her live vocals stand out even more. It was also a blessing in disguise for fans, as the audience could witness the live performance of “Mind Your Own Business” twice! The small mishap did not discourage the solo singer, as the crowd starting chanting “Ailee, Ailee!” and moved her to tears. It was an emotional moment for her as this was the golden opportunity for her to return home to visit family and friends. As the only female performer of the night, she also expressed her interest in releasing an album back home in the States and that of course garnered much cheering support from her American fans.
Fans thought the concert was over when all four groups took turns to perform on the stage, but it did not end just with their own group’s songs! SEVENTEEN returned to stage with their special covers of classic Kpop songs: After School’s “Bang” (and even in a similar uniform), Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry”, and TVXQ’s “Balloons”. BTOB’s Korean-American representative, Peniel, also cued BTOB to do a live version of One Direction’s “History”!
The audience might not have been exposed much to K-hiphop prior to KCON NY, but Dynamic Duo, along with Crush, definitely gained the largest number of new fans that night as the venue was lit even though not all might be familiar with their tracks “BAAAM”, “Shoot Goal In”, or “Friday Night”.
Stay tuned to our Facebook page for HQ photos!
We would like to thank The Lippin Group for the kind invitation to KCON USA once again, as well as CJ E&M, Mnet, Toyota and Prudential Center (especially Keisha) for hosting and working together to make the festival a successful one.
Korea.com’s Eva contributed to this report.