K-pop fans on the East and West Coasts are in for changes this summer to the biggest annual Korean pop culture festival in America. KCON USA has exclusively revealed to EW the dates for this year’s KCON New York and Los Angeles weekends, along will expansion and new venue details.
KCON New York will take place on July 6-7, and the festivities will move across the river from the Prudential Center in Newark to Manhattan. The Javits Center will host the convention portion during the daytime, followed by nighttime concerts held at Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, KCON Los Angeles will expand from its previously scheduled three days to include a fourth day, and will take place August 15-18. It will return to its longtime home, the Los Angeles Convention Center and STAPLES Center complex.
The continued growth of KCON USA — dubbed the “world’s largest Korean pop music and culture convention” — is a testament to the rising popularity of South Korean pop culture and commercial entities in the U.S following a breakout year in 2018 that saw numerous acts make headway in the American market, most prominently BTS with two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200. Along with performances showcasing popular K-pop, indie, and hip-hop artists, KCON USA will feature a full day of convention programming that includes meet-and-greets with prominent Korean stars, a diverse array of panels, screenings of Korean television shows and films, a marketplace showcasing Korean food and beauty products, and much more. In recent years, Klub KCON mini-concerts have also been held to showcase artists in more intimate settings ahead of the stadium-sized headlining sets.
First held in 2012 as a California-only event, KCON USA has grown immensely over the years. In 2018, over 147,000 people attended the Los Angeles- and New York-area events; the prior year saw a combined 128,000 attendees, up from the 118,000 of 2016 and 75,000 of 2015, the first year KCON was held on the East Coast. In the past, prominent Korean acts including BTS, TWICE, GOT7, and Red Velvet have performed at KCON USA concerts. Since its inception, KCON, which is hosted by Korean entertainment behemoth CJ ENM, has expanded beyond the States, and has since been held in Japan, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, France, Mexico, Australia, and Thailand.