Kcon 2014 - The Good, The Bad and the (Downright) Ugly

I'm behind on my Roommate recaps because I just got back from a trip to LA which included the 2 day extravaganza of Hallyu, Kcon. Never one to pass on an adventure (except possibly the ice bucket challenge, which I don't care how uncool it makes me look, I have no interest in doing) I was really anxious to experience all Kcon had to offer. And yep - it was an experience!

So let's start with the GOOD

1)  The concert. I only attended one night of concerts, but if I was to do it again, I'd definitely go to both. It was really fun (and the 16 year old Korean American kids I sat next to were sooooo nice!) and a good way to see multiple groups at one time. BTS' choreography was spot on, Spica is sooo talented, Jung Joon Young moves like an Asian Mick Jaggar and CNBlue was amazing! Who knew the terribly meh actor Yonghwa could totally blow you away when on stage. Girls Generation......oh wait, this is the good section.
2)  The glowing multi-colored light stick.  I got mine because I bought an expensive ticket, figuring I'd come all the way across the country so I might as well actually see the people on stage, but the place was full of the light sticks and it really contributed to the atmosphere of the evening. I've always said that k-pop fans are some of the most well mannered and enthusiastic fans around and it was an awesome sight seeing all those glowing sticks, changing colors in synchronized fan-waving.

3)  The Viki/Dramabeans Panel. I'm a big Dramabeans fan and long-time commenter (although I don't do much lately) so was happy to meet Javabeans and Girlfriday. I also really like Viki because I can watch dramas with French subtitles if I feel like an extra challenge, and the two girls from there were super nice. But I'm going to be honest with you, it was getting my picture taken with Sean Richard and having him call me Noona that really put this over the top for me.
Cute Sean Richard, whom I apologized to for thinking he was a Viki employee!
4)  The incredibly nice people I met while waiting, waiting, waiting. This truly was the highlight. Kpop and Kdrama fans are so open to talking with you, and no one seems to mind the age, race or gender difference.  It's like one big love fest!  (well, almost)  Besides those I purposely met up with from DB, Jomo and her daughter and Dewaanifordrama, I couldn't believe I met Caitlyn from Australia, whom I randomly started talking to and who comments on my Roommate posts. What are the chances of that!

Jomo and me with new friends, waiting to get in--while we were still bright eyed and bushy tailed!
More new friends -- the first was a PotUP reader
Our very own Caitlyn, all the way from Australia! 

The Bad
Hmmm, where do I begin?

1) Kcon brings in an incredible amount of money, I'm sure, but is so poorly organized.  Day one we waited in line over 3 hours just to get in the gates.  I'm glad I didn't show up at 3 a.m. like some did because they didn't get in any earlier. Once inside the gates, they divided you up into groups by ticket price and you waited in line again. Then you wait in line to get your purse/backpack searched so you can see the panels. Then you wait in line to get a goodie bag. By that time, I'd been there almost 4 hours and still hadn't seen anything so said forget it and just asked for a map at the information booth. (I retrieved my goodie bag much later, when leaving.) This wouldn't have been quite so bad if things moved efficiently, or if they told you it would be 3 hours instead of "just one hour from here."  Lies, all lies! But workers were milling around confused a lot of the times, and were pretty slow checking people in.

2) There was no food on the side of the panels.  This meant that if you wanted to eat, which I did, I had to leave and go to the other side to get food at the marketplace.  To come back in, I had to stand in line and get searched AGAIN. And you couldn't take your food or drink with you. (Although the second time through the woman who was supposed to look through my purse just said "Now I know you be carrying some weapons in there!" and told me to pass. I think she was over it too by that time, but at least she made me laugh.) Next year maybe I'll see if I can buy one of those large coats lined with pockets on the inside and secretly sell sandwiches on the panel side. I bet I'd make a fortune.

3) Limited seating for eating. It was hot. I may have forgotten to mention that, but it was hot with limited shade. (So I guess the coat idea is not doable.) After walking between numerous food trucks--numerous hot, broiling food trucks, and finally deciding on the food, there was limited space under the tent to eat. There were several shady grassy spots on the panel side - but again, no food. Frustrating!

4)  The "Opportunities" part of the ticket.  I was supposed to have the opportunity of either a high-touch, audience, or red carpet pass. I was not the only person who thought that meant we would at least get one of them. I got nothing. NOTHING! You would think that for paying the price I paid for the ticket, I would have gotten something. The second day, people got passes for things that had already happened the day before. Or they got passes for a thing they missed because they were still in line when it took place. They really need a better system for that.
Two sweet girls who gave me some of their extra passes
5)  Not knowing who was showing up where.  Maybe it was me, but I never got to see most of the actors floating around, like Yoo In Ah. I guess I should have prepared a little better for it, but for some reason I had no idea who was showing up where or when, they didn't give you a map upon entering, and while some of the help was very, well, helpful, many had no clue what was going on. I did get to see this guy up close and personal--I think he is some rapper named Danny.
Honestly, that face is not at me!  I just tried to sneak a candid picture


1)  The broiling pan. That was my term for the waiting area for the audience pass people. Since I knew I wasn't in the autograph signing portion of the group, I wanted to at least be closer to the front of the audience stationed behind the barrier.  The line started at 1:00 for a 2:45 showing, in an area with no shade and pretty much blocked from breeze. It had to be close to 90 degrees, made even worse by the fact that they made us wait an extra hour for some inexplicable reason.
The broiling pan

Very sweet girl who let me spend time under her umbrella 
2) Audience pass means watch others get autographs. After a brief hello, nice to see you from Mr. Lee, he sat down and started signing.  No question and answers, no singing, nothing. If I had been standing in a better location, I may have caught a glimpse of him in-between the line of people going on stage, but that was not the case.  Same with Lee Seo-Jin, who was so late that half of the people left before he got there. I guess he didn't even have time to say hello. However, I did fare better while attending Joon Jung Young's meet and greet. He actually spoke to us, in English (a deep British accent English) and was a trip to be sure.

3) No running water to speak of.  Ok, I'll forgive them that the port-a-potties were at the far ends of the place, but there was only hand sanitizer in them.  That may do the job on your hands, but it did nothing to remove the 1/2 inch thick coating of salt and sweat encrusting my entire body by 2 p.m. each day. If I had been given the opportunity to shake Lee Seungi's hand, it probably would have slid right out of it.

4) Uhhh.... ME? And I'm not talking about my sweat drenched hair and running eye makeup. By the time we got down to the place where we'd finally see Lee Seungi, my mood had deteriorated faster than my stay fresh deodorant. When a girl asked if she could stand in front of me because she was "small", I think I took a death grip on the barrier and looked at her like I didn't understand English. Hey, it's not like I'm gargantuan, and a few inches shorter than me does not make you "small." Obviously she never heard the age before beauty or respect your elders bit. But I believe what goes around comes around, and I got my due when a security guard stood right in front of Lee Seungi the entire time, completely blocking my view.  If I had just been a little nicer........
My 10 second view of Lee Seungi and the beautiful fanny pack of the body guard that I got to look at for an hour


Kakashi Sensei said…
awwwwwwww, that sounds ...... horrible. and a little bit awesome, you know, awesome in the BAD kind of way, but so that you'll remember until the end of your days
And I'm still WOW, she met some people that read this blog!
Kanz Prasetyo said…
The KCON line-up is awesome, SNSD, CN Blue, LSG, etc. You're so lucky can meet them within feet distance. But the organizers seem unprepared even when they already have enough experience (not the first time). Thank you for sharing your story! Hope for better KCON!
Kmuse said…
had a lot of similar complaints as well as enjoyed the concerts. If I ever do it again I think I would come late day one and do more on day 2 when there were no lines and a lot less people since they were all pissed about day 1. But the concerts and friends made it all worth it in the end.
mary said…
HAHAHA OMG this KCON review is hilarious ^^

I'm sorry you had to suffer so much. I was cringing at your testimonial about heat and lines and lack of water... It's really disappointing how the organizers weren't able to improve after the same problems last year. Wish they'd read your funny comments though so they can laugh AND remember what to fix next year. (If there is a next year.)

Meeting Caitlyn randomly was awesome though. It was like unmyeong! And being noona'ed by Sean :DDDDD
Manin said…
I feel jealous about the concert and the DB panel bit. Those sounds like fun. The rest? Not so much... Hopefully it will improve next year (for the people that will be able to go) Still it sounds like you had fun, bad things aside.
Kakashi Sensei said…
yay, it's Manin! The blog doesn't hate you anymore, you can comment! (b^_^)b
damianna said…
Thanks for the review. Oh, I love Jung joon young! I'm happy that he's getting quite a lot of love after kcon. His brand of crazy weirdness is too good to only be known by his fans. Wish I could be there, ugliness and all.
alexe said…
Thanks for your review . Better to read you than to be there .
I couldn't suffer that much even for a selfie with Seo InGuk : that's to say !
Jenna said…
For me, the highlight of the concert was SPICA. It was the first time I listened to their song but I was amazed to hear them sing live. Their vocals were so good! They have powerful vocals, they hit the high notes live and they sang in harmonies. I downloaded all their songs the day after KCON. Not saying that the other performers weren't good but SPICA were definitely the one who impressed me the most.
Anonymous said…
I'm so lucky to have such an adventurous, awesome sister so I can vicariously experience so many wonderful things. And who bravely drags me with her to Paris so I can actually experience la joie de vivre for myself. You are an amazing woman, ma soeur! Gomasseumnida!
lafer said…
Haha, so true! I came in at noon the second day and practically walked right in. They also seemed a little more lax on the searching between the marketplace and panels. But still, it would help if they provided some shade while waiting for the audiences.
lafer said…
Be warned, I have no energy left for Paris. I plan to spend my days sipping wine while overlooking the Seine :) and my evening watching kdramas downloaded on my ipad! Kind of like last time, huh?
lafer said…
I agree, Spica was amazing. The lead singer, Boa, has the most fabulous voice. I think their popularity will really increase after this.
denwanai said…
Ahh, the broiling pan. I hope they had a medical tent too. Too bad everyone wasn't required to wear name tags with their screen names. I bet you were surrounded by fans and didn't know it.
Anonymous said…
The most ridiculous part of the passes is they aren't even sorted by day. And if you have to wait through a huge line to get in, couldn't they just give you the goodie bag right there? And the 'security' was just silly.
Also it took me a ridiculous amount of time to figure out where Panel 3 and workshop 2 were since they were hidden around the corner past that huge goodie bag mob.
Thankfully, the concert more than made up for things in awesomeness!! Though I have to start remembering earplugs for all that fangirl screaming. ;)

lafer said…
100% agree with you, especially about the goodie bags. I didn't find Panel 3 until close to the end of the second day when I was searching for a bathroom. And yes, earplugs would have been nice -- I thought it was just my age but honestly, I think I may have lost a few more decibels' worth of hearing after that!
lafer said…
I heard that someone did pass out the first day, and it was even hotter the second day. If there was a medical tent, I didn't see one, but that does't mean it wasn't there. I missed a lot of stuff!
ManyFeels said…
I have loved SPICA since I heard their first song "Painkiller". Those girls can sing!! I'm very very sad I didn't hear them sing live! I'm glad they were an upside to this "experience", to put it mildly. So sorry lafer!
ManyFeels said…
Hehehhe...Lafer, I'm this close to volunteering our services to help them plan a better KCON. Such a wasted opportunity for awesomeness!
Manin said…
Haha yes! *happy*
aafa83 said…
Wait.....so how BAD was Girls' Generation????

(Thanks for your sacrifice to let us live vicariously through you!)
Caitlyn Burton said…
We left after Lee Seung Gi left, because we thought it was finished, lol. I should've stayed to see Lee Seo Jin!
Anonymous said…
Well, last time was great so that's all fine with me. Can't wait!
dewaanifordrama said…
Man...I haven't yet had time to write my complaint letter...but yeah. I second your comments. KCON was so poorly organized!!! It makes me head hurt just thinking about it, but the concert was amazing. And it was lovely to meet you. And I guess I also sort of met Caitlyn too, but I was a little heat spazzy and didn't realize who she was. Sorry Caitlyn!