KCON is finally returning to Los Angeles, just in time for the Korean culture festival’s 10th anniversary celebration.
After going virtual for the first two years of the pandemic with five content-packed KCON:TACT series that attracted more than 22 million viewers globally, KCON evolved into a hybrid model this year, with events held in Seoul, Tokyo and Chicago in May drawing more than 6 million participants hailing from 171 territories around the world.
But the CJ-owned franchise got its start in Southern California, with the first-ever KCON held in 2012 (two generations ago in K-pop terms) at the now-demolished Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, California. Back then, 10,000 K-pop fans converging in Orange County was noteworthy, but seven years later, the last in-person KCON (which took place in Los Angeles, although the festival was also being held multiple times a year in nine cities across multiple continents) easily attracted 291,000.
KCON’s Los Angeles return is a highly anticipated event, and the festival has unveiled a lineup of 15 artists that will perform Aug. 19-21 at the L.A. Convention Center and the arena formerly known as Staples: K-pop groups Ateez, Cravity, Enhypen, Itzy, Kep1er, Lightsum, Loona, NCT Dream, NMixx, StayC, The Boyz, TO1 and WJSN, as well as Japanese boy groups JO1 and INI, which were formed through the first two seasons of the CJ-produced reality competition Produce 101 Japan.
The Korean conglomerate CJ’s highly successful entertainment company CJ ENM is best known in Hollywood circles as the producer and distributor of Parasite, but its K-pop business is also extensive. Enhypen, Kep1er and TO1 were also formed through competition shows that aired on CJ-owned music network Mnet. Kep1er, Loona and WJSN recently faced off against one another in the second season of Mnet’s Queendom, whereas Ateez, The Boyz and TO1 have competed in various versions of the franchise’s male counterpart, Kingdom.