K-pop, the genre of Korean pop music, is a growing phenomenon across the world and is only getting warmed up. After fans began to recognize the large community behind the music, conventions were created in different places around the globe to make it possible to bring fans together and bond over the current trends. I recently had the opportunity to attend Toronto K-pop Convention 2018 (TKC18), and I had an unforgettable experience.
As a K-pop fan, I have attended K-Con events before, and as the idea of K-pop in North America has grown and developed so much in the past year, I felt the need to express my passion of the music genre through my writing, and possibly inspire others to listen to the genre or attend a convention themselves.
TKC18 was held from May 19, 2018 to May 20, 2018 in Toronto, Canada and showcased many different of things circling the culture.
There was a merchandise room where albums from different artists, posters, photobooks, pillows, clothing, and more were put on display. Other sponsored businesses like skincare and makeup companies set up areas around the space to promote their products. The merchandise room also helps out smaller self-run businesses, like artists who sell their beautiful artwork to fans. It is also a good way to get their business out to the public. There was one artist in particular called “Beanie Sprout” who hand-draws fanart pictures of her favourite K-pop idols. My eyes were immediately drawn to her artwork. There was another business called “Chiiinken” who created beautiful stickers of different K-pop groups.
After the merch room, there are rooms which are reserved for panels and games. Different time slots were reserved for a certain speaker or activity. Activities included “guess the K-pop song,” “A.C.E. trivia,” and “Random play dance” (a popular dance choreography game.)It is so much fun to interact with fans in this way because you are constantly laughing and bonding with one another instead of just talking behind a screen, which, unfortunately, is what normally ends up happening. Instead of that, real people are coming together to do real games and to enjoy K-pop, the very thing that brought them to TKC18 in the first place.
My favourite part about TKC18 is a live program that they hold annually called “Canada Dream Stage.” It is a show where local artists can showcase their talent for an audience’s viewing. It is a fun way for non-idols to perform. The performers will come from all around Canada, normally from Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. Singing, dancing, and rapping to K-pop songs are normally the three categories showcased. Some troupes may have a fanbase, or some may just be starting out and looking for a good place to showcase at the beginning of their journey. No matter what the conditions of those groups are, Canada Dream Stage is always a fun treat for the attendees and the artists.
I was slightly disappointed by the time the convention came to a close. While walking back to our car my mom looked at me and saw my gloomy state. we slowed down and she looked at me and asked me, “Natalie, what’s wrong?” I responded,”I just can’t wait to go next year.”