The atmosphere can easily be vicious and competitive. After all, every K-popexperience is once-in-a-lifetime. But for the most part, drama was nowhere insight for the fan community at KCON this year.
As KCON 2013 promised more organized artist engagement series, fans who weretrading, selling and buying their artist engagement vouchers were aplenty.While it cannot be helped that those who would take advantage of the situationstill do exist, it is also not worth it to discuss about those people.Especially when a larger group of fans are worthy of note --The fans who tradedor gave up their vouchers to a bigger fan, so that other fan can see theirfavorite artist are the ones that caught our team's attention. If at all, theselfless acts of these fans is made even more valuable due to the shadypractices of those who take advantage.
There were two sets of these selfless fans at KCON. Those who were givingtheir vouchers to someone who really wanted to see their favorite artist, whenthe giver is not entirely passionate about said artist. For example, wewitnessed one fan who gave up her EXO voucher to a bigger fan. The receiver ofthe gift was in tears as she was so thankful to the other fan for giving her theopportunity.Howcan you notget emotional after another fan gives up theirvoucher out of the kindness of their heart?
Onanother occasion, we tellthe story of thegirl whotraded her 2AMHiTouch voucher to a girl that had a2AMviewing-only voucher (these were twodifferent engagement levels at KCON this year- theHi Touch allows fora highfive with the artist, while viewing session is onlyto stand and look at theartist from a cordoned area). The trade was made so thatthe receivercould getthe chance to touch 2AM instead of just see them. What was more sweet was thatwhen it was her chance to get aHi Touchwith 2AM, she was crying. As she highfived each member of 2AM, when she got to Jo Kwon,the 2AM leaderslightly wipedher face as she passed him. It was so sweet that the whole crowd screamed at thescene. If only Jo Kwon knew...The fangot the chance of her life because anotherfan was kind enough to give up their Hi Touch voucher for another fan for whomit will matter more.
This is one of the reasons why K-pop concerts alwaystouch us,because thereare these kinds of fans who help us spread the love for our favorite artists.
Another common scene at KCON 2013 are the cosplaying fans who also covertheir favorite artist dances and songs, in the sweltering heat. No matter howtalented one is when it comes to dancing, or singing, learning the choreography, putting a group together all require passion and hard work.Perhaps some of these people practiced for hours a week prior, or perhaps theentire summer. Nonetheless, their love for the art that is K-pop, and theopportunities it opens up for themare remarkable. As one bystander mom(sherefused to be named) said, "I don't understand K-pop much. I'm only here becauseof my daughter who loves K-pop. But watching these kids perform in the heat isjust wow. They bring it home for me. They make me proud."
Also, with the arena so big this year, and with what feels like abillionactivities being held, it is easy to be confused. Volunteer staff,while they are extremely helpful,are also a bit scarce.Because of this, fansattending KCON also tend to rely on each other for information and direction.And it's just amazing howhonest, how approachable attendees were.To the pointthat the event feels like one giant soiree where everyone can come up to anyoneand feel safe and paid attention to.
It is these tiny things that make uswant to return to KCON year afteryear. We are reminded of the community we serve. We are inspired bytheamount of love being shared for the artists, and for fellow fans.It's likegoing to a sheltering place where you know you can feel understood andwelcomed. KCON like K-pop,is not about just the music, nor about the flashycostumes, nor about the performances, but about the community it fosters and thewarm love it kindles.
Writers: Beth R and Dorothy A