I’m going to be honest with all of you. I haven’t really deeply listened to K-pop for years, I’m an oldie in the Hallyu wave. I started seriously listening to K-pop back in 7th grade of middle school and stopped around my high school years. I’m now 20 (going on 21!) just to give you a bit of an image, so it was ridiculously intriguing and confusing attending day 1 of KCON New York.
First of all, it isn’t even in New York! It’s in Newark! What’s up with that? Probably did have something to do with an effort to save money. I can’t blame the organizers to be honest. Who wouldn’t want to save money? All I can say is Newark isn’t the most pleasant place on earth in the dark.
Day 1 featured muggy weather and various events ranging from dance workshops to panel events. It even featured live star talks and an event to honor the late Kim Jong-Hyun. I’m so old to K-pop I only barely knew any of the songs being played. It definitely was fascinating seeing how diverse the attendees were and I loved watching fans learn the choreography of their favorite songs! It was genuinely beautiful seeing how hard they tried to learn the choreography in the limited time span.
Back in the day (even though I’m not even that old) I was the only person who really listened to K-pop out of my friends and my whole school population. No one would have gone to anything K-pop related.
On another note, the Star Live talks were packed. You could see how much the fans genuinely adored their idols just by how much they screamed from seeing their music videos being played on the big screen.
It was especially emotional for me to see Super Junior. Growing up Super Junior was a major aspect of my life.
Fast forward a bit to the M-NET countdown concert. Before the concert was the pre-show featuring eSNa and Jun Curry Ahn. The actual concert featured Super Junior as their opening act, Stray Kids, Pentagon, Red Velvet and closed with Super Junior’s Choi Siwon.
You better believe I screamed when Super Junior came on stage. I was honestly surprised when I screamed. It felt like I was flashing back to being a 16-year-old girl and crying every time Super Junior cried, laughing every time Super Junior laughed and honestly living for everything K-pop related.
It brought back every memory I shared with Super Junior. I truly realized I was grateful for their existence.
Even though I no longer am the biggest fan of K-pop, I’ll forever be an ELF. Feeling like an oldie to K-pop feels less weird because I’m glad to know that somewhere out there another young girl struggling with her identity has the ability to connect with K-pop. Being at KCON really has made me realize how truly global music can be. K-pop isn’t exclusive to anyone, and I hope we can all embrace that!