Two weeks ago, I had the honor of returning to KCON for the second time as a Special Guest and moderator a new experience for older aged convention attendees in Los Angeles. The Secret Lives of K-Pop Fans Over 30 was a positive inaugural experience in many ways; and provided a boost of confidence to many older fans of the Hallyu Wave.
Within just over three years, KCON USA, the original convention dedicated to bring “All Things Hallyu” to the American fan community, has provided electrifying concerts and a convention atmosphere that is welcoming of new and longtime fans alike. The convention has expanded to Japan and New York, and continues to provide opportunities for fans to interact with some of their favorite idols, actors and respective fandoms. For those like myself, KCON is “a valuable platform for industry professionals to connect with their audience, create content, and expand the Hallyu community. It’s the one place where every element of Hallyu, from food to film to fashion, can be experienced and celebrated.”
Indeed, my experience this year was invaluable on many platforms and the Over 30 panel contributed to some unforgettable moments listed below.
- Older Fans Are Energized – Achy but grateful-for-air-conditioning bodies populated the designated panel room but the emotional energy was anything but exhausted! Audience participants were fully engaged, eager to share their stories and genuine in the display of their passion for the Hallyu Wave–much like our younger counterparts. Also, older fans are eager to meet more like-minded fans closer in age to enjoy the genre with.
- K-Drama Opened the Door to a Whole New World – More common than not, older fans appealed to the fantasy world of dramas before giving the music a chance. Sure, we might have heard Psy’s “Gagnam Style” ooze through our radios and televisions in 2012, but we were much more pulled into “Almost Paradise!”
- The Fandom Appears Balanced – No “fandom wars” appear to exist when everyone is older and much less confrontational about our interest in K-Pop and K-Dramas. There was some division amongst the crowd, however, when it came to partaking in Korean cuisine and recreational activities, such as the spas.
There is a whole new area of the global fan base that needs entertainment commentary that caters to their needs. I did not assume I’d be the champion of such a movement, but I believe I can make good on it in the months to come. To the 30 and up community, thank you for the experience and for providing a space for us to entertain you!