Event Report: KCON Los Angeles 2022

KCON 2022 Final Thoughts

The 2022 edition of KCON was an interesting one for me. Taking lessons from 2019, I went into this year’s event with lowered expectations.

The whole press badge thing went as well as expected. It was the same as 2019, being left to my own devices in the KCON wild. As you may have read earlier, I came to KCON knowing what I would not have access to and worked around it. In the process, I gained valuable knowledge about my limits for the convention portion for future visits.

What bothered me the most about being press were the blatant rule breakers I saw around me. Some had a badge like mine and others just had a regular convention wristband. Without going into too much detail, there were restrictions on what type of equipment was allowed during the convention for the press. So to see people dragging around stools, stepladders, and chairs and using cameras with lenses that were way beyond what was allowed without repercussion upset me.

I’m there to do a job too, and I can’t use any of that stuff as much as I should be able to. So instead, I get checked by security for carrying a simple mirrorless with a short-range lens, and these fools get free reign to do whatever they want with their prominent, non-compliant equipment. I found it to be unfair.

The other thing I found to be somewhat terrible was that I had to fight for a spot with the stans to be able to do anything where an artist made an appearance on the convention floor. There were no designated areas for the press to stand and take pictures or videos. We had to battle it out with everyone else to secure our ground for coverage which is very limiting and annoying when you’re around overly aggressive fans overcome by emotion.

While most K-Pop fandom is nice, some can be jerks if they think you’re hoarding in on their space. I’m not asking for the freedom of movement of the official staff in the safety jackets, but KCON, throw us a bit of a bone so we can at least try to do something for our coverage goals. I realize I’m talking to a brick wall about this, and nothing will change, but at least I got to vent a little bit.

When it comes to the convention itself? I believe certain things require improvement. The first thing that comes to my mind is line management. I don’t think there is a need for fist fights at a K-Pop convention.

I understand that general admission is a dog fight for a good spot, but y’all need to chill. It’s only a concert. Was there a numbering system like the prestige peeps had? That probably would have helped mitigate some of the problems caused by the first come, first serve system. But there’s no natural way of stopping cray and stupid entirely, so I don’t even know if that would prevent people’s urges to act like primates when the K-Pop bug infects them.

KCON 2022 LA_DAY1_11

Secondly, the con floor was a disaster regarding artist appearances at KCON Square. I heard many people complain about the crowds for the more popular groups.

And honestly, if you’re not at the first two or three rows, you aren’t seeing shit. And holding your cell phone or camera as high as you can isn’t going to help your situation if you’re way the hell in the back. Dance All Day, Star Square and the KCON Stage were a little better regarding crowd and traffic management since they were further back in the hall where there was a little more space to gather.

And I guess I should also mention that running like a maniac after your favourite group in a crowded hall only asks for a world of hurt. Let natural selection take out the low end of the species, I guess.

Besides those small observations, I think I had a better experience than in 2019. At least I got to participate in stuff this time. I have a lot in my pocket to take into the 2023 edition of KCON. I hope the abovementioned issues are resolved for next year’s convention. The well-being of the attendees is more important than the little things I bitched about as a person with a badge. But hey, if those other press-related things are looked at, too, that would be great.

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