LOS ANGELES ― It was more than a two-hour journey for Mariah Frazier and her two friends to get to the KCON festival, where their favorite K-pop stars would perform on the stage.
But the 16-year-old girl from Redlands, California, said it was worth it.
“Even though you don’t exactly understand the language, you can feel it. I like K-pop, which is totally different from American or European music,” she said, citing the boy-band Super Junior as her favorite.
“I also started studying Korean culture because I wanted to know more about the stars and their culture.”
|The second annual “KCON: All Things Hallyu” festival, held Aug. 24 and 25 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in California, draws to a close with concert performances by various K-pop idols. (Yonhap News)|
More than 20,000 hallyu enthusiasts packed the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena over the weekend to enjoy a celebration of Korean culture.
With Korean pop music gaining popularity around the world, many star-studded K-pop concerts are held abroad.
CJ Group, a leading food and entertainment giant, says it has taken one step further.
With the launch of the KCON festival last year, CJ has pledged to create the nation’s first full-fledged culture platform that invites people around the world to experience Korean music, food and overall culture.
Following the kickoff event last year in Irvine, California, this year’s KCON was held in Los Angeles, the hub of U.S. pop culture.
During the two-day event, visitors were lured to a variety of programs such as K-pop dance classes, making Korean food like bibimbap and learning the beauty secrets of Korean girl groups.
The main attraction, of course, was the K-pop concert. According to CJ, 80 percent of the attendees were non-Koreans.
CJ was a dominant force behind the event, with its key affiliates such as CGV, Foodville and E&M also pouring in resources.
Also joining the event were Korean big names including Hyundai, LG and S.M. Entertainment, which are seeking to expand their presence globally, as well as the U.S. telecom carrier Verizon.
“KCON will serve as the nation’s first platform exclusively for Korean culture and brands. It will also drum up business opportunities for hallyu,” a CJ official said.
CJ said most profits currently come from ticket sales and sponsorships, and it plans to diversify profit sources through online content sales as well.
“It is a long-term project,” said the official. “Most of the participants are teenagers. But their positive experience about Korean culture in their early ages would positively affect their future consumption of CJ and other Korean brands.”
CJ aims to make KCON a global brand name as the event travels around the world eight times a year. The group said it will enter China and Japan next year, Southeast Asia by 2015 and Europe, Latin America and Middle East by 2020.
“By 2020, we will see 40 trillion won ($35.9 billion) from the media business. And 70 percent or 28 trillion won will come from global sales,” the CJ official said.
By Lee Ji-yoon, Korea Herald correspondent