Relive the LA K-Pop Festival with us (featuring SHINee, CNBlue, 2PM, and more!)
In past years, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) has hosted many events across the globe, but this time it was our turn to celebrate! 2014 marks the 111th anniversary of Korean American immigration and this past weekend was one of the ultimate celebrations of that special event, so special in fact, KBS hosted an entire festival in its honor. Read on to relive the exciting day with me!
Deemed the LA Korea Festival, the day was filled with events and concluded with an amazing concert. The day festival itself was open to the public. The area was filled with Korean foods, merchandise, lovers of K-Pop, and a mini stage that hosted contests including the 2014 American K-Pop Contest finals. DramaFever also had a sponsor booth where Aileen, Claire, and myself hosted giveaways for t-shirts and tickets! DramaFever also hosted a special meet-and-greet with Chad Future!
The concert itself was also free (thank you KBS!) but you had to be a ticket holder to enter the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to see the show. Once inside there was a brief opening ceremony as the President of KBS, Gil Hwan-Young, greeted everyone and thanked them for attending to celebrate Korean culture and the success of Korean-Americans. Lena Park sang an amazing rendition of the 'Star Spangled Banner', followed by Jun.K of 2PM singing '애국가' the Republic of Korea's national anthem.
Then the stage was set. Fans went crazy. In true K-pop fashion, all of the groups were introduced in TV broadcast format complete with their own background graphic, which was amazing! If you weren't sure which group you were seeing, there was no doubt after they were introduced. Ok Taecyeon of 2PM and Jung Yong Hwa of CNBlue were introduced as MCs for the night along with the beautiful Hwang Soo Kyung.
Girl's Day was the first group to perform. They blew the audience away with their current single 'Something,' followed by 'Expectation'. Their dance moves were on-point and the entire group seemed extremely appreciative that they were able to perform in Los Angeles, a common theme of the night from all groups, during their brief address to the audience.
Kim Tae Woo, former lead singer of G.O.D, lent a fantasy aspect to the stage as he performed his song 'Love Rain' from the Love Rain OST. His vocals proved to be truly amazing as he took the opportunity to prove his English-speaking abilities during his rendition of the Eagles hit 'Hotel California'.
Dynamic Duo, consisting of Gaeko and Choiza, has always given audiences a high-energy, action-packed performance. Their set at the LA Korea Festival was no exception. Performing 'BAAAM' in combination with 'Ring My Bell' and 'Fireworks', there were only two moments where they stood still: to thank KBS for allowing them to perform during the celebration and the few seconds it took the lights to come up and start their set. They consistently blow me away every time I see them perform.
The festival included more than just young stars. We were also graced with presence of legendary singer, and longest standing KBS MC, Song Hae. He performed two songs, 'Other Home Life' and 'The Crying Undutiful Son', speaking to the audience in between. It was nice to get a perspective of where the current genre we refer to as k-pop got its start. Mr. Song seemed to be an incredibly humble man, even after all of his success.
There were not words that are comparable to the amazing vocals of traditional music prodigy Song So Hee. Although young, she takes a huge amount of pride in sticking with her Korean roots. Her performance was a testament to her pride, filled with different styles of traditional dancers to accompany her powerful voice as she sang 'A Boatman's Song' and ' Arirang Alone'.
Next was Baek Ji Young, one of Korea's top OST singers. True to that claim, she sang 'Don't Forget Me' from the IRIS OST, which was an amazing performance. She kept the crowd pumped as Taecyeon joined her onstage for their hot duet 'My Ear Candy'.
There were several special stages during the concert. The first was Soyou and Hyolyn of SISTAR singing 'If I Ain't Got You' with Woo Young and Jun K of 2PM. Girl's Day returned to the stage to cover Miss A's 'Hush'. Lastly, SHINee and Infinite did a short combo stage where each group performed half a song allowing Key and WooHyun, who make up the duo ToHeart, to perform their hit 'Delicious' in between.
CNBlue took center stage and commanded attention as the only k-rock group at the concert. They started off with the title track of their current EP 'Can't Stop'. YongHwa's vocal and piano where highlighted at the beginning, but it is safe to say that the entire band is a force to be reckoned with as they seamlessly transitioned into 'I'm Sorry'. As a special treat, Dynamic Duo joined CNBlue on stage at the end of their set for a crossover version of 'Friday Night'+'Love'.
The fabulous girls of SISTAR have amazingly powerful vocals. They captured the audience's attention with 'Give It To Me' and 'Alone'. They also had the chance to show the crowd their cute side while performing 'Loving U'. I loved their risky fashion, as their stage outfits were extremely provocative while still being fully covered.
Lena Park, one of Korea's top female singers, is a native of Los Angeles, so she was returning home when she came to perform. She sang ballads 'I Hope It Would Be That Way Now' and 'You Mean Everything To Me'. Kim Tae Woo also joined her on stage for an amazing duet performance of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'.
Seol Woon Do, legendary trot singer, brought his 30+ years of stage experience to the LA Korea Festival. He performed his hit 'Into The Memory' followed by a medley of 'A Woman Of The Samba', 'Everybody ChaChaCha', and 'Love Twist'. During his medley performance, Girl's Day joined him on stage and danced along with his vocals showing their unending support of music across the generations.
Infinite took control of the stage through the shear power of numbers. The seven members were completely in sync as they performed their dance moves for 'Destiny', 'Be Mine', and 'The Chaser'. They knew exactly how to wow the crowd and the screams of the audience only grew louder when they took to the stage.
Resident "beastly idols" 2PM highlighted their range with performances of hits from their debut song '10 Out Of 10' to the more current 'Hot' and 'Hands Up'. They pumped up the crowd, encouraging everyone to sing, chant, and dance along with them as they gave it their all. I was truly impressed with Taecyeon who seemed to have endless energy for the group's performance even though he was covering multiple roles including MC and special stage guest before 2PM even hit the stage.
Closing out this already amazing show was SHINee. Although the group was short one person, as Choi Min Ho had to return to Korea for filming, Key easily covered his parts and they gave a flawless performance. They performed three of their biggest songs 'Beautiful', 'Why So Serious?', and the dance track 'Lucifer'.
If you missed the show, KBS America will be airing it on May 2nd at 9:50 pm PST. For more info, visit the KBS site.
I had an awesome time meeting everyone at the DramaFever booth during the festival. Overall, the concert was easily the highlight of the entire day. All of the performers were amazing and it was great to see so many aspects of Korean music in one place. Were you able to attend the show? Which group/performer was your favorite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Tanya is the owner/main writer of Hallyuknow.com. She occasionally writes articles for DramaFever News in addition to being an active Drama Club writer (currently for Angel Eyes). She also has a Facebook, YouTube channel, Instagram,Tumblr, and loves to have conversations on Twitter (@Hallyu_Tanya).