If you’re asking yourself, “What can I do at KCON?” before buying your ticket or even pondering how you can have the most fulfilling day ever, then lay your worries to rest! The ultimate KCON guide is finally at your side!
Working as press and a panelist at KCON for over 5 years now, I have a great sense of the ins and outs, ways to keep yourself entertained, and (the best part) how to possibly meet with an idol (like myself OH- Ho-ho-ho!). Although this year’s KCON NY will be held at the Madison Square Garden Javits Center for the first time (bye, Prudential Center), you can expect some familiar things and routines overall. Waste no more time and jump right into this detailed but straight to the point Guide To KCON NY!
STEP 1: What Should I Bring To KCON?
First off, eat breakfast at home and bring a small snack if possible. The most important things to bring are water and stomach medicine (Tums). Why? Because some of you are new to Korean food or can’t handle spicy and do not want the Hershey squirts at KCON. Water is needed because fans simply pass out left and right either from the heat outside, being packed in crowds, or from seeing an idol. Plus, think about your idol-like skin! Drink water.
Cellphone/camera chargers and external batteries are a must-have. If you don’t have one already, invest, invest, invest! Another fun thing I OFTEN recommend people to bring is binoculars because the close-up quality details of your idols make the concert even more rewarding. You feel like you’re directing your own MCountDown Live Recording!
Lastly, a small bag is good for holding merch for idols or panelists to sign, cameras, and all the GOODIES you will be bringing home. Usually, KCON gives out tote bags so you can wait to receive one and it won’t be an issue at security check since its an open pre-approved tote.
STEP 2: Do I Need Money and How Much Should I Save for KCON?
Yes, you need money. Don’t you always? K-Pop in the states comes with a price. Kiosks and stands endlessly sell K-Pop merch, albums, posters, hats, necklaces, charms and pins, shirts, pillows, light sticks – you name it, it is there! Not to mention the temptation to try Korean food, baked goods, and endless bubble teas. Concert tickets and convention admission aside, I recommend saving at least $130 for KCON ($30 on food, $100 on exclusive merch).
STEP 3: What Can I Do At The Convention? Is KCON Boring?
The convention is one of the best parts of KCON (SEE HERE)! It offers the unique chance to experience Korean culture (albeit a saturated/commercialized form). Local vendors are excited to share their popular foods (kimbap, japchae, ddukbokki), dishes from restaurants, major corps. from Korea, and other distributors.
Korea’s most prominent makeup brands are finally in one place too, making it a stellar opportunity to get your hands on foreign products without a killer shipping fee attached. Honestly, it will feel like a night in Hongdae~
In between that, there are picture booths, dance competitions, panels to attend, and live performances from some YouTubers, dance groups, and even idols! Don’t miss it!
STEP 4: How Should I Plan My Day At KCON?
You can easily go there on a whim, walk around and enjoy it as you go. However, if you’re someone with a master plan and want the bang for your buck, coordination will help.
First, get a map of the venue and find all the panel/engagement times. Make sure they don’t conflict with times idols will be performing, doing meet and greets or Q&A’s. Explore the other kiosks in between and try to get it done before 5pm!
Shop early! The morning time is the best time to shop because vendors will be waiting with free goodies, discounts, and coupons, dying to get you to buy something first! Plus, nothing will sell out – yet.
Eat before 12pm or after 2pm. The lines will be FILLED with people trying to eat at noon. If you can hold out, do it. Drink water, eat your snack, then go dining so you can do it quickly, get quality food since chefs have time to prepare nicely, and avoid lines. Check out what food events are happening at KCON this year in advance too!
If announcements are made regarding locations for public Q&A’s or greetings from idols you love, be sure to be in or by the designated area 15 minutes in advance to get a good spot. Downloading the KCON app is a great way to stay ahead or updated on any schedule changes.
STEP 5: Sounds Great, But, Is There Anything Else Important I Am Missing?
You can never be too prepared. Remember there are other things to prepare outside of the convention, too! If blurbs aren’t for you, simply enjoy this thoughtful checklist of things to do in advance~
- Schedule your AIRBNB or local hotel at least a month in advance – it will get booked!
- Be sure to use public transportation an hour earlier than your ETA – missing an idol engagement or workshop because your late is just the worst. Otherwise, use ‘spot hero’ to find cheaper parking or park at the convention early.
- Don’t forget your cellphone/camera charger + external battery.
- Bring your ID in case you need it for any reason (entry to the concert, parking, purchases, etc.).
- Travel in a group if you can. Plenty of social groups and FaceBook meetups are available and everyone is super friendly! KCON is more fun with a friend! 🙂
- Be sure to set your alarms and wake up on time the day of KCON!
- Don’t only check KCON’s policies but also Jarvis Center’s too. You don’t want to have to leave something behind that isn’t allowed inside.
- The most important thing – SUBSCRIBE TO MY CHAN – JK! HAVE FUN!!!
Now, are we all set for KCON?! I surely hope so and I truly hope this little guide was a great first step for diving into all KCON has to offer! Don’t forget to read the next part of these wonderful guides to KCON! Part two features the BEST ways to meet an idol! See you at KCON~