K-pop festival KCON to make in-person return after two-year hiatus

The festival will be making stops in Seoul, Tokyo, Chicago and Los Angeles

Global K-pop festival KCON will be returning as an in-person event in the United States, South Korea and Japan this year.

South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM announced today (March 17) that the highly anticipated festival would be making its long-awaited return, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival will start with three brand-new kick-off events in May called KCON 2022 Premiere – to be hosted in Seoul, Tokyo and Chicago – before the main 2022 instalments of KCON take place in Los Angeles from 19 to 21 August and Japan on as-yet-unannounced October dates.

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Described in a press statement as an “upgraded version” of past iterations, this year’s KCON will be “packed with new content reflecting the trends of Gen Z fans and programs tailored for local fans on top of original fan favourite programming and panels unique to KCON”.

In addition, the festival would also be bringing back its digital program KCON:TACT – which has been held five different times over the past two years in lieu of the original physical festival – for fans who will not be able to attend in person.

Specifics about the line-up and programmes for the various KCON events have yet to be announced, but are expected to be released in the coming months. Details for this year’s KCON festivals, including ticket sales and line-ups, will be available here. See the full list of live dates below:

MAY 2022
7, 8 – Seoul, CJ ENM Center
14, 15 – Tokyo, Makuhari Messe
20, 21 – Chicago, Rosemont Theater

AUGUST 2022
19, 20, 21 – Los Angeles

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OCTOBER 2022
Unannounced dates – Tokyo

“With the return of KCON, fans will once again be able to interact with their favorite artists and influencers, as well as the rest of the K-pop fan community,” said Don Kim, Director of Live Entertainment Business at CJ ENM. “The team here is buzzing with excitement as we prepare to create an event worthy of celebrating a decade of unforgettable KCON moments.”

KCON was first held in 2012 in the Californian city of Irvine, before going on to visit nine more cities and regions across North America, Europe and Asia. The festival managed to rake in approximately 291,000 visitors at their last in-person event in 2019.

Past acts that have graced the KCON stage include BTS, Girls’ Generation, MONSTA X, TWICE, ITZY and NCT, among others.

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