BTS, G-Dragon, Missy Elliott, IU, GOT7 and more – Billboard

With 10 years of perspective, it’s safe to say that the timing of the launch of America’s biggest K-pop festival couldn’t have been better.

In the summer of 2012, K-pop burst into the American vernacular thanks to the massively viral hit of PSY’s “Gangnam Style.” The unmissable horsey-dance hit first entered the Billboard Hot 100 in September. It would spend seven consecutive weeks at the No. 2 position, coinciding with performances at the MTV Video Music Awards, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Saturday Night Live and the American Music Awards.

As “Gangnam Style” rocketed up the charts, KCON was heralded as the first convention/festival hybrid of its kind that sought to honor all things Korean pop culture. On October 13, 2012, KCON introduced six K-pop groups to the American public (boy groups NU’EST, BAP, EXO-M and VIXX, solo star G .NA and headlining girl group 4Minute) .

Dubbed by Billboard as the “Mecca of K-pop” in 2012, the first KCON drew 10,000 fans and sparked what has become an ever-growing and evolving annual tradition in the California area. As the festival moved to multiple days and larger venues in Los Angeles, K-pop itself continued to grow and expand significantly in the United States. Chart-topping artists like BTS, girls generation, Monsta X, TWICE, SEVENTEEN, LOONA, NCT 127, ITZY and dozens of others have all performed at the festival at various points in their careers – making the KCON stage a virtual right of passage for K-pop promotions in the United States.

This weekend, more than 16 artists will perform at the Arena, including stray kids, ATEEZ, ENHYPEN, NCT DREAM, Kep1er, STAYC, TO1 and more for KCON 2022 Los Angeles. Before another round of historic moments return to the KCON stage, take a moment to reflect on the festival’s first decade in California with the 10 greatest moments in its history so far.

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