The KBS World K-Pop Festival took place in London on the 30th August, 2014, following it’s many other events all over the world. Held at the popular DSTRKT club in the heart of the city, the queue for entry stretched around many street corners, piquing the attention of several passers-by. For those who don’t know, the KBS World K-Pop Festival is hosted every year in many countries and cities, for fans to compete as a singer or dancer. The finalists selected via online voting will go on to compete in Korea, and share the stage with some of the top stars in K-Pop, and showcase their talents.
With a whole list of celebrity regulars including Will.i.am, Justin Bieber, Pixie Lott, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Smith, Rihanna and many other, the excitement over the venue was off the charts. Upon arrival, the £25 million renovation of the club was evident, and provided a high class backdrop for this K-Pop event. A stage was built in the centre of the room, providing the fans attending a 365 degree view of the acts competing. It was a stylish and fitting venue choice for the event.
The London judging panel consisted of Mihawk Back, Tita Lau and Will Simms. Many may know Mihawk Back for his work at SM Entertainment as a choreographer. having worked with TVXQ, Girls Generation, Super Junior, Son Dambi, SHINee, f(x), g.o.d, and 2PM, he has a lot of experience in the Korean entertainment Industry and provided a lot of insight and some good constructive comments for the acts performing. Half way through the event, he also gave a solo performance himself of Taemin’s ‘Pretty Boy’, which many were not expecting. Tita Lau was the winner of the London KBS World K-Pop Festival back in 2012, and she came back to judge the new participants and give her advise as a previous competitor. She also gave a special performance of 2NE1’s Lonely. Finally, Will Simms is an accomplished songwriter and producer, signed to the Universal Music Group. He has written many popular songs including, Girls Generations ‘I Got A Boy’, EXO’s ‘Wolf’, ‘Thunder’ and ‘Overdose’ and even more recently, Red Velvet’s ‘Happiness’. With such great talent and experience between the three members of the judging panel, it was guaranteed that they would be able to choose the best from the best!
There was a total of 11 acts competing, but only 1 singer and 1 dancer could be declared the winners of the London finals. Laura Looi started the show off with her energetic YG mashup of 2NE1’s ‘Come Back Home’, G-Dragon’s ‘That XX’, ‘Crayon’ and ‘Crooked’. Becca followed, performing EXO’s ‘Miracles in December’, which created a lovely atmosphere when the crowd sung along as well. It is clear there are a lot of EXO fans in The UK! Jeffrey then gave his beautiful rendition of Park Hyo Shin’s ‘Wild Flower’ . For the first dance group of the event, Milae 3 also performed a mashup of Nine Muses ‘News’, Evol’s ‘We Are A Bit Different’, 2NE1’s ‘I Am The Best’ and After Schools ‘Flashback’. Nikki then closed the 1st part of the event with Akdong Musician’s ‘Melted’. After a the first special performance from Mihawk Back, Team Loko, who are fairly well known in the UK for their cover dances and K-Pop dance workshops, performed 4minute’s ‘What Are You Doing Today?’. Being fairly well known, the crowd cheered them on loudly. After singer, Kendall performed, it was time fro Tita Lau’s performance, and then some more dance acts. Joanna made a bold choice, and performed HyunA’s ‘Red’, which seemed to be a popular choice if the crowd reactions were anything to go by. Finally, PRISM took the stage for the last performance of the event. As soon as their name was announced that crowd erupted with cheering, so it seem’s that PRISM, who also performed at MCM Expo in May, are one of the most popular dance groups, along side Team Loko. Performing B.A.P’s ‘One Shot’ with amazing precision and stage presence, it was no wonder they went on to win the entire event, with Jeffrey taking the title for the singing category. Team Loko were the “Judge’s Choice”, 3rd place went to Joanna, and 2nd place to Nikki.
Following the event, was an exciting K-Pop party, where DJ Espio played all the latest and most popular K-Pop songs for the crowd and participants. It was a great way to end the event as a whole, and Mihawk Back even joined in too, taking photos and talking to a lot of fans. Hmart, a popular Korean superstore based in New Malden, took the opportunity to sell a huge range of K-Pop albums and other merchandise. B.A.P Matoki dolls were particularly popular!
Since this was one of the first major events hosted by Enkore Media, who are an event’s company based in the UK, it was exceptionally well organized and well planned out. The venue was great, and the whole event went seamlessly well. They even organized an after party dinner, where many fans could meet up and make new friends at the Korean restaurant Yori. It definitely serves as an example of what Enkore Media can do in the future!
The KBS World K-Pop Festival will be returning to London in September next year!