“The LA K-Pop Festival took place on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the LA Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the 111th Anniversary of Korean-American Immigration. The festival included food and merchandise vendors, an American K-Pop contest, and a free concert in the evening. Though gates were set to open at 10AM, it wasn’t until around 11AM that fans were let inside the festival grounds. Once inside, fans made their ways to the K-Pop merchandise tents and the KBS America booth where the staff were giving out free concert programs and extra tickets. The food trucks and booths included a variety of Korean dishes, such as spicy rice cakes and Korean barbecue. There was also an area designated as the “”Beer Garden”” for fans over 21 who wished to have a drink.
As fans from all over the world mingled with one another over the topic of Korean culture, the final round of the American K-Pop contest began at around 1PM. The grand prize winner was given two round-trip plane tickets to Korea, admission into a recording of KBS’ Music Bank, and a cash prize of $1,000. The gates into the festival’s sponsor booth area opened at 4PM for PIT and FLOOR ticket holders before opening to the rest of the audience about an hour later. At the DramaFever booth, American K-Pop singer, Chad Future, held a small fan signing.

The Japako Music team was allowed into the Coliseum during the soundcheck before the actual concert. We were able to catch Korean traditional music singer, Song So Hee, CNBLUE, Dynamic Duo, SHINee, and Infinite rehearse. Even though it wasn’t the real concert, the artists made sure to give a lot of fan service to the PIT ticketholders who were given early entrance to watch the rehearsals. The concert, set for 6:30PM, didn’t begin until around 7:15PM. Kil Hwan Young, the President of KBS, and Moon Han Bae, the President of the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles, said the opening words before Lena Park sang the American national anthem and 2PM’s Jun.K sang the Korean national anthem. With that, all the artists stepped out onto the stage for the opening song, “”When You go to L.A.”” The MCs for the night were 2PM’s Taecyeon, CNBLUE’s Yonghwa, and announcer Hwang Soo Kyung. The three MCs introduced the first act.

Girl’s Day started off the show by performing their latest hit, “”Something.”” The girls followed up with “”Expectation,”” making the fanboys and fangirls alike go wild. g.o.d.’s Kim Tae Woo was next up as he performed “”Love Rain”” and the Eagle’s hit “”Hotel California.”” When Hip hop artists Dynamic Duo took the stage, fans couldn’t contain themselves and ran towards the stage. The duo fired up the crowd with “”BAAAM+Ring My Bell”” and “”Fireworks.”” Things got slower with the emotional performance of legendary singer, Song Hae, who performed “”Other Home Life”” and “”The Crying Undutiful Son.””  The traditional Korean songs continued with the young Song So Hee performing “”A Boatman’s Song+A Boatman’s Song (fast rhythm)”” and “”Arirang Alone.””

Ballad queen Baek Ji Young took the stage next with her performance of “”Don’t Forget Me,”” the OST from South Korea’s mega-hit drama Iris. She then did a 180-degree turn around to perform a collaboration stage of the upbeat “”My Ear’s Candy”” with her partner, 2PM’s Taecyeon.

Their collaboration was followed by an amazing special stage of Alicia Key’s “”If I Ain’t Got You”” performed by 2PM members Jun.K & Wooyoung and SISTAR’s Hyorin & Soyu.

Girl’s Day was on stage once more with a special performance of their cover of “”Hush Hush.””

CNBLUE was next up, and the crowd went wild! The boys performed their latest hit, “”Can’t Stop,”” with leader Yonghwa playing a beautiful, white grand piano. Next, Yonghwa left the piano and took up his guitar to perform “”I’m Sorry”” followed by “”LOVE”” with his members. Boices were in for a sweet surprise when all the members ditched their instruments to take on a collaboration stage with Dynamic Duo, performing “”Friday Night.””

The next acts made the crowd go insane! SHINee appeared and sang “”Colorful.”” The SHINee members left the stage momentarily as the song transitioned into Infinite’s “”Man in Love.”” The seven boys performed their hit song, and member Woohyun remained on stage to perform “”Delicious”” with his ToHeart/SHINee member Key. 

Girl group SISTAR took the stage next and performed their hits “”Give It To Me,”” “”Alone,”” and “”Loving U.”” Rising American star Bella performed her song before Lena Park appeared to perform “”I Hope It Would Be That Way Now”” and “”You Mean Everything to Me.”” Kim Tae Woo joined her on stage to sing the beautiful duet “”Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”” Legendary trot singer Sul Woon Do excited the elder audience by singing his classics, “”Into the Memory”” and “”A Woman of the Samba+Everybody ChaChaCha+Love Twist”” with special guest Girl’s Day.

Inspirits went wild when Infinite reappeared dressed in their signature red outfits and performed “”Destiny,”” “”The Chaser,”” and “”Be Mine.”” 2PM got Hottests pumped with their performances of “”Hands Up,”” “”Hot,”” and “”10 out of 10.”” SHINee were the last to perform, but that didn’t stop the crowd from screaming with excitement. The fans were deafening as the boys performed “”Beautiful,”” “”Why So Serious?”” and “”Lucifer.”” To end the festival, all the artists took the stage and performed the traditional Korean song “”Arirang.””

The festival was a spectacular event that has left many fans wishing for another one like it next year.

The entire festival was put on by KBS America and the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles along with the many sponsors who contributed to making the event possible.

The Japako Music team would like to give a special thanks to Ken Lee of KBS America for personally going out of his way to deliver the press passes.


Colleen Lee – April 2014