This was Mixtape’s first year at Toronto Kpop Con, although the second year for us personally. This means we were there ALL day and interacted with a lot of people we wouldn’t have if we had simply been there for ourselves. And honestly it was great. We left Saturday feeling happy, excited, and of course exhausted.
We had a little interaction with Toronto Kpop Con before the actual event, sending emails with questions and what not. And every time they have sent speedy replies and have been more than helpful. We found the same thing last year and it was really nice to see this standard had not dropped for the con’s third year. In fact, everyone at the con that we had questions for were just as helpful.
We started the day off bright and early by attending the Dream Stage. The volunteers were super organized when you descended the escalators into the Toronto Convention Center and immediately split everyone into people who had Pink VIP Cards (Pop Goes The World Membership Cards), and attendees who did not. As members, we were a little disappointed to see the non-VIP member line going by faster, but we quickly realized that it was a much longer line than the one we were in, so we still managed to get in much faster than non-VIP members.
We then made our way to the John Bassett Theater for the Dream Stage. We managed to get decent seats, although if you’re hoping to get pictures or video of the show I suggest making sure to show up pretty early. The aisle seats were almost completely filled. The entire lower level of the theater was fairly packed, and I believe it filled up even more as the show went on! The entire show was roughly four hours, with a brief intermission. (Tip: Don’t even try and use the bathrooms in the theater during the intermission, because everyone else already is). There were 20 different acts with many of them doing multiple routines.
Next up was checking out the dealer’s room, for the first time, not the last. Here we found a lot of Kpop merchandise (mostly all unofficial), adorable stuffed animals, some gorgeous fan art, Korean beauty products, and even a table for the East2West Dance Crew! We were really excited to see The Littlest Gift Boutique (a personal favourite here at Mixtape if you haven’t noticed yet), and Just You- Sarah & Tom there again. Sarah & Tom’s seemed to be a favourite with a lot of people bringing what looked like boxes of every Kpop album imaginable! Unfortunately, The Face Shop didn’t make it back this year, but Take Good Care was there to fill all your sheet masks needs. The dealer’s room is also where you should pick up your swag bag.
Except this year there really wasn’t much point in it. The bags looked great and were of a high quality, but having seen what was in them last year (two sheet face masks from The Face Shop, and a coupon for bubbletea) receiving only a card advertising an energy drink was a pretty big letdown. I really hope the sponsorship team for Toronto Kpop Con 2018 bring their A game; otherwise maybe just forfeit the bags altogether.
Unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of time to check out the panels and games that were going on, but we poked our head into a couple and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Especially during the EXO Viewing, where everyone was singing along, and clapping when they were told too. It was pretty adorable actually.
We spent a large chunk of our time wandering around talking to guests and attendees. We saw a lot of families all together and it was really heartwarming to see families coming together through Kpop; and to see a lot of parents getting into everything just as much as their children. We even had one mom make sure to include the Jimin (from BTS) poster into the picture we took of them! Clearly some people decided to combine Toronto Kpop Con and Mother’s Day weekend for an extra special weekend for the whole family.
Of course there were a few downsides to the convention as well.
The signage and direction on Friday night for the K.A.R.D fanmeeting were very confusing and it didn’t seem particularly organized. Of course this may have had more to do with not having the entire Convention Center space on Friday evening, like they had on Saturday/Sunday. Signs on the walls would have helped a lot more though. Although, it was nice going in on Saturday morning and having everything a lot more organized than it had been on the Friday evening. The few signs that they did have were not very professional, we understand this was only the third year of the con, but these are signs that will be used every year so it would look better to get some printed out for the future.
There were many technical difficulties during both the K.A.R.D fan meet and the Dream Stage (none during the BtoB fan meeting though). Both K.A.R.D and all the performances during the Dream Stage dealt with all the technical difficulties wonderfully and with a great deal of professionalism. We’re guessing it’s more likely to be something to do with the staff at the John Bassett Theatre then the con staff, but it is something to consider when booking the space for Toronto Kpop Con considering most people are coming solely for the fan meets.
So is it worth it for you to check out Toronto Kpop Con for 2018? Yes! Especially if you’re going for the fan meets. I’ll be honest; the $44 for one day entry is a little questionable. I enjoyed the Dream Stage, but there’s not really a reason for me to pay the same price to go on the Sunday. A discount for buying a weekend pass would have been an instant purchase for me; same with if there had been a discount for Pop Goes the World Members. The fan meet tickets do get you into the con on the day of the fan meeting, but I’d be interested to see if many people went on the Sunday considering EXID were moved to August.
All in all, it was a fun day where we got to meet some new friends, see some fantastic dancing, and fangirl/ fanboy about our favourite groups to our heart’s content.