If you are a regular reader here, you know that this Kcon is a big year for me. I’m so excited to bring Junior McFeeley to what is not only her first concert but her first experience in the kpop fandom since becoming, what I’m sure has to be, the biggest Kpop fan in all of Vermont. From what I hear from her parents, she lives, breathes, talks, and (since her mother owns an embroidery/screenprinting shop) wears Kpop. Secretly, we planned it for months, her mom and I, deciding not to tell her anything about it until the tickets were in my hands… as we know K-tickets are not easy to come by.
Finally, the day came. I had Jami, who hasn’t purchased a concert ticket in over 10 years and was nervous to even use Ticketmaster in VT waiting patiently for the moment that they went on sale. Since this was so important, such a big deal, I even enlisted 2 of my coworkers to help. One of my co-workers, Sky, said she’s great at getting tickets — she managed to get great ones for Taylor Swift. Outside, I was all ‘that’s great, thanks for the help!’ on the inside I’m thinking ‘this ain’t gonna be anything like trying to get a Taylor Swift ticket.’ The second ticked down, we got more and more pumped and finally it happened, Ticketmaster opened for business. Welcome to the Thunderdome. Trying to get a ticket—even more—trying to get a good ticket is like trying to use one of those claw machines, you grab and you grab and you either don’t get anything, or it just slips past your fingers. Then finally, two of us were successful, funnily enough, it was Jami and I. Looking at both seats, we made our decision and scored our tickets. While I was bummed P1 didn’t happen (and, since I realized I was buying two tickets, it realistically, couldn’t happen) we had solid seats. That night, we proudly told a THRILLED Junior McFeeley of her imminent Kpop-ery
While I wish the story ended there, sadly, it doesn’t.
Through the boards, chats, podcasts, we tell people who weren’t lucky enough to get tickets, “Don’t worry, they’ll release more tickets, they always release more tickets.” This is true. And this is true for most all concerts, it’s pretty much industry standard. So, when KCon inevitably announced that they were releasing more tickets, we were truly pleased. People who weren’t able to get tickets would have another chance. Fans who were rightfully devastated by not coming out of that ticket brawl alive were able to get back in the thick of it.
This was Wednesday.
Wednesday night, I noticed on one of the Facebook groups SaraG had invited me to, had a small, mostly unnoticed post about the new stadium layout that caught my eye. As I looked at the pictures, first I couldn’t believe it. Then I got angry. Then I looked closer and got angrier. I took a walk to cool off and came back with my flag of rightful indignation flying.
What had happened? What had poked this particular bear?
KCon, without warning any of the people who had purchased tickets, didn’t just release tickets that had been held onto for some reason or another, no, what Kcon had done was to shove the stage backward, opening up more of the arena for ticket purchase. Think of it this way, all of us (with the exception of the people on the floor) who were able to purchase tickets in that first round of sales, were now FURTHER away from from the stage. They took my ticket, that I worked really hard for, and instantly made it not as good as the other, newer tickets.
I’m not saying that KCon wasn’t right to release more tickets. I’m so happy that more people get to go, that people who originally wouldn’t have had this chance now get to enjoy things with the rest of the fandom. What I am trying to say is the way that KCon went about doing this was wrong. Really wrong. And the truly bad thing is? I honestly don’t think they care.
This would not be the first time that KCon has yanked around fans. Yanking up prices, expanding P1 and P2 until a seat that, a few years ago, would have been P3 or P4 are now P1 and P2.
KCON NY 2016 Seating Chart
KCON NY 2018
(Or as Cherry called it when I told her “You’re P2 is in a BALCONY???”) Even the separating the engagement sections of KCon from your tickets, a feature they instituted this year.
While they say they are listening to the fans, it’s clear they are not. Their silence on this matter is case in point. I was actually quite shocked when I first found out what was going on that there wasn’t more of a fan outcry. The boards were silent, there was nary a mention on Twitter, nothing on KCon’s Facebook page — and you know what I’ve come to realize as days go by? It was because, like me, no one had any idea outside of ‘releasing more tickets’ what Kcon had planned or had done. Slowly, as days go by you see more and more fans getting the news, being informed, and that’s when the buzz happened, that people began to feel the anger that simmered inside me.
Why was this not addressed? How did this even happen? Looking at seating charts over the years, this was the first one in a while where they started out making the decision to place the stage so close to the seats, of not using more of the stadium making, unlike years past, fewer seats for them to sell. Which was weird — in years before, there were open areas, unsold tickets, but what’s the difference? Empty seats on the MNET TV episode? So what? It’s the chance you take with filming live events. Wouldn’t that have been a lot more honest, a lot more fair to EVERYONE buying tickets to take the chance of not selling out over selling out your fans?
Sure my seat didn’t move. Sure, I’ll still be able to see the concert. Or as a close friend of mine says “Yeah, it sucks, but we’re still alive. We don’t have cholera. We still get to go.” This isn’t the point for me. Essentially, I purchased something that technically doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t want to overreact but I’m not entirely certain that this isn’t a good old fashioned case of bait and switch.
In the previous years, I’ve been proud to work with the KCon organization. Really, being invited to speak at both LA and NY were pretty much the highlight of my year and before writing this post, I had to think long and hard about the ramifications, the very real notion that if I wrote this, I would probably never be able to work with KCon again. I had to weigh if this issue was worth speaking out or if I hold my tongue and hope for the best. Here’s the thing though. If we don’t speak out — if we don’t make our wishes known, then this is how KCon knows they can continue to treat us, the fans, poorly. I have a platform here and I need to use it wisely, not just to get myself cool experiences, but to say when something isn’t right.
And this isn’t right.
What can we do? Well. I can’t say I’m not going to go to KCon. I have the hopes and dreams of a very excited 11 year old to think of. But will I go again? Probably not. This whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth. What I can do is I can speak with my money. The Kpop landscape wasn’t what it was a few years ago, where KCon was our only option to see these acts here in the states. No, the amount of Kpop that reaches our shores now is astounding compared to just a few years ago —this year alone there’s been or will be BTS, Monsta X, The Rose, Up10Tion, Got7, Red Velvet, NCT127, Eric Nam, Wanna One, and Day 6. And my guess? With the rise of BTS, there are going to be more coming all the time.
To Kcon I say, stop being a jerk. Be more open. Listen to what your fans, the people paying you a great deal of money, have to say. Your actions are not right and make you look TERRIBLE. To Kpop fans I say, speak out. Make your voices known. The only reason they continue to get away with this stuff is that we, the fans, let them. What they did, what they continue to do is not okay, and we need to let them know so that maybe they’ll hear us, maybe they’ll care, and maybe they’ll think twice about doing shit like this in the future.