From Korea, with love: Our guide to KCON 2016 in Abu Dhabi

KCON 2016 Abu Dhabi brings some of the country’s biggest cultural exports to the capital, from cosmetics to pop music, soap operas and cuisine – plus an appearance by stand-up comic Wonho Chung.

KCON 2016 Abu Dhabi will take place at du Arena on Friday. Courtesy CJ E&M
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KCON 2016, organised by the Korea-headquartered CJ E&M media group, is a one-day cultural extravaganza that will be held at du Arena on Friday, March 25.

The convention, featuring all of Korea’s biggest and most popular cultural exports and phenomena – from soap operas to cosmetics – will be followed by performances by top K-pop stars. Here’s our round-up of what not to miss at the event.

Get it Beauty

Korean women are known for their high beauty standards and the country’s cosmetics products now have a sizeable following across the globe.

Popular Korean fashion and beauty show Get It Beauty will be shining a spotlight on Korean YouTube sensation Liah Yoo, who will be on hand to offer her beauty tips. Yoo is quickly becoming one of the top international beauty YouTubers with her channel ­YellowyCream. She is loved for her down-to-earth persona and accessibility to her fans around her world. Based in Seoul, Yoo blogs and vlogs in English.

Yoo’s make-up session is from 3pm to 3.30pm and 6.40pm to 7.10pm

Narae Park of pop band SPICA will lead a session from 5.20pm to 5.50pm

EOS Dance Crew

Dubai’s own Hallyu-tastic girls – Ari, Benj, Reez, Xxin, and Pauline – are a mix of Filipinos and Britons between the ages of 18 and 33, who love to dance “Korea-style”.

They discovered their shared love through friends just over a year ago.

“There’s always a fun and impactful choreography that goes along with Korean songs, which is what got us to love dancing to Korean music,” says Benj.

EOS – which stands for Energy of Seoul – mostly cover songs from their favourite groups– BTS, EXO, and 4MINUTE. “We’re always up for challenging ourselves by trying different types of dances and genres in K-POP,” says Xxin.

The girls say they love K-pop because it has a bit of everything – “from synchronisation to charisma, from the idols to their fans, their quality of music and overall performance,” says Reez. “That’s why people from all over the world enjoy it a lot.”

EOS Dance Crew will be getting their groove on between 3.50pm and 4pm

DEF Dance Skool

This after-school academy – in the tradition of the country’s hogwan privately-owned (cram schools)– focuses on students who want to be pop and hip-hop stars – with the ­emphasis on “fun”.

Dancers from the DEF Skool will be teaching some of the most popular K-pop dance routines from 4.40pm to 5.10pm and then from 6pm to 6.30pm

Conference Zone

Bang “Hitman Bang” Si-hyuk, chief executive of Big Hit Entertainment (also known as Korea’s “Simon Cowell”), will talk about his experiences training K-pop idols.

His talk is from 3.50pm to 4.20pm

Kim Mi-so

The only female percussion soloist in Korea, Kim Mi-so is known for her supercharged drumming performances. Mi-so has toured over 20 countries. Her first single Spring Beat was released in 2014.

Mi-so will hold on-site lessons for visitors from 3pm to 3.30pm, and will perform from 5pm to 7.10pm


Dubai-based Korean-Vietnamese comedian Wonho Chung will raise laughs with his insights and banter.

5.30pm to 5.50pm


Do you know your bibimbap from your gimbap? For those who don’t, bibimbap is rice mixed with veggies and gimbap is bite-size rice rolled in gim (dried laver ­seaweed) with vegetables and meat. The food zone has a range of vendors, and local restaurant Manna Land will also be dishing up specialities. Chilli-heads should try the spicy tteokbokki rice cakes.

Meet & greet the bands

• Double S301, 2.20pm to 3pm

• MONSTA, X 3.30pm

• BTS, 4.30pm to 4.50pm

KCON 2016 Abu Dhabi is at du Arena on Friday from 2pm to 10pm, tickets cost Dh350 (silver) and Dh450 (gold) from