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[Herald Review] Weverse Con Festival captivates audience with music, technology

Artists across generations showcase collaborations, summarizing K-pop history

June 17, 2024 - 16:35 By Lee Jung-youn
Seventeen performs during the Weverse Concert held on Incheon's Yeongjongdo on Sunday. (2024 Weverse Con Festival)

INCHEON -- The Weverse Con Festival, hosted by K-pop powerhouse Hybe, concluded over the weekend, captivating music fans with performances that spanned generations and genres. Held at the Inspire Entertainment Resort on Incheon's island Yeongjongdo on Sunday, the festival featured outdoor and indoor concerts as well as diverse events over two days.

On the stage Sunday were 15 artists, including rising K-pop stars TWS, virtual idol group Plave and globally popular groups Seventeen, Enhypen and fromis_9. J.Y. Park, a legendary figure in Korean music, headlined the Tribute Stage.

TWS, a rookie group just six months removed from its official debut, kicked off the indoor Weverse Concert at Inspire Arena. The group performed prerelease track “Hey! Hey!” along with debut hit “Plot Twist,” expressing excitement for the new album.

Jeong Dong-won, performing under his K-pop persona JD1, charmed the audience with his debut song “Who Am I,” recent release “Error 405” and a reinterpretation of TVXQ hit “Hug.”

Virtual idol group Plave was met with tremendous cheers in a show of the burgeoning group's popularity. The quintet performed “Why?” in casual outfits before swiftly changing into purple attire to perform “Watch Me Woo!” and “Way 4 Luv.”

Next, fromis_9 dazzled the fans in fairylike costumes, performing hits such as “#menow,” “What I Want,” “Feel Good” and “DM.” The group announced another release to come in August, exciting fans in attendance.

Woozi of Seventeen then introduced the main act to the Tribute Stage, J.Y. Park, saying, “No matter how much you love something, your passion for it can wane over time. But the artist I am about to introduce has been pushing his limits and crossing media boundaries for over 30 years.”

Plave kicked off the Tribute Stage by covering J.Y. Park’s “Your House.” Park appeared on the stage wearing a blue fedora and a fur coat over a white suit, accompanied by a band and dance team dressed in matching purple attire.

Starting with “Who’s Your Mama?” Park collaborated with younger artists on stage. He performed “Elevator” with Baekho, “Behind You” with Enhypen’s Heeseung, “Lies” with Jay, “Farewell Under the Sun” with fromis_9’s Jiwon and “One Candle” with TXT’s Beomgyu.

J.Y. Park (left) and Hybe Chairman Bang Si-hyuk perform at the Weverse Concert on Incheon's Yeongjongdo on Sunday. (2024 Weverse Con Festival)

Midway through his set, Hybe Chairman Bang Si-hyuk made a surprise appearance, playing guitar alongside Park. Park reveled in the moment, “It’s been 22 years since I’ve performed to Si-hyuk's guitar.”

Park then performed megahits “Honey” and “Don’t Leave Me” with young artists, in unforgettable collaborations. When the stage lift malfunctioned, Enhypen smoothly leaped onto the stage and joined the performance.

“It’s been 30 years since I first stood on stage. Thank you for watching over me and enjoying my music,” said Park, reflecting on his career.

Enhypen's portion began with a solo performance by Ni-ki, followed by seven tracks, including “Chaconne” and “Sweet Venom.” The group teased more to come with a message on the big screen -- “Only If You Say Yes” -- along with the date July 12.

The festival’s headliner, Seventeen, performed hits including “God of Music” and “Fxck My Life.” The group showcased unique showmanship, divided into vocal, performance and hip-hop teams. The festival concluded with a dazzling display of fireworks and flames during “Hot” and “Maestro.”

“We are united through music regardless of language, region or race. Thank you to everyone who came with a heart full of love for the artists,” Seungkwan of Seventeen said in expressing his gratitude

This year’s Reverse Con Festival also featured captivating augmented reality technologies.

Weverse Lens, an AR technology overlaying virtual images and videos, allowed attendees to receive digital photo cards with invisible watermarks.

The Weverse Booth had an AR photo wall where visitors could film videos that made them look like livestreaming artists. The “Weverse Queues” service allowed festivalgoers to join booth lines via the Weverse app and receive notifications for their turn, avoiding physical lines.

Additionally, attendees received wristwatch-like cheering bracelets that created stunning visual effects, enhancing the festival experience.

Festivalgoers line up in front of the photo card booth at the Weverse Con Festival, held on Incheon's Yeongjongdo on Sunday. (2024 Weverse Con Festival)