After a half-year break, the world’s largest South Korean music festival is back with the third installment of its online counterpart, KCON:TACT 3. This year’s event features a packed lineup of K-pop superstars, from girl group MAMAMOO to veteran soloist Sunmi, plus a slew of features to bring viewers closer to the idols through the power of technology.
With KCON:TACT 3 underway, we’ll be recapping all the best performances that you might have missed over the course of the festival.
SF9 mark themselves out as ones to watch on Kingdom
Next month, SF9 will go up against BtoB, iKon, THE BOYZ, Stray Kids and ATEEZ on the new season of survival show Kingdom. Compared to some of the other bands on the programme, the FNC Entertainment group might be a little more underrated but, in their KCON:TACT performance, they showed they’ve definitely got the skills and songs to mount a challenge against the more globally renowned acts on the bill.
‘Summer Breeze’ is bright and fun, while ‘Shine Together’ shares moving sentiments, delivered with poise. It’s ‘Good Guy’ that’s the highlight of the set though – still an irresistible banger over a year since its original release. With member Rowoon back on stage following injury, SF9’s KCON:TACT set shows a group coming into their own.
TOMORROW X TOGETHER offer comfort and escapism
Can you feel the rush, MOA?! 🥰 @TXT_bighit
— KCONUSA (@kconusa) March 21, 2021
On their latest release ‘Minisode 1 – Blue Hour’, TOMORROW X TOGETHER shared their thoughts and feelings on young people’s lives in the pandemic. It was a comforting listen and one whose powers are still going strong, as evidenced by TXT’s latest KCON:TACT performance. It’s a set of two halves – the consolation and relatable feelings in ‘We Lost The Summer’ and ‘Way Home’, and escapist joy.
First, that manifests in ‘Blue Hour’, complete with an even more joyful dance break and, later, in the standout track from the band’s 2019 album ‘The Dream Chapter: Magic’. ‘9 And Three Quarters (Run Away)’ was a burst of pure serotonin back when it was first released and, as proved by TXT’s performance today (March 21), hasn’t lost any of its potency in the interim.
DREAMCATCHER own their 2pm cover
A LEGENDARY cover stage of 2PM’s ‘My House’ by @hf_dreamcatcher exactly what we needed 🏡❤️
— KCONUSA (@kconusa) March 21, 2021
We’ve still got a bit of a wait until 2pm make their long-awaited return from hiatus, but DREAMCATCHER’s cover of ‘My House’ will more than tide us over til then. The original might not immediately make you think it would work as a rock ripper, but the DREAMCATCHER ladies prove that it not only does work but sounds incredible in that form. It’s not just notable for its heavy reworking though – the group also perform sublimely, especially Handong nailing an impressive triple axel spin like she’s dancing on ice rather than the KCON:TACT stage.
Woodz represents for soloists
Completely captivated by @c_woodzofficial 😍
— KCONUSA (@kconusa) March 21, 2021
It’s unusual to see the KCON:TACT stage so sparsely populated as when Woodz is performing, but what the solo star lacks in numbers he makes up for in talent. On ‘Touché’, his vocals are sultry and caramel smooth, while a performance of ‘Trigger’ in the KCON:TACT music studio positions him as the compelling frontman of a rock band, combining riffs with his biting rap flow. Our only complaint? His set feels far too short.
LOONA take us into their universe
So far, LOONA have performed at all three KCON:TACT events, with their 2020 appearances showcasing some of their best songs so far. In their third performance, the girl group welcome us even further into their world. Their set begins with ’12:00’ and ‘Why Not?’, complete with voguing and heaps of attitude. Later, they add the heartfelt ‘Universe’ to the mix and the refreshing bop of ‘Star’ to round off a performance that highlights the band’s different assets. No wonder they keep getting invited back.
AB6IX showcase their soul
Last year, AB6IX were due to head out on their first world tour. Before they could hit the road, though, the dates were forced to be cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic. While their fans, ABNEW, wait for the chance to see them live, the boyband use their KCON:TACT set to give us a glimpse of what to expect from their shows when the day comes. The answer? A lot of soul. It’s there in their gorgeous vocals on ‘Heaven’ and poured into every move on ‘Stay Young’. By the time two canons of shiny confetti explode either side of the stage during ‘So Real’ they’ve firmly made their case for being a must-see when the world reopens.
THE BOYZ bring the ‘Danger’
— KCONUSA (@kconusa) March 20, 2021
You can hardly move for THE BOYZ content on day one of KCON:TACT. First, the 11-member boyband kick off the whole show with a powerful version of ‘The Stealer’, Hyunjae performs a special collaboration with LOONA’s Heejin, they play games in a meet and greet section and, of course, share a full performance later on. Throughout, thy show off their compelling performance skills and eclectic songs – from the summery bounce of ‘Salty’ to the cool strut of ‘Whiplash’ – but there was one moment that just came out on top.
Originally debuted during Road To Kingdom last year, THE BOYZ’s cover of Taemin’s ‘Danger’ is sublime. There’s less drama and extravagance in the KCON:TACT version, but that doesn’t stop them from making a lasting impression. It’s a masterful cover – one that puts their own take on Taemin’s R&B flavour but still honours the original.
OH MY GIRL serve up sweet treats
If the other Day One acts excel on some darker stages, OH MY GIRL close out the action with something brighter and sweeter. From the irresistible chorus of ‘Dolphin’ (and its impossible-not-to-copy choreography) to the loose fun of ‘Tic Toc’, the girl group consistently serve up the kind of infectious energy it’s hard not to get swept along by.
There are sweet treats included in their set too, like a performance of the swooning ‘The Fifth Season’ delivered from a “music studio” space. Backed by a live band, the new arrangement adds a new edge to the song’s soft melodies. Back on the main stage – which is made to look like a packed arena by XR technology – the background changes to one dripping in pastel gloops and cream swirls for the vibrant sugar rush that is ‘Nonstop’. An uplifting joy to watch.
What is KCON:TACT 3?
KCON:TACT 3 is the third online installment of the popular live K-pop festival, KCON. The digital event was originally created in June 2020 to replace physical KCON festivals, in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event has drawn over 4.5million viewers from over 153 countries over the world, and takes advantage of modern technology, such as MR (mixed reality), AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality).
When is KCON:TACT 3?
KCON:TACT 3 is set to be held over nine days from March 20 to March 28. The main performances will take place daily from 9pm-12am, with two replays the next day from 11am-2pm and 3:30pm-6:30pm. All timings are in PST.
Who will be performing at KCON:TACT 3?
A total of 26 different K-pop groups and soloists are set to perform at KCON:TACT 3, from up-and-coming rookies such as P1Harmony to established veterans like MAMAMOO. It’ll also feature appearances from LOONA, Sunmi, Kang Daniel, ATEEZ and more.
The groups will perform at various times across the different days, with special V DIUM (virtual stadium) sets by EVERGLOW, WOODZ and OH MY GIRL. Japanese group JO1 are also set to have a meet and geet on March 23. Check out the line-up by day below.
Day 1: AB6IX, LOONA, OH MY GIRL and THE BOYZ
Day 2: Dreamcatcher, SF9, TXT and WOODZ
Day 6: Ha Sung Woon, iKON, JESSI, JO1 and P1Harmony
Day 7: A.C.E, EVERGLOW, HyunA, Lee Jin Hyuk and Stray Kids
Day 8: ATEEZ, ENHYPEN, ITZY and Sunmi
Day 9: BtoB, Kang Daniel, MAMAMOO and TOO
For a full list of line-ups and replay timing, head over to the KCON:TACT website here.
How do I get access to KCON:TACT 3?
Users in most countries can get access to KCON:TACT 3 by purchasing a membership via either the KCON or Mnet YouTube channels. However, users in South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia will only be able to get access to KCON:TACT 3 via local affiliates. More information at the KCON:TACT website.
How much is KCON:TACT 3?
The KCON:TACT 3 membership comes in three tiers: Normal, Plus and Premium.
Normal (US$19.99 on web/Android, $24.99 on iOS) will grant viewers access to live premiere streaming performances, V DIUM sets, meet & greets and on-demand performances from KCON:TACT 1 and 2.
Meanwhile, Plus (US$24.99 on web/Android, $29.99 on iOS) gives users access to all the previously mentioned features in addition to FanPick Cam and concert/meet & greet replays.
Finally, Premium (US$34.99 on web/Android, $44.99 on iOS) grants users special on-demand access to Normal features, alongside Back Stage Behind privileges.