Amidst the confusion surrounding the two-day K-Pop festival, KAMP LA 2022, one thing has been clear: the artists performing at the festival and the fans who supported them are what saved what was expected to be a bleak weekend.
KAMP LA 2022 marketed itself as “the biggest, fully immersive K-Pop experience to ever hit the United States” but would soon become embroiled in disappointment as it was announced less than 24 hours before the event that organizers were unable to obtain the proper work visas that would allow seven of the performing artists to enter the U.S.
Fans were understandably shocked and upset, as many traveled from out of state or internationally to see some of their favorite artist(s) only to find out they wouldn’t be performing.
Due to half of the line-up being unable to travel to the U.S., the remaining artists extended their sets. MOMOLAND and TFN (formerly known as T1419) were added to Saturday’s line-up in addition to their scheduled performance on Sunday, October 16, despite working through jetlag.
Once KAMP LA 2022 began and festivities were underway, fans continued to express their disappointment in the experience. The promised meet and greet was underwhelming for the $1,000 USD per day price tag that some fans paid for the VIP experience. Videos showed fans with VIP tickets being hurried along a barricade as the performers stood against a makeshift backdrop several feet away from the gate.
there’s no way this is the meet and greet pic.twitter.com/kaguRdMiOk
— daisy: ♡ ⩜⃝ p1h DAY !!! (@WANG7_VAV) October 15, 2022
Veteran K-Pop idol group Super Junior seemed to agree that fans didn’t deserve that experience and were praised for disregarding staff direction and moving closer to fans, turning the meet and greet into a hi-touch event.
Look how SJ leader Leeteuk move forward to meet & greet 😭😭 we trust SJ will not accept only wave hands is enough, we have faith they will do the best. But I fail to manage selfie w/ them coz too nervous and excited 🏻 see you in HK in Nov #SUPERJUNIOR #KAMPLA2022 #슈퍼주니어 pic.twitter.com/IVpou1BDH9
— 🌹🌹🍒Annie in SS9🐰🐯 (@Annie_cccc) October 16, 2022
The fans who attended and the artists who performed made the best of the weekend. The artists have been earning wide praise for their professionalism, as they gave their time on stage their all, even when plagued with technical issues, rain, and delays with the event-provided translators.
Performing last minute ,jetlaged without sleep , performing in rain, Slippery stage , difficulties while setting up their songs and Momoland still killed it. When they went to the front stage I could see the water all over it and they still performed so well . Professionalism 💗 pic.twitter.com/5JjIR8Ge9P
— VR_Granny ♥️🎠🍷 (@granny_vr) October 16, 2022
Day two of KAMP LA 2022 recently ended, and Epik High had the second-to-last performance of the night. Epik High, one of Korea’s pioneering hip-hop groups, are known to be refreshingly vocal in standing up for themselves, their fellow artists, their art form, and their fans when needed.
Before their set today, Epik High’s Tablo did just that when he voiced the frustrations felt by thousands of fans this weekend over the event’s confusion and disorganization.
Yesterday, Tablo tweeted a simple “zipper-mouth” emoji, which fans quickly believed was connected to the festival.
spill the tea tablo. spill the teablo
— spooky lil pidge (@ramendates) October 15, 2022
Today, Tablo confirmed that he and his fellow Epik High members, DJTukutz and Mithra Jin, had thoughts about how KAMP LA 2022 was handled. Before Epik High began their set, Tablo took the opportunity to address the crowd,
There are times in your life where you feel like everything is going to s**t—
As a seasoned performer, he paused while the crowd loudly cheered in appreciation that someone was acknowledging their feelings after the turbulent weekend. He continued,
— where you feel like all the plans you made…all the hopes you had… no matter how well organized and prepared in advance; don’t matter because it’s not in your control.
He again paused as the weight of his words resonated with fans, who related to the disappointment felt by the last-minute changes despite coordinating time and money around the festival.
There are times in your life where you don’t always get what you want and it breaks your heart… I’m sure none of you know what I’m talking about—
Cheers and laughs continued as people voiced their agreement among the crowd. He sarcastically added,
I am sure none of you experienced even a little bit of that this weekend… I’m just saying this because we personally have experienced crazy, crazy days in our life.
At this point, the crowd is chanting Tablo’s name, as the relief of having their feelings validated by one of the performing artists served to further unite the crowd, who will no doubt remember this weekend for years to come.
And all those moments are a reminder that despite it all, we are here!
— nøa 🧋 @kampla (@cherrykonic_) October 17, 2022
Later in the set, Tablo again addressed the disorganized event, saying he had “mad respect” for people that can take a bad situation and attempt to make it positive. He also gave a shout-out to his fellow KAMP LA 2022 performers. He showed his class by praising the performers who couldn’t make it to L.A., sharing with the audience that he knew each of the artists worked very hard on their performances and were undoubtedly disappointed they couldn’t be there.
He also acknowledged the fans who were in attendance and the fans who could not be there. He stated, “What a night! In more ways than one, tonight will be historical. No matter what anyone says, these last two nights will be remembered…” Before playing their final song, a fan-favorite, “Born Hater,” Tablo joked, “I’m just saying if ever there is a Netflix show or a Hulu show, I want to be in it.” He hilariously clarified that he meant “any” Netflix or Hulu show before giving a knowing look to the audience.
— ⋆⁺shan🐿 (@1ndymynt) October 17, 2022
After the group’s stage, Tablo took to Twitter to epically post a “mic drop” gif as fans voiced their appreciation and admiration in the comments.
— tablo (@blobyblo) October 17, 2022
After Epik High’s set, aespa ended day 2 of KAMP LA 2022 with their electrifying performance, bringing the two-day festival to a close.
— jane ✨ (@leetaeminyong) October 17, 2022
In promotional interviews about the festival released in August, Super Junior’s Leeteuk was quoted saying, “this is something special that K-pop fans will remember and talk about for years to come,” and he couldn’t have been more right, but likely not in the way he expected.
Check out the article below for more on KAMP LA 2022: