The Weverse Con Festival 2023, held by HYBE on the afternoon of the 11th at Seoul Olympic Park KSPO Dome and 88 Grass Yard, showcased a remarkable stage called the “Tribute Stage.”
One of the most anticipated moments at the festival was when the iconic Korean female dance singer, “Korea’s Madonna,” Uhm Jung-hwa, and the five members of the fourth-generation K-pop girl group, “Le Sserafim,” walked onto the stage with their arms linked.
The six members, dressed in shades of soft pink, presented a performance of Uhm Jung-hwa’s hit song “Ending Credit,” as if they were a cohesive team. Uhm Jung-hwa, who recently achieved another peak in her career with the title role in the JTBC drama “Doctor Cha Jung-sook,” showcased her vibrant presence on stage.
The members of the fourth-generation K-pop boy group, Tomorrow X Together (TXT), presented a sensual performance reinterpreting Uhm Jung-hwa’s symbolic song, “Invitation.” With the essence of the original song, the TXT members also shined on stage. The performance of ENHYPEN, fromis_9, and BOYNEXTDOOR were also loved by the fans.
Second-generation K-pop representative idol, Kim Junsu, also known as XIA, personally introduced Uhm Jung-hwa’s tribute stage. He expressed his admiration by stating that Uhm Jung-hwa, with her love and passion for music over the past 30 years, is the protagonist who has created her own film. He also praised the moments Uhm Jung-hwa shared with music on stage as the best scenes of her life.
The “Tribute Stage” is a signature stage of the Weverse Con Festival, the predecessor of the festival, “2021 New Year’s Eve Live,” and “2022 Weverse Con [New Era],” which have been consistently showcased.
The concept of the Tribute Stage is to select musicians who have influenced the history of Korean popular music and share their music. In “2021 New Year’s Eve Live,” they paid tribute to the late pioneer of the music industry, Shin Hae-chul, using augmented reality (AR) technology, and in “2022 Weverse Con [New Era],” they selected the “Cultural President” Seo Taiji as the tribute artist. Although HYBE possesses the iconic group BTS, the K-pop idol legacy of HYBE practically begins with the third generation of idols. Now recognized as the “K-pop powerhouse,” HYBE is preserving and seeking profitability by inheriting the cultural heritage of Korean popular music, including Shin Hae-chul, Seo Taiji, and Uhm Jung-hwa from the first and second generations of K-pop.
At the center of it all is HYBE’s global fandom platform, Weverse. One notable difference between the Weverse Con Festival and previous HYBE music festivals is that artists from various agencies, not just HYBE labels, participate on the stage. If artists are affiliated with Weverse, they can perform in this festival called “Weverse Con.” The nature of Weverse sets it apart from other K-pop agencies that emphasize joint performances and collaborations.
The Tribute Stage protagonist, Uhm Jung-hwa, is not assosiated with Hybe. Similarly, Kim Junsu is also not affiliated with HYBE, yet he communicates with fans through Weverse. Hyolyn, who performed on the same day, until recently was also not under HYBE but is affiliated previously with the Weverse platform. Among the teams participating in the performance on the 11th, BTOB and LIGHTSUM are also not under HYBE but are active on Weverse.
Weverse creates a structure where everyone becomes one, surpassing agency boundaries.