Festivals are what summer is all about. In the stinking humidity that Korea endures, is there any better idea for a summer festival than the water gun fight festival?
(The answer my friends, is no!)
Music festivals are the epitome of summer fun. Glorious sunshine splashing down upon open-air stages. Great live music and ice cold beers. Friendly faces and jovial strangers. Uber-cool lasers and bodacious dancers. Thumping speakers and ….um….reasonably okay-tasting hot-dogs.
What could possibly make it better?
Guns. Because guns make everything better. So long as they’re full of water, that is.
Merging a dance music festival with a water-fight might not seem like rocket science, but there is simple genius at play. Surely every kid has great memories of water fights from their childhood summer days. A festival is one occasion where adults can go wild like the days gone by. Off the chain of responsibility, people let loose and at Seoul Water Gun Festival, everyone can be a kid again.
The festival is held in stadium grounds in Sinchon, which can be reached by the #2 subway line – that’s the green one that circuits the central city. The gates open at 12 pm Tickets are available online at Trazy and early-bird tickets cost 60,000 ₩ (approx. US$53). The event is open to all aged 19 and over and closes at 10.30pm.
Sun protection and a waterproof case are best not forgotten.
These were being sold around the grounds and in nearby subway exits. The festival grounds have a range of food and drink but you will need your card as cash is not taken by any of the vendors.
Last year, we battled through the crowds to arrive around 2pm. At this point it was already pretty busy and there was a steady stream of people arriving throughout the day.
Inside, you’ll find a wide range of weapons to choose from. The cheapest are the simple pistols that may possibly drown a spider if it stays still long enough for you to refill your gun three times. If you’re not a total cheapskate and are here to have fun, then you can look to something that will better defend your honour if you find yourself in battle.
Some of the most expensive weapons look like they could possibly take down an light aircraft or at least knock a small child to the ground in hilarious fashion. Just joking, it’s totally not funny to shoot a little squirt in the face. You shouldn’t do that. Besides, there are no kids at the festival for you to shoot.
Adults however are fair game.
As the beer flowed, I found myself undertaking a range of military operations. In between dancing, hopping and whistling in the bouncing crowd near the stage, full-on skirmishes were regular.
I soon noticed these were detrimental to my ammo and thus I had to make regular retreats to the large swimming pools in order to reload.
We would later learn that it’s much more satisfying to target random strangers some distance away in the crowd. Indeed, there was a twisted pleasure to be gained from sniping them with a sneaky shot over the bobbing heads in the crowd, catching the mark in the ear or blasting their hat off as they danced. They would look around confused and perturbed, totally unaware as we blended into the movement of mad dancing. Our guilty eyes hid behind shades, our smiles suppressed as we looked around for our next victims.
On stage, the live music and dance acts are constantly keeping the party atmosphere alive. Huge water cannons blast out into the crowd, soaking everyone as battles rage between opposing teams.
Even as the sun goes down, the water war rumbles on and is a welcome refreshment in the humid night air.
Major acts including Simon Dominic and Jessi headlined last year and the crowds pushed and squeezed towards the stage as darkness closed in and the waves of excitement surged from squealing girls at the sight of their heroes on stage. Personally, I knew little of the artists but it didn’t matter as the atmosphere and ambience was better than any festival I’d been to in years.
Festivals in Ireland and Australia have been a mixed bag for weather and welcoming atmosphere. I’m glad to say Korea had no problems with either as the usual respect and class was shown by everyone throughout and the sun blazed strong til night fell.
I’ve been to a few festivals in Korea and this one is definitely up there as one of the best. While it may not be a traditional one in the sense that gives you an insight into authentic Korean culture, it is one of my greatest memories of summer in Korea. If you’re in Korea at the right time and need to cool off, there’s surely no better place.
It’s wild and wet, one you can’t forget! Buckets of fun in the summer sun!
Okay, I’ll stop now.