The annual WATERBOMB festival returns to Seoul later this month, and as the exciting weekend of water cannon battles and high-energy live performances approaches, the organizers continue to reveal the final line-up.
The line-up includes many returning WATERBOMB veterans such as Jessi, Jay Park, Zico, and HyunA, as well as artists performing at the popular festival for the first time, including aespa.
aespa’s participation in the festival was confirmed only hours ago, and while fans are grateful for the increased schedules for the talented fourth-gen group, they’re also concerned about their health and safety for two reasons.
Before aespa takes the 2023 WATERBOMB stage in Seoul on June 25, they have a concert in Jakarta, Indonesia, the day before, on June 24. The back-to-back shows in different countries have many fans concerned that the members won’t be able to adequately rest between performances.
so that means right after hyperline in jakarta the girls will immediately go back to korea for the waterbomb fest..
another hectic sched for aespa 🥺 pic.twitter.com/o8Iq3xoiC1
— aespa charts #MYWORLD 🌶️ (@aespachartsdata) June 5, 2023
This is cool but they're going to have a concert on June 24th in Indonesia wow let them rest a bit
— 😪💤 (@yoonirey) June 5, 2023
@SMTOWNGLOBAL Give them at least two days break after Jakarta concert, is your head ok???
— Allen ♡♡♡ (@aespastelpink) June 5, 2023
Additionally, netizens expressed frustrations with the festival’s potentially unsafe environment, considering NingNing‘s eye condition.
WATERBOMB combines water fights with live music. Water cannons and water guns are provided for attendees to aim at each other and the performing artists.
Fans are asked not to point the water cannons at the faces of the performing artists, but unfortunately, that guideline has historically not been followed by everyone.
Past performers have addressed the issue, including Lee Young Ji and (G)I-DLE‘s Shuhua, who spoke out about getting repeatedly hit in the eyes with water during the (G)I-DLE’s 2022 WATERBOMB performance.
— Chapter.S (@chapter_ysh) June 26, 2022
aespa’s NingNing revealed to Vogue+ China earlier this year that she had surgery on her right eye when she was younger, continues to experience visual impairment, and requires ongoing treatment with eye drops.
Ningning: eye drops. Because My eyesight is not very good, I had an operation when I was a child. This side (right eye) can barely see anything. It's a secret. So I carry eye drops with me to keep my eyes from drying out and to protect my eyes.🥺#aespa #닝닝 #vogue pic.twitter.com/khKUmWkR0U
— Ningning (@DianeKarr6) March 14, 2023
Knowing the fragility of NingNing’s eye, the potential for unsafe performance conditions, and the members’ schedule, netizens are calling for increased enforcement of rules at WATERBOMB and for aespa’s company, SM Entertainment, to allow the members to rest.
- “Someone who’s been to WATERBOMB told me they shoot not only water but soda and other liquids, too… which is so dangerous. I’m not just talking about getting aimed in the face, either. Think about how slippery it must be with the floor all wet.”
- “I wish they’d stop hosting WATERBOMB festivals. It’s such a waste of water. And it’s getting more dangerous now since we don’t know what’s being shot.”
- “It must have been difficult for her to keep up with the choreography and all, especially with her vision issue… She’s amazing. And people at WATERBOMB don’t ever listen to the warnings not to aim at the artists’ faces. I doubt the water being used is clean… so it’d be a miracle if the attending artists didn’t catch any viruses.”
- “Please take care of the members.
- “Why would anyone aim at her eyes? WATERBOMB needs to work on separating the stage from the audience even more. And from what I heard about last year’s WATERBOMB, the staff didn’t even interfere until the artists got really upset.”
- “Don’t aim at her face. People are so mean.”
- “Wow… If she basically has no vision on one side, she must be exhausted from seeing the world with a single eye. I hope they’ll cancel.”
- “I love that the girls have a lot more schedules because it means more content for us… But we’re not asking to overwork them so they start passing out one by one. Why is there no moderation? No middle ground?”
- “I watched Youngji’s video and… TBH, it looks like a stupid festival for stupid people to do stupid things.”