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Looking for summer fun? Just add water : Festivals offer exciting ways to cool off on the hottest days of the year

June 24,2017
Attendees at last year’s Sinchon Water Gun Fight Festival soak each other while running through the streets of Sinchon in western Seoul. Now in it’s fifth year, the festival is one of the hottest events of the summer. [MOOUNGA]
From left, staff members at last year’s Sinchon Water Gun Fight Festival soak festival attendees with water guns. Two women roam Seoul Plaza during last year’s Rain Festival. At the Hangang Summer Festival, two men try out water-powered hoverboards. The Waterbomb Festival will have Team Red and Team Blue battle each other with water guns and performances. [MOOUNGA, YONHAP, VU ENT]
Although the temperature hasn’t changed drastically since May, summer is officially here. Festivals dedicated to cooling off during the hottest months of the year offer an easy-to-access retreat for Seoul citizens. Visiting large water parks and beaches require a great deal of planning, travel and are usually filled to capacity with others trying to escape the heat.

Luckily, a number of events this summer will give people the opportunity to splash around. From water fights to outdoor pools, here are four upcoming events where you can cool off this summer.

Sinchon Water Gun Fight Festival

July 29-30

Water gun fights may seem like child’s play, but since 2013, Sinchon in western Seoul has been the home of water gun fights for adults. Now in its fifth year, the Sinchon Water Gun Fight Festival is bigger than ever - with even more water. Hoping to “make Korea fun with festivals,” the organizers of the event, Moounga, will once again flood the streets of Sinchon with joy. Over the course of four years, more than 115 thousand people have attended the festival, and Moounga hopes to make the festival a summertime staple.

This year, the theme of the festival is “Man Against Extraterrestrials.” Held on Yonsei-ro, the car-free main street that runs through the center of Sinchon, each participant will have the chance to choose whether they will be the invading alien force or protectors of Earth. The main stage, located right in the middle of Yonsei-ro, will be shaped like a circular UFO. Additionally, there will also be a bubble foam party with special effects and stage installations.

A festival cannot go without music, and DJs, aptly named The Galaxy DJs, will provide the soundtrack for the two warring factions going head to head with water guns. The water gun activities will take place on both days of the festival.

The festival had been scheduled for July 8-9 but has been postponed to July 29-30 in consideration of the farm villages damaged by the current drought. For additional information, go to watergunfestival.co.kr, or call 02-1661-3913.

Hangang Summer Festival

July 21 - August 20

The wide Han River that bisects Seoul offers a relaxing getaway for city dwellers who live some distance from the ocean. Needless to say, during the hot days of summer, many flock to the riversides to enjoy the water and the river breeze.

The Hangang Summer Festival, hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government returns once again this year, this time under the theme “Rediscovering the Han River.” The 31-day festival with a whopping 80 programs will provide plenty of chances to escape the summer heat.

The 80 or so programs are divided into three categories. “Staying Cool” consists of water-related activities such as water sports, swimming, races and challenges. “Together” consists of activities related to the environment and the ecosystem, with main attractions like stargazing and Han River laser tag. The final category is “Touching Moments,” and will offer a host of concerts and performances to enjoy.

Some of the biggest attractions of the month-long festival are the Film Festival under the Bridge, the Tropical Night Festival, Slide the City and the Han River Paper Ship Racing Tournament.

The festival is visited by over 10 million visitors each year and with new programs added in this year’s festivities, such as the Ara-ho Cruise Floating Theater, the festival hopes to be more attractive to visitors than ever.

There is no entrance ticket fee, but some activities will require a participation fee. For additional information on the Hangang Summer Festival and a schedule of activities, visit hangang.seoul.go.kr/project.

Waterbomb Festival

July 29

One of the biggest music festivals of the summer since its inception in 2015, the Waterbomb Festival is coming back this summer for its third year at the Seoul Sports Complex in southern Seoul. It caught the eye of festivalgoers in the summer of 2015 with its audience friendly concept and will continue to entertain audiences this year along similar lines.

The audience will have a chance to soak each other with water guns, while being showered with buckets of water from water cannons lined up on the stage. Similar to the Sinchon festival, the event will split the audience in two - Team Red and Team Blue - and both will go head to head during the show. Interestingly, the performers are also divided into two teams who will also be facing off throughout the day.

The festival is divided into many sections. The main stage is where artists of each team go head to head with their performances. A large pool and the beach lounge will give the audience a place to relax and cool off from the craziness going on in the battle zone. The battle zone and defense tower will see attendees and artists both trying to get one over each other.

As it is a music festival in its essence, the festival lineup is nothing but exciting. Team Blue features heavy trap musician Lookas, reggae duo Skull & Haha and one of the hottest rappers in Korea, C Jamm. On Team Red, rappers Jessi, Sleepy and BewhY will put on the show for their squad. A second lineup is set to be announced in the near future.

For additional information and tickets, visit waterbombfestival.com or contact 010-3360-7846. Luckily, the first round of tickets are being sold at a 30% discount. Festivalgoers are allowed to choose whether they will be on Team Red or Team Blue during will purchasing tickets.

Rain Festival

July 27-29

Far from the frenzy of the aforementioned events, the Rain Festival, hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, in collaboration with Moounga, is nonetheless an enjoyable festival.

Held around Seoul Plaza and Deoksu Palace, the whole idea of the festival is to instill in visitors the importance of conserving water and the need to recycle rainwater into usable water. The festival grounds offer many activities to educate people on the importance of water in an enjoyable way.

It offers an outdoor pool filled with filtered rain water, a gigantic installation art work of a rain cloud and also an outdoor movie theatre where festivalgoers can watch movies while sitting in small, personal pools, called Rain Movie Night.

The Rain Playground will feature a bounce house, while the Rain Market will have small shops offering handmade items relating to the theme of rain

As it is also an educational festival, the festival will hold a Rain Water Circulation Exposition, where some 40 companies dedicated to recycling water will have booths to share their technologies related to water usage.

The Rain Festival is free. Visit festival.seoul.go.kr/water for more information.

BY KIM JUNG-KYOON [kim.jungkyoon@joongang.co.kr]