Asia News: Supersonic, Olympics, Billie Eilish
Supersonic Unveils Initial Lineup
John Davisson – Zedd
Zedd takes the crowd to another world during 93.3 FLZ’s Jingle Ball at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., Dec. 16.
Creativeman Productions released the first list of artists who will appear at its Supersonic festival in September on June 18.
True to its promise when it confirmed the dates of the festival last month, Supersonic will be the first concert in Japan since the advent of the pandemic to feature overseas artists. The acts set to appear so far on Sept. 18 in Tokyo and Sept. 19 in Osaka include Zedd, Alan Walker, Nicky Romero, a DJ set from Clean Bandit and Aurora. On Sept. 19 in Tokyo and Sept. 18 in Osaka, the acts include Kygo, Steve Aoki, R3HAB, Digitalism and Frank Walker. Supersonic will take place simultaneously at the Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, east of Tokyo, and Maishima Sonic Park in Osaka. Tickets go on sale July 24.
As one local Twitter user put it, Supersonic will essentially be an Ultra festival, since the bulk of artists seem to be EDM musicians and DJs. Summer Sonic, the annual festival that Supersonic is replacing this year, is normally a more eclectic affair, offering everything from K-pop to metal to classic rock to hip-hop.
The DJ option makes sense since the more persons an act brings into Japan, the greater the expense and inconvenience. As it stands there is still a chance that foreigners entering Japan in September will have to undergo quarantine. In the statement accompanying the announcement, Creativeman said that everyone who has agreed to appear at Supersonic is willing to perform in Japan “even after 3 days of quarantine.” The message also said that some artists invited to the festival declined to appear due to “scheduling and capacity restrictions.” More artists will be announced in coming weeks.
In other festival news, one of Japan’s other major summer music festivals, Rising Sun Festival, which takes place in the remote Ezo area of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, has cancelled its 2021 edition, despite the fact that earlier this year organizers had announced their intention to resume the annual get-together after cancelling it last year. In a statement released on its website, the organizer, WESS Co., Ltd., said, “As with last year, the prospect of spreading infections was uncertain, and the decision was made to cancel this year’s edition as well, taking into account the safety and health management of staff at the venue, the limited preparation time and other considerations.”
Many people who purchased tickets for last year’s festival had held on to them for this year’s festival, but they will now all receive full refunds.
Locals To Attend Olympics
The Japanese government finally announced on June 21 that it will allow locals to attend athletic events of the Tokyo Olympics, which begins in one month. The organizers say that audiences will be limited to 10,000 people per venue per event.
The Japan Times reports that the announcement follows “months of back-and-forth between organizers, officials, experts and the public over the scale and scope” of the Games, which were supposed to take place last summer but were postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.
The cap is either 10,000 or 50 percent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower. As an exception, 20,000 people will be able to attend the opening ceremony, which will be smaller than usual since athletes will not be allowed to enter Japan more than five days prior to their athletic appearance and must leave no more than two days after their participation ends.
Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, said during a news conference, “Restrictions during the Tokyo Games will be aligned with whatever coronavirus measures are in place. The last part of the Games has been decided, and the plan is now complete.”
All spectators will be required to wear masks and asked not to cheer during events. Several remote live viewing sites planned for locations throughout the host city have been cancelled to avoid an accumulation of people. However, the organizers also said that alcohol will be served at venues in line with sponsorship deals, which is surprising since alcohol sales in restaurants and bars were restricted during the state of emergency in Tokyo, which the government lifted on June 21.
The organizing committee also said that if another state of emergency is declared in Tokyo or “anywhere competitive venues are located” after July 12, spectator restrictions will be brought in line with whatever safety measures are implemented. The prime minister also stated that the government could still prohibit spectators from attending events if it deems the situation has become more serious leading up to the Games. On June 18, the central government’s main coronavirus expert and 25 others published a report recommending that events be held without spectators.
The remaining question is how the organizers will decide which ticketholders will be allowed to attend and which will be offered refunds.
Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP, File – Billie Eilish
performs during the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. Eilish will perform at this month
Billie Eilish Boycott
Music fans in China have said they will boycott Billie Eilish after a TikTok video emerged that allegedly showed the American singer insulting Chinese people by imitating a Chinese accent and using a racist slur.
The video spread over social media accounts in China during the week of June 14, and China’s nationalist newpaper, Global Times, then reported on June 21 that a boycott was being organized. The newspaper quoted multiple fans of Eilish who said they felt betrayed and didn’t seem to care when the video was made or whether it was leaked inadvertently. As a result, according to Singapore’s Straits Times, the hashtag #BillieEilishisoverparty has been trending for the past week.
Eilish acknowledged the issue in a fairly long Instagram post on June 21, saying “I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this…There’s a video edit going around of me when I was 13 or 14 where I mouthed a word from a song that at the time I didn’t know was a derogatory term used against members of the Asian community. I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word.” She ended the post by saying, “Regardless of the ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.” However, she denied that she was mocking Asian accents in the video and said that what she was saying was mostly “gibberish” that had nothing to do with any language or accent.
As pointed out by various Asian media, Eilish has angered Chinese fans before. Last year she posted a set of tweets that praised the Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators, statements that Chinese people took to mean that she supported Hong Kong’s independence from mainland China.