Asia News: Idols Rule Summer Sonic; 3 Reported In Groping Case; Lolla India To Return; Disabled Fans Still Face Barriers

MUMBAIPALOOZA: Lollapalooza India will return to Mumbai in 2024, based on the success of its inaugural edition in January. Here, Indian-born Canadian performer AP Dhillon performs on Jan. 28. (Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP)


Idols Steal Show At Summer Sonic

Though Blur and Kendrick Lamar were the headliners at the main stage of Summer Sonic 2023, held simultaneously in Osaka and Tokyo the weekend of Aug. 19-20, the real draw as far as social media was concerned were the various idol acts invited.

The festival started auspiciously when the K-pop girl quintet NewJeans made its Japan debut at the main Marine Stage in the Zozo Marine Stadium. An estimated 30,000 people attended the performance, prompting security to close off some sections of the stadium for safety reasons.

At the opposite end of the festival at the Mountain Stage, local darlings Babymetal played to a crowd of idol worshippers and metalheads that ranged from teenage girls to middle aged men at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center.

It was impossible to get in once the show started, even though Kendrick Lamar was playing at the same time in the stadium.

Both legs of the festival were sold out months in advance (total attendance for the weekend: Tokyo 125,000; Osaka 90,000). This year’s festival was noteworthy not only by the fact that numbers were up over even pre-COVID attendances – last year’s attendance was subject to limited capacities due to lingering restrictions – but that a larger portion of the crowd was from other Asian countries.

In addition to half a dozen top-tier K-pop acts, major artists from Thailand and Taiwan also performed. Shimizu said that making preparations for this year’s blowout was easier, thanks to the government’s relaxation of all restrictions. But it also encouraged the return of big sponsors. “Many avoided last year’s edition due to worries over criticism,” said Shimizu.

Three Reported In DJ Soda Groping Case

TryHard Japan, the organizer of the Music Circus ‘23 festival where the popular South Korean performer DJ Soda was allegedly groped during her concert set, has filed a report to the Osaka Prefectural Police citing two men and one woman as perpetrators.

The three are accused of touching the DJ’s breasts and “hugging her without consent,” according to a report in Japan Times. The fest took place mid-August in the city of Sennan, Osaka Prefecture.

Police said they would identify the perpetrators using “multiple pieces of security camera footage” that TryHard has given to them as evidence.

But in the end, two men, both aged 20, turned themselves in to the police on the afternoon of Aug. 21, saying they were two of the people being accused.

One has been identified as a “nonregular worker” and the other a university student. They are believed to be the same two men who earlier posted a video on YouTube apologizing for the incident, saying they were drunk.

According to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, they told police they were fans of DJ Soda and got carried away, and “had no intention of harming her.”

During a news conference, TryHard founder and CEO Rakuyo Otsuki said, “I am very disappointed that such an incident happened on the 10th anniversary of Music Circus. Our top priority in running the event is protecting the safety of both artists and audience members.”

On Aug. 19, DJ Soda released a statement through the auspices of TryHard saying she will let the company handle the legal proceedings regarding the case, though she agrees with what the company is doing.


Lollapalooza To Return In January

Since its first edition was such an overwhelming success, Lollapalooza India will return for a second helping Jan. 27-28 at Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai.

The festival, which will feature four stages, will be promoted and co-produced – along with Perry Farrell and C3 Presents – by BookMyShow Live, a division of BookMyShow. General tickets go on sale Aug. 27. The lineup will be announced later.


Disabled Fans Face Concert Barriers Despite Investment

China’s disabled population, which numbers some 38 million people, continues to experience problems gaining access to concerts, which have become a booming business in the wake of the pandemic, according to an article posted recently to news website

Though the article says that the government has “invested in improving disabled access to public venues in recent years,” members of the disabled community complain that barriers still exist, especially in the realm of concerts.

According to SixthTone, this problem is not so much the facilities that are being provided, but rather how those facilities are operated. A young man from Guangzhou said that the stadium there had special elevators and rest rooms for disabled persons but that they were locked due to lack of planning and proper maintenance.

Ostensibly, venues that lack such facilities and/or make them difficult to access can be fined, but lawyers say it is difficult to hold them accountable owing to the vagueness of the law and how it’s applied.

The main issue, the young man told SixthTone, is that disabled persons are made to feel as if they are inconveniencing other people, and so they put up with being denied their rights under the law. “When the concert staff helped me solve my problem, other people were kept waiting at the gate,” he said. “That’s not what I want to see. In a good barrier-free environment, you don’t need help from anyone.”