Every year, summer brings hundreds of music festivals rolling out all over the world, each with their own unique spin on bringing the best musicians it can to as many fans as they can. Zandari Festa is no different in that respect, but it has a few things that no other festivals do. Like being downtown Seoul, Korea. And boasting the largest line up of Korean indie bands you can think of. Now mix in some awesome international bands, and the fact that you get to explore the true heart of Korean music, then you’ve got something truly special on your hands.
2016’s Zandari Festa opens on September 30th all over Hongdae in Seoul. The first set of artists announcements has already been made and it’s chock-full of great talent.
If you or an artist you know are interested in playing Zandari – the applications for artists wraps up this Sunday, July 31st. You can apply Here.
If you are curious what others’ think of their previous experience at Zandari, we had a few quick words with drummer Julian Bridges of Michigan-native band, Japanese Los Angeles:
How was your experience at Zandari Festa ’15?
Zandari Festa was an incredible experience for our entire group! We’re lucky that we had one native Korean-speaker in the band (Ji Hoon Kang), because he helped us figure out where to go, what to eat, and how to relate to a culture that most of us didn’t know much about. Every aspect of the festival was fantastic, though. We got to see and meet some of the other artists that we had already been big fans of, and also get to hear a lot of international artists that we probably would never have been exposed to back in the United States. Our music was also a bit out of the norm for the festival – we fall somewhere in between electronic, jazz, and free improvisation – but it was still well received.
What are some of your best memories from your visit to Seoul for Zandari Festa?
Besides our saxophonist, Ji Hoon, none of us had ever been to South Korea before, so some of the best memories for us involved just getting to explore the city and culture in Seoul! The food was unreal – nothing beats authentic Korean barbecue and gimbap – and Seoul is a crazy city, with many disparate neighborhoods that we got to explore. In addition, getting to hear all of the other artists for free was great, because we could venue-hop all night and get a sample of almost every artist’s set. In particular, we have great memories of getting to hang out and take in Yukari’s show.
Would you recommend for other American acts to participate in future editions of Zandari Festa?
No doubt! We were able to secure a grant to help cover our travel costs, which made the festival much more feasible. Other than that, our costs were extremely low – we found a hostel right in the heart of Hongdae that was cheap, and the price of food wasn’t too high either. The festival was well-organized and a great way to start to meet other musicians on the global scene.
We also got to pick the brains of Korea’s punk band Burning Hepburn about their previous experience playing Zandari in 2015 (and you’ll get a chance to check them out this year too!):
Why are you excited to be playing at Zandari Festa again?
Sangwoo Han: We’re excited because we’re going to get to play with bands from many different genres and many different places and we’re also going to be able to meet and play in front of new fans.
Why do you think Zandari Festa is good for Korea’s indie scene?
Heejung Kim: Fest-goers have a wristband that allows them to move freely between all the venues. This allows them to see loads of showcases by bands they may not be familiar with and experience clubs they may not have been to before. I think this has a positive effect on the scene.
As you can see, Zandari Festa has a little bit of something for everyone, artists, fans, and even intrepid journalists like myself. It has the potential to open the eyes of new visitor to Korea to the true depth of the Korean indie scene in Seoul and allows them to experience it first hand.
Early bird tickets are for sale now and include a slew of fun stuff like invites to the opening and closing party and even some exclusive Zandari Festa merch. Check that out Here.
And be sure to check back on some more coverage of Zandari Festa from us here at Rock ‘N Seoul, we hope to post up a few intro’s to some of the bands you can expect to see, and possibly, one of our own writers will be making her way over to Korea for the festival.