Seoul’s annual Zandari Festa is the largest music showcase fest in the country, and since launching in 2012 has rightfully sat high on autumn’s list of things to do for many indie music fans in Korea.
Zandari Festa 2015 is happening in Hongdae from October 2 – 4. For any musicians out there, Zandari Festa is accepting applications from acts until July 31. The festival is open to all performers regardless of nationality or musical style. Want a shot at playing? Just fill out the English application form here. Something very cool about Zandari Festa is that while many international music showcase festivals charge acts to apply, Zandari Festa doesn’t.
This year’s event will feature over 200 Korean and international bands performing throughout Hongdae in more than 20 different venues. And just like past editions, fans can access all of the shows with one wristband.
Korean post-rock/post-hardcore hybrid band Apollo 18 have played at every Zandari Festa that has been held so far. The group’s bassist, Daeinn Kim, is a big fan of what Zandari Festa is trying to do.
“I think Zandari is a big party,” he says. “It’s kind of like Korea’s SXSW. Zandari is only a few years old now – and is still growing up – but I think it’s going to become a very famous fest in Korea.”
When asked why Zandari Festa is good for Korean and international bands, his answer is simple.
“Famous bands, not famous bands – every band can play at Zandari. All musicians can enjoy this cool festival together.”
Crying Nut played at the first Zandari Festa and returned to perform again last year.
“It’s very, very fun,” says accordionist Insoo Kim about the event. “I got to hang out with lots of musicians and music industry people from all over the world at Zandari Festa 2014. I had a great time with people from England, Germany, and also Russia too. But I think I drank too much last year!”
As part of Crying Nut, Insoo has toured in Asia, North America, and Europe and has performed at large club-style festivals like SXSW in Texas and CMW in Toronto. And even with having played at those renowned outings, Zandari Festa is still tops in his books.
“I think it’s the ultimate city festival in the world,” he says. “All bands and musicians are considered equal and are treated like friends. And for musicians and music fans, we have the chance to make new friends from all around the world during Zandari Festa.”
Zandari Festa 2015 will be accepting applications until July 31. For more information, visit the fest’s official website here.
As was the case with many big events last year, the Ansan Valley Rock Festival was canceled due to the Sewol Ferry tragedy, but this summer it’s back and boasts another great lineup playing at the Daebu Sea Breeze Theme Park from July 24 – 26.
Originally started in 2009 as the Jisan Valley Rock Festival, the event changed its location and name in 2013 and the Ansan Valley Rock Festival was born. In its first year with its new name, the Ansan Valley Rock Festival brought The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine, Skrillex, and several other international acts to play alongside some of Korea’s best. This year, they’ve put together another lineup that is guaranteed not to disappoint.
Among the most notable international names on the 2015 lineup are Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Motörhead, The Chemical Brothers, Deadmau5, OK Go, and Twenty One Pilots. Arguably the biggest name this year, the Foo Fighters, was a bit of a question mark for a while after they canceled several tour dates in Europe, including a show at Glastonbury, due to frontman Dave Grohl’s broken leg. Thankfully, any worries of them canceling their Ansan appearance came to an end when the band recently got back on the road. It looks like we’ll get to see them after all and with Dave Grohl in his newly constructed throne no less.
Seeing big-name bands in Korea is always exciting, but one of the things that makes Korean music fests even more fun is getting to watch what some of the top local bands – whether they be seasoned vets or fresh-faced up-and-comers – that are often seen in Hongdae clubs can do on a full-size festival stage. We checked in with a few Korean indie bands playing at Ansan Valley Rock Festival to get their thoughts about the event.
Apollo 18 bassist Daeinn Kim (Saturday afternoon at 2:50 pm on the Green Stage):
Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play? We’re Apollo 18 and we play loud and heavy hardcore, post-rock, and psychedelic music.
What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival? Being at the Ansan Valley Rock Festival is always awesome. It is like going to an amusement park to us. We’re stoked about seeing all the amazing things that are going to happen at this year’s festival.
What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest?
Motörhead is like a father to rock bands. So many rock musicians have listened to their music and watched their live show when they were growing up. You must see them!
1Ton singer/guitarist Taeseob Won (Sunday night at 2:30 am on the Tune Up Stage):
Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play? We’re a three-piece band who debuted with our first EP album, “Tiny Old Tape,” in July 2014. We play fast punk songs with pop melodies, and we try to write lyrics that show what we really think about things.
What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival? We mostly perform in Hongdae so a lot of the time we see the same Hongdae people at all of our shows. At the Ansan Valley Rock Festival we are so excited to show our music to more people who have never heard us before.
What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest? Foo Fighters! I know everyone is already excited about them. I can’t wait to see them, too!
Wasted Johnny’s bassist Nils Germain (Sunday night at 12:30 am on the Tune Up Stage):
Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play? We’re Wasted Johnny’s, a trio that plays rock music influenced by blues and garage rock.
What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival? Playing these kinds of events is a chance for us to test ourselves on big stages. It’s a completely different experience than playing in a small club. You have to sound bigger and move a lot because otherwise you look and feel like tiny ants on those big stages. We only have 30 minutes at Ansan and we have to give all we can to make a great show to please our own fans that waited all day to see us and also impress people that have never heard us before.
What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest? Of course Motörhead and the Foo Fighters!
Romantiqua Drummer Anton Brinza (Sunday night at 1:30 am on the Tune Up Stage):
Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play? We’re Romantiqua. We’re an instrumental band from Seoul that falls somewhere in the post-rock/psychedelic genre. Our sound is at once atmospheric and heavy, rooted in classic rock but also experimental.
What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival? We played Ansan Valley Rock Festival two years ago, so we’re hyped to be going back, especially this year with the Foos and Motörhead playing. Those bands are heroes for musicians like us, so to be playing on the same day and at the same event as them is incredible. One of the things we most look forward to about opportunities like this is the chance to reach a wider audience. And with the festival atmosphere it’s fun to meet and interact with a lot of new and different people.
What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest? Our stage should be a super fun time. Wasted Johnny’s and 1Ton are playing with us on that stage, which starts Sunday night after the Foo Fighters finish. The Koxx are back, so they should be a pretty cool act to see. And of course Apollo 18 and Galaxy Express, those groups always put on killer shows at big events like this.
Harry Big Button singer/guitarist Sungsoo Lee (Sunday afternoon at 2:10 pm on the Big Top Stage):
Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play?
Harry Big Button is three-piece band that plays hard rock.
What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival?
We played at 2012 Valley Rock Festival and it was absolutely amazing. It’s a great pleasure to play at the Ansan Valley Rock festival again this year. I’d love to see people moshing, making circle pits, and a wall of death during our set because this is a rock festival! And also Harry Big Button is doing a special collaboration at the festival with one of the Korea’s best hip-hop artists, Garion. So don’t miss our set!
What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest? Definitely Motörhead and Foo Fighters.
The Ansan Valley Rock Festival runs from Friday July 24th through Sunday July 26th. Three-day tickets are available for 234,000 won in advance (260,000 won at the gates), and one and two-day passes are available for 135,000 won in advance (150,000 won at the gates) and 198,000 won in advance (220,000 won at the gates). Tickets can be bought in English here. For more information about the festival, visit the festival’s website.
Click on the photo below to check out the time table for the festival.