The fifth edition of Zandari Festa is set to take place in Seoul from September 30 to October 3. And for any homegrown talent and overseas acts interested in applying to play at Korea’s largest music showcase festival – guess what … you still have a few weeks left to apply!
This fall’s fest will feature 150 acts gigging in 10 Hongdae clubs. Artist applications are being accepted from musicians from all around the world until July 31. It’s free to apply and past artists have included K-pop acts, thrash metal bands, and literally every musical style in between. The English Zandari Festa ’16 application form can be found here.
The lineup for Zandari Festa ’15 boasted bands from 15 different countries including Lightcraft from Jakarta, Indonesia who had an amazing time at the affair.
“We’d never played a show in South Korea before, so to pop our cherry at Zandari Festa 2015 was just perfect,” says Lightcraft vocalist and guitarist Imam Wisaya Surataruna. “We met some of the loveliest people one could ever imagine meeting in one’s life and played to an audience that were just so supportive.”
Having toured in places like India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Canada in the past, the group knew they wanted to make the most out of their short visit to Korea for Zandari Festa. In addition to playing their official festival showcase, they also attended some of the event’s daytime conferences and made their way to the official after party that closes out the festival each year. Meeting as many people as they could, their networking efforts paid off and helped paved the way for Lightcraft to earn an invite to the Liverpool Sound City festival this past spring.
“The gigs that we played were unforgettable as well – to have South Koreans approaching us for selfies after our set was pretty cool,” says Surataruna. “The conference was great too, as we managed to meet very important folks in the industry, with one of them being the man behind Liverpool Sound City. It eventually led to us being given the opportunity to play that festival, which was a milestone in our journey. And the after party was amazing too. Free drinks, and a who’s who of the South Korean and international music scene, and you’ve got yourself a party to remember for the rest of your life!”
Lightcraft have nothing but praise for Zandari Festa and Surataruna says the band definitely would recommend for other international groups to hop on a plane and travel to Korea to participate in the festival.
“We’ve already spread the word to our fellow bands in Indonesia and Southeast Asia about performing at Zandari Festa. Let’s hope they’ve heeded our words. It’s a wonderful festival that will only bring about a whole world of good for any act. In fact, we would love nothing more than to play Zandari Festa again if possible!”
Seoul’s Used Cassettes are Zandari Festa veterans. The rock ‘n’ roll quartet participated in 2012’s inaugural bash, and have returned each year since.
“Used Cassettes came up in the Seoul DIY scene so ever since we heard about the festival we wanted to be involved,” says guitarist and vocalist Danny Arens. “We all really dig the international vision of the Zandari organizers. That first year we helped put together a Loose Union showcase at Zandari which is a great memory. The festival has come a long way since then. It’s nice to have such an influx of international bands coming into our stomping grounds in Hongdae.”
The group released their sophomore full-length album, “Rock n Rills,” globally in May and the offering has netted the guys some pretty damn impressive press from the likes of first-rate music publications like Spin, Under the Radar, and Impose.
Fully aware of the benefits that can come from exposing more listeners around the world to your music, like Lightcraft, Used Cassettes also encourage overseas groups to take part in Zandari Festa and experience Korea’s indie scene.
“I do think it can be beneficial,” says Arens. “Ask any band who has toured in Korea and they’ll tell you that Korean audiences are amongst the best in the world. Koreans are awesome. Come out.”
Zandari Festa ’16 is accepting applications to perform until July 31. The English application form can be found here.
And here’s a highlight video from last year’s fest.