Zandari Festa

by Groove Korea (
Groove Korea (

Festival accepting applications until July 31

Gaining a reputation as one of the best music showcase events in East Asia, Seoul’s Zandari Festa brings together a whole whack of bands from all around the world, thousands of music lovers, and hundreds of music industry professionals for a great party in Hongdae each fall.  The festival has been happening since 2012 and has featured performances by many of the country’s top Korean and expat indie groups.  Acts from North America, Europe, Australia, and other parts of Asia have also traveled to Seoul to be a part of it.

Zandari Festa 2016 will run from September 30 until October 30 and will see 150 bands playing in 10 different venues over the duration of the fest.  Want to play?  Zandari Festa is accepting applications until July 31. To be eligible for a showcase slot, acts must have put out an album at some point or played at least 10 concerts in the past 12 months.  If you’re a musician and meet either of those requirements, you can apply for Zandari Festa in English here:

Seoul post-rock band Tierpark is composed of members from the United States, Belgium, and Australia.  The group is preparing to enter the studio soon and hope to have a new release out by Christmas.  Tierpark are also Zandari Festa veterans having played in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

“It’s nice to be a part of something as massive as Zandari,” says guitarist Jonathan Jacobson. “Really, I’m in awe of what I can only imagine to be an organizational nightmare with bands playing at virtually every club in the neighborhood all in perfect synchronization. It’s pretty incredible to be a part of it.”

When asked why Zandari Festa is good for the local music scene, Jacobson shares his thoughts before telling of the famed final bash that closes after the festival each year.

“It’s good because it creates connections between bands both throughout Korea and internationally,” he says. “And despite its noble philanthropic intentions, things get crazy buck wild at the after party. I remember last year at the after party, they gave out all of the remaining beer. I saw guys walking out with entire pallets full of beer. The party moved to Hongdae Playground and quickly disintegrated into debauchery. Good times.”

Korean hard rock band Harry Big Button has also been a part of each Zandari Festa since 2013.  And the trio was one of the groups included in the first artist announcement for this fall’s Zandari Festa. Currently working on their second full-length album, will fest-goers get the chance to hear new material during Harry Big Button’s Zandari Festa 2016 showcase?

“Definitely,” says guitarist and vocalist Sungsoo Lee. “We’ll be playing some recently made tracks during our set. So please come check us out during the festival.”
Like Jacobson, Lee thinks the networking opportunities at the festival can be very beneficial to those thinking of applying to perform.  Bands from 15 different countries flew to Korea for Zandari Festa 2015 and representatives from overseas festivals like SXSW in the United States, V-Rox in Russia, and Liverpool Sound City in the UK also attended.

“You’re not just playing a showcase,” says Lee.  “You’re also meeting lots of other musicians, music industry staff, and music lovers.  It’s a good chance to build your audience and discover other great artists as well.”

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