Since its launch in 2012, Seoul’s Zandari Festa has gained a reputation as one of the largest showcase festivals in Asia. This year, it will feature almost 160 Korean and international acts in over 10 venues from September 30th to October 3rd.
Zandari Festa is not only famous among fans, but is also where music professionals from across the world come to check out talented musicians. But most fans and music professionals probably go through the same problem: figuring out which acts to check out. It must be challenging to choose who to see at a specific time.
In our case, Lore and I put our heads together to organize our own schedule. Our major focus was to discover bands we have heard of but haven’t had a chance to check out before. Here are our top 10 must-see acts for Zandari Festa. We plan to experience their music without any prejudice, so we avoided Googling them too much. Perhaps we’ll return with pleasant words for each band after Zandari. Who knows?
Ahn Dayoung 안다영
Saturday 1st October – Club Steel Face (Do Indie Stage). 14:30-15:15.
If you are on Twitter and follow somebody who loves K-indie, you’ve probably caught the name “Ahn Dayoung” at least once.
This band has 5 members: drum, bass, guitar, guitar & keyboard, vocal & keyboard.
Even though they are pretty new to the scene, they’ve already been invited to the Busan Rock Festival, chosen as being among the top 8 K-Rookies, and got a chance to perform in the final round of Hello Rookie 2016. Just wonder at their magic power leading to their successful emergence in the scene.
Saturday 1st October – Rolling Hall 18:00-19:00
My friend once recommended Unchained, so I just took a listen to their songs on Melon. Their music was so impressive that I became keen to enjoy their live performance. But, I found most of their shows were somewhere else besides Seoul. This will be the first to enjoy their live performance. Yes. This is Zandari. You can enjoy almost every performance you admired.
Blue Turtleland 블루터틀랜드
Saturday 1st October – Evans Lounge 19:00-20:00
Hong, the frontman of Blue Turtle Land looks like somebody who walked away from a 1960s film. Once I saw Hong, I imagined him performing a blend of retro music. One of the trendy areas of Seoul, Hongdae, and a band who reminds me of a 1960s film, how will the combination be?
The Monotones 더모노톤즈
Saturday 1st October – Muv Hall 21:00-22:00
I first got to know a legendary guitarist Cha Seung-woo thanks to the movie Gogo70. At first, I believed he must be a rookie actor, but it turned out he used to be a member of No Brain and the Moonshiners. In 2012, he got back to the indie scene with a new band, The Monotones, announcing the birth of a new sensation on the Korean indie scene. He shows off his long career as a musician, his nickname is an idol of indie scene, and he was on the movie as a guitarist. There is no reason to not hit up the Monotones. At the moment, I am familiar with only Mr. Cha, but I can’t wait to see others as well.
Sunday 2nd October – Kangol Acoustic 15:00-16:00
The first reggae singer I got to know was Tehiun, whom I met at Earthygo Festival held alongside the Incheon Seonnyeo Bawi Beach in 2015. I heard so many people mention his name as a pioneer of the reggae scene in Korea, but it was my first time seeing him perform. At that time, I could see that everyone at the festival definitely was enjoying his performance in different ways – some people were dancing, some simply rested and watched the sunset, and some looked like they were recalling beautiful memories from their lives. It was one of the coziest concerts I have ever been to. I hope I can experience that moment once again at Zandari Festa.
Sunday 2nd October – Club Ta 19:00-20:00
Telefly were one of the first Korean Indie groups to catch my attention. The group blend blues and psychedelic rock ton create something they describe as ‘intense oriental psychedelic rock’. On record their music draws you in completely. Their Shangri-la album released earlier this year showed off the growth of talent of the trio. They are one of the bands I (Lore) am most looking forward to seeing.
Sunday 2nd October – Club Steel Face 22:00-23:00
Odaeri is someone Jeong Eun introduced me to this week so I know very little about him. He’s an experiemental electronica artist that I’ve seen referred to as ‘weird’ numerous times in my quick search for this article. Though, we chose Odaeri for this reason, he’s unlike anyone else we’ll see at Zandari.
Seeing someone I’ve never heard of at a festival is something I always try to do – at Sound City I closed my eyes and circled someone on the line up (Irene & The Disappointments), but I had to be a little more planned this time.
National Pigeon Unity 전국비둘기연합
Sunday 2nd October – Club Ta 21:00-22:00
National Pigeon Unity is a group name I hear constantly. A two person guitar and drum outfit, I no longer have any doubt that this set up can deliver an amazing wall of noise (endless proof has been supplied by Dead Buttons, 57 and LayBricks). The group used to have three members, but I’ve only ever heard positive things about the change. NPU are definitely a group I expect big things from.
Monday 3rd October – Club Ta 17:00-18:00
Pigibit5 are an experimental noise pop band. Member Yamada plays violin in the group, and upon being told this by Jeong Eun I was instantly interested in seeing them play. Frankly, take me to a show where an alternate music band have an out-of-genre-box instrument and I’m probably going to love it.
The group’s most recent ventures include recording a track for the Sad Man movie OST.
The Veggers 더 베거스
Monday 3rd October – Rolling Hall 18:00-19:00
Everyone that is a keen music follower has a list of bands they’d ultimately love to see play live. The Veggers are on mine. They are exactly the kind of band that remind me why I love indie rock music – it’s exciting, it’s loud, and at it is often at its best when it hails back to those garage band days.
The Veggers are one of Korea’s great examples of punk, a scene that takes many by surprise, and rightly so.
The Veggers could be my festival highlight.
Full schedules for Zandari Festa can be found in Korean and English on their Facebook page and website. Tickets are also still available via Interpark, MelOn and Naver, if you’re and English speaker and are struggling with the payment system check out this FB post for more information.
Roll on Saturday, we can’t wait to begin our Zandari Festa adventure to begin!