Seoul’s Zandari Festa Looking For Bands

zandari festa

Taking place each fall in Seoul, Zandari Festa is South Korea’s largest music showcase festival. The event started in 2012 and every edition has featured a wide range of music including rock, punk, hardcore, metal, folk, jazz, electronica, ska, blues, and more. Basically if you’re making any kind of good music, Zandari Festa is interested.

Zandari Festa 2016 will take place from September 30 to October 3and will feature 150 Korean and international acts playing in 10 venues around Seoul’s famed Hongdae district. And in addition to all the concerts, there will also be conferences and parties to allow bands to network with peers and music industry staff from Asia and other parts of the world. The festival is accepting applications from Korean and overseas musicians that are interested in playing a showcase at the event until July 31. There is no fee to apply, and people can fill out the online application in English here: http://www.zfesta.com/en/artists/apply/

Acclaimed Korean metalcore band Vassline performed at Zandari Festa for the first time last year. This year marks the group’s 20th anniversary, and earlier this month they were one of 20 acts included in the first Zandari Festa 2016 artist announcement. We chatted with Vassline guitarist Chainsaw Cho about the fest.

Why did Vassline want to take place in Zandari Festa again this year?
The event is more than just bands playing shows. There are still people who come to Hongdae to experience culture and discover things they can’t find through the mainstream media. And I think Zandari Festa successfully delivers these things through its various happenings. And because of everything that the fest offers, I think bands are more likely to meet new fans than they are at regular shows.

How do you think Zandari Festa helps South Korea’s indie scene?
Because of gentrification, we have lost lots of great places in Hongdae and some of the spirit that makes this area special. It seems that the area has turned into a big mall now. Not that I’m implying that this is bad, it’s just the way it is. But I do miss the days when artists and people looking for underground culture were the majority of the people I encountered on the streets of Hongdae. And Zandari Festa brings this old vibe back to the streets. I think it shows why we were here in the first place and reminds people why Hongdae became such a hot place for music and culture. And through this experience, I think maybe we can find a way to revive some of the things we have lost over the years and improve what we have now in the scene.

Do you think Zandari Festa is good for overseas bands too?
Yes, I think emerging acts from abroad will definitely find new fans at the festival. Zandari Festa is like the Korean SXSW.

Is there a chance fest-goers will get to hear some new music from Vassline during your Zandari Festa ’16 showcase?
We’re working on some material right now, and if nothing goes wrong, we might play a new tune or two during our showcase for sure.

Here’s a highlight reel from last years’s festivities:

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