Started in 2012, Zandari Festa quickly established itself as South Korea’s largest music showcase festival. The annual event takes place in Seoul’s Hongdae area, the epicentre of youth culture in South Korea and ground zero for the country’s indie music scene. Each Autumn, Zandari Festa brings together acts and music industry professionals from around the world for concerts and conferences at a number of unique venues around Hongdae. One wristband allows festival-goers access to all of Zandari Festa’s shows.   
Along with showcasing established acts and exciting up-and-comers from South Korea’s burgeoning indie scene, with each passing year Zandari Festa has placed a greater emphasis on becoming a truly global event.  At 2012’s inaugural Zandari Festa, acts from two other countries traveled to Seoul to perform. However by 2015, there were artists at the festival from 15 different countries. By attracting more international talent, Zandari Festa has been able to expose audiences to a wider range of musical talent and has helped build bridges that have allowed for both Korean and overseas artists and Korean and overseas music companies to better communicate, work together, and learn from each other.

Zandari Festa 2016 will take place from September 30 – October 3 and will see more than 150 acts performing at 10 venues to an enthusiastic crowd of music fans, journalists, and industry professionals.
Featuring four days packed with showcases from fantastic homegrown and international acts, this year’s Zandari Festa promises to be the most exciting edition of the festival yet!

Zandari Festa is accepting artist applications from musicians from all around the world until July 31st. It’s free to apply and there is an English application form, so you need not worry about language barriers! Zandari Festa books all types of music, so no matter the genre you play: Zandari wants you!

Korean act Billy Carter and Cumbria native Jon Byrne spoke to BritROK to tell us why British artists should apply to play Zandari Festa.

Billy Carter at Zandari Festa '15

Billy Carter made their Zandari Festa debut in 2013 and have returned to the event every year since. They were amongst were one of the 20 bands included in the first lineup announcement for Zandari Festa 2016 that came out earlier this month. In 2012, back when Billy Carter were still a duo, vocalist Jiwon Kim and guitarist Jina Kim spent almost a year living and gigging in London.

Here’s what Jiwon Kim had to say about Zandari Festa:

Why do you like playing at Zandari Festa?

It’s exciting! It’s a great chance to meet people who love music from many different countries. And for musicians, obviously playing in front of a good audience is always fun. And we love the club-crawl concept too. As a music lover, I like the event because I get to enjoy many bands’ gigs and discover new musicians I didn’t know about. The whole weekend is a like a really big party.

Why is Zandari Festa good for Korea’s indie scene?

There are so many good musicians in Korea, maybe even more than listeners. So the indie music scene here is very packed. We need more people to listen to indie music. And I think Zandari Festa is a good way to expose more people from Korean and abroad to the local indie scene. As well, for bands like us who are hoping to eventually embark on tours outside of Korea, Zandari Festa can be the first step to achieving our goals.

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Aside from playing at Zandari Festa 2016 this fall, what does Billy Carter have planned for the rest of the year?

We’re finally recording our first full-length album! After it is released, we’re going to make plans for tours in Korea and overseas too. There are loads of things we want to do as a band. But we’re not going to rush things. Instead, we plan to check off our list one by one.

Jon Byrne at Zandari Festa '15

British singer-songwriter Jon Byrne traveled from England to Seoul last year to play at Zandari Festa 2015. Zandari Festa staff saw him perform at Liverpool Sound City 2015, loved his set, and invited him to South Korea to be a part of their event.

Here’s what Jon Byrne had to say about Zandari Festa:

How was your experience at Zandari Festa ’15?

I absolutely loved it! I loved the city, and the festival had an outstanding array of acts and venues that really impressed me.

What are some of your best memories from your visit to Seoul for Zandari Festa?

The people I met were so humble and welcoming. Everybody involved in the festival couldn’t do enough for us. It was a real emotional experience for me and one I will never forget. I loved playing in Strange Fruit – what a great little venue and its owner Jihong Park is a legend and a fantastic host. He and Zandari organiser Dalse really looked after me and my manager Mark and made our time in Korea a very special one. These are people I feel I will be friends with forever. Korean audiences for me are among the best I’ve played in front of. I found them so respectful, they seemed to understand me and my art really well and I felt very honoured to be playing in front of them.

Would you recommend for other British musicians to participate in future editions of Zandari Festa?

Yes, I would recommend other bands to play Zandari as it is a great platform for artists to showcase themselves and get their music heard by a wider audience.

Still need convincing? We’ll let the festival itself show you why you’d be mad to miss Zandari

13585097_1013949395391089_5927164813325179136_oHOW TO APPLY:

Application Period: Applications will be accepted from May 18th to July 31st, 2016.

Requirements: Acts must have played live at least 10 times in the past 12 months or have released an EP / album at some point during their career.

Selection: Acts will be chosen based on the strength of their recordings, live videos, and recent activities/ accomplishments.Submissions will be evaluated as they are received. Approximately 150 acts will be chosen to perform at Zandari Festa 2016.

Additional information on artist benefits, equipment availability, and application can all be found by clicking the APPLY link below.


BritROK: Independent music content from UnitedKpop
This article was written in conjunction with Zandari Festa for BritROK. UnitedKpop’s independent music platform launched in March 2016 and can be found online, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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