Korea on the Brain: Zandari Festa 2017 – Day 1

For the next three articles I will be touching on a topic that I don’t have much experience in, but I hope nonetheless you can enjoy it. During the first week of October I was fortunate to be given a week off school due to Korean Thanksgiving; Chuseok (추석). As luck would have it there was an event taking place in the city of Seoul (서울) in its Hondgae (홍대) district, and thanks to ATK Magazine’s editor Cindy Zimmer, I was given the opportunity to attend this amazing festival.

Zandari Festa is the largest live music showcase in Korea. The festival’s purpose is to show the willingness to bridge the gaps between domestic and international artists, audiences and the likes. Although my first impression was that the line up would consist of mainly indie rock bands, I slowly realized that it had more to offer as there were performers in numerous genres such as hip hop, electronica, punk, metal, and many others. There had been an opening party taking place on the 28th of September, however as a student I had class that evening so my adventure did not start till the official first day of September 29th.

September 29th

Zandari Festa took place in more than one venue, although it was all conducted in Hongdae, performances took place on multiple stages. There were about 11 clubs that hosted performances for the Zandari Festa and as a result I was constantly on the move to see every performer that had peaked my interest in their music. Performers came from all over the world with about 82 of the performers representing Korea and the remaining 55 coming from the rest of the world it really provided a huge and amazing line up for the year. Sadly I could not stay for the entirety of any performance as I had many artists to see, and many performed at the same time but I tried my best to cover as many artists as possible.


The very first group I saw was Matmatah, they were a five person band from France performing at the MUV Hall at 6:30pm. Although the crowd wasn’t large their music was enough to move the few that were there. The next artist on my list to see performing at Club Crack was Room 306 a Korean electronic pop trio, whose music dives deep into the dark emotions and behaviours of humans. Their music was very soothing and very easy to listen to, even as a non-Korean speaker I found their music very intriguing as Hong Hyo Jin (홍효진); the vocalist had an amazing voice that I would like to hear more of. At the same time, another group was performing at Club FF, which was the Korean band Dany Boy & the Carriages. This four member group had a very unique sound compared to many of the groups I saw throughout this event. It mainly had to do with the fact that their music is influenced by 60’s and 70’s musicians like the Beatles and Johnny Cash. I can honestly say that Dany Boy & the Carriages was one of my favourite artists of the entire event and I hope they continue to grow in popularity.

3rd Line Butterfly

Performing at the MUV Hall at 7:30pm was the Korean rock band 3rd Line Butterfly. Possessing an underground rock feel and five albums under their belt, it wasn’t a surprise they were a fan favourite; although they weren’t a hit with me, I believe they are definitely worth checking out. Now on a more international note, the punk rock band Browsing Collection from Sweden gave the crowd a lot of energy. The foursome, all female band has one major purpose and that’s to prove they can rock just as hard as any band and do it better. The band had a nice feel and having released their second album, late this summer they are worth a good listen. Kid King, a Taiwanese four member group, was an interesting group to listen to. In the genre of rock and singing in Taiwanese, they have a lot of potential and tried as much to incorporate their foreign audience in their performance which I found pleasant.


Keeping with international artists performing at the KT & G SANGSANG MADANG Live Hall was Elis Paprika and The Black Pilgrims. A rock ‘n’ roll band from Mexico, consisting of six members with Elis Paprika as the vocalist they put on a strong performance that dazzled the crowd with their strong sound of rock ‘n’ roll. I then saw a performance in the club GOGOS2, by the Canadian group Arlo Maverick. A group that dwells in the hip hop genre connecting their music to their audience, with influences from The Black Keys and The Roots. I’d recommend them for anyone wishing to listen to a new hip hop artist. The last two groups of my night are some of my favourite bands of the festival. Streetguns and Phonebooth are both Korean bands consisting of five members. Phonebooth is a traditional rock ‘n’ roll band, however, their music is very easy to listen to and their performance gave off a lot of energy and I would advise anyone looking for a new favourite, that Phonebooth could fit that bill. Lastly, Streetguns has a very unique sound including an upright bass into its sound, it gives their music a different feel then regular traditional bands.

Unfortunately I was unable to see all the performances I wanted as venues were a great distance from each other and many of the groups I wished to see performed at the same time. Nonetheless I did enjoy the groups I did get to see. The first day of Zandari Festa was hectic being able to get everywhere, lucky day two was a lot better and I look forward to having you read about it. Till next time.

Anna Falls

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