Mini-Interview with Zandari Festa Director Dalse

When I first heard the idea of creating an international showcase festival in Korea, I thought it sounded very interesting but couldn’t really see it happening. Zandari Festa did come along, but even after it had taken place the first time I remained cautious that it could turn into something worthwhile. It was only after attending it myself last year that I realized what a great festival Zandari Festa really has become. The indications are that Zandari Festa 2016 will be even better–all thanks to the dedication of festival director Dalse and his team. Curious to know what Dalse himself had to say about this year’s festival I asked a few questions.


With promises of this year’s festival being the most exciting Zandari Festa yet, what do visitors have to look forward to?

I think one of the things to look forward to is being exposed to bands from a wide variety of countries that you would not usually get to see here in Korea. As well, it is a good opportunity to discover new bands from Korea that you may have not seen before. Zandari is a showcase festival and if you understand the characteristics of it and set out to have a good time, I’m certain you’ll discover some new music you’ll love.

Although advertised as running from September 30 until October 3, the schedule on the website only covers the October dates. What will be happening on the Friday?

Friday September 30 is the festival’s official opening party. This event is open to delegates, performing artists, and people who are really supportive of the festival and have purchased special tickets. It’s a good opportunity to gather together all the people who are deeply connected with the festival. I like starting the festival off with all of these people together in one place.

A lot of interesting international bands will be playing this year, and with the French and British nights it seems Zandari is taking another step towards becoming the international showcase festival it set out to be. What do you think this means for the Korean music scene?

Seeing as how the world has become much more digital, I don’t think that borders between countries really mean all that much anymore. And it’s now much easier for indie bands to make contact with and do business with people in other countries. However, it can be hard for them to take that first step, and I think that’s why showcase festivals like Zandari are needed. With Zandari, our biggest aim has always been for musicians from here and abroad to meet with delegates from Korea and other places and become friends. If musician and music companies can have a wide variety of experiences, then there will be a wide variety of outcomes as well. And as Korean bands and music companies are able to make more friendships and create stronger networks with peers from around the world, I think Korea’s music scene will continue to grow and develop.

What are you personally looking forward to the most about Zandari Festa 2016?

I’m looking forward to the festival finally starting! We’ve put a lot of work into making it over the past several months, and will be great to finally see everything happening soon.

Zandari Festa is a festival for musicians, and I hope that all of the performing artists will play for new fans, make some new contacts, meet some new friends, and have a great time. I hope that bands will not only work hard to make their individual showcases a success but will also go and support other bands by watching their performances too. If acts put their energy into putting on a good show and have the drive to grow and develop, then Zandari will be a good festival for them and all music lovers too.

Zandari Festa will take place around Hongdae in Seoul the coming weekend, Friday September 30 through Monday October 3, with more than 160 bands performing. The official website has information about all the bands in English as well as embedded media to sample their music. The website also offers an interface for visitors to put together their own program, making the huge selection somewhat easier to navigate.

Whereas me going to Zandari Festa last year was more of a coincidence, this year I made sure that my annual Korea trip would comfortably accommodate my attendance. So many of the bands that impressed me last year will be performing again, and there are many dozens more I will have to try to catch at least a glimpse of this year. As a Korean music fan I really appreciate that there will be so many showcases with bands from around the country that I’ve otherwise never gotten the chance to see in Seoul. And with so many impressive international bands scheduled to perform I’ll have to check out some of those as well.


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