The fifth edition of Zandari Festa – Korea’s largest music showcase festival – took place from September 30, 2016 to October 3, 2016 in Seoul’s Hongdae area. The event featured performances from more than 160 acts from 19 different countries. Deer is a Hong Kong-based band made up of two musicians from Mexico and they were one of the groups that traveled to Seoul to play at Zandari Festa 2016. Band member Adriana Martinez recorded the act’s adventures for us with an exclusive tour diary for Hello Asia!

The poster for Deer’s Zandari Festa showcase

Friday, September 30, 2016

We arrived at Incheon Airport at two in the morning. We didn’t want to pay for a taxi to Seoul, so we hung out at the airport for a few hours and waited for the buses to start running. We stayed at Hi Jun Guesthouse, which is in Hongdae and is really close to Club Freebird – the location of our Zandari Festa showcase. We stayed there during a previous visit to Korea, and the people and the environment were very good so we thought it would be a good place to stay during Zandari Festa.

We got a couple of hours sleep, and then we went and got our artist bracelets for Zandari Festa. The staff were great and everything was very quick and relaxing. By that point, we were starving so we so we went to eat at a famous Korean cutlet restaurant and then got ready to attend Zandari Festa’s opening party at MUV Hall.

Speech by Zandari Festa staff at the festival’s opening party

We really enjoy checking out new bands when we play festivals. It’s really helpful for us to study how other bands interpret music, behave on stage, etc. I think doing this helps us to criticize our own work in a more objective way and improve. I really liked seeing Night Marks Electric Trio from Poland at the opening party. Their sound was fresh, their music was honest, and they were really cool people too!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

This day was exciting because of two special events, the Do Indie daytime showcase and the British Night showcase. The Do Indie event took place in the afternoon at Club Steel Face. When we arrived at the venue, we were surprised that despite being small it was a very cozy and special place. The bands that played there sounded powerful despite the reduced space. The venue is similar to Focal Fair Hall in Hong Kong, and we imagined the spot would be used for electronic, experimental/ambient music, but surprisingly punk and rock bands played there during the festival.

Leaving the Do Indie event, we went to the Kangol Store to pick up the free shoes that all Zandari Festa acts received. And while there, we got to see the Korean band Billy Carter perform outside of the store. After that, our stomachs were asking for food so we decided to go and eat some of Korea’s famous fried chicken. The food was really good and it was an incredibly huge portion. We couldn’t finish everything, but we certainly gave our best effort to do so!

After eating, we were ready for the British Night showcase. It was a massive event and we were happy to see so many other bands there supporting the concert. The environment was good, and the expectations for the performances were high. We had fun at the showcase and it was a really nice night.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Every time we have a concert, that’s the only thing on our mind. We’re not hungry, we can’t sleep, we don’t think about anything else. But knowing that we had to eat, for breakfast we had a delicious and traditional Korean meal of rice, vegetables, and kimchi.

We got to Club Freebird at four in the afternoon and stayed in the venue to listen to and support  all of the other bands. The musicians playing there that day were quite like the people in The Breakfast Club movie, totally different personalities but linked by something, in this case the electronic music element of their sound.

We played a short but intense set. Normally, Mexicans tend to be really intense in the scene, our culture is a chiaroscuro and our music is too. The attendance at Club Freebird during our set was small. But we’re thankful to the music fans and delegates that were there. And we’re also grateful to the members of The New Investors from Denmark and Korea’s HEO for giving us their support and even dancing along to our music.

After our performance, we had to run off to catch our flight back to Hong Kong. Monday was a work day for us, so we couldn’t stay until the end of the festival. But during our time at Zandari Festa we learnt so much, listened to as much music as possible, and were really happy to be a part of the event.

The fifth edition of Zandari Festa – Korea’s largest music showcase festival – took place from September 30, 2016 – October 3, 2016 in Seoul’s Hongdae area. The event featured performances from more than 160 bands from 19 different countries.

Find out more about Deer by connecting on their Facebook HERE and website HERE. Check out Zandari Festa HERE.