Explore the Free-Spirited Sound Waves of Jai Thep in Thailand

Not a fan of the norm? Look to Jai Thep - a vibrant and electric celebration of varied musical concepts from slowtech(no) to queer punk. A place to engage your minds through creativity and self-exploration

Ajay Junaid
January 10, 2019
3 minutes

Chiang Mai - the land of misty mountains and colorful hill tribes. A city that accommodates a multitude of travelers, a paradise for shopaholics, a delight for adventurers, and a playground for seasoned travelers. Despite being Thailand’s 4th largest city, Chiang Mai truly has it all. 

The beautiful city will play host to the fourth edition of the Jai Thep Festival from February 1 - 3 in the beautiful and charming Lanna Rock Garden. A vibrant and electric celebration of nature, culture, arts, and music where festival-goers are invited to express themselves and engage their minds through creativity and self-exploration. A unique festival celebrating varied musical concepts featuring slowtech(no) from the Norwegian mountains to queer punk from Malaysia - helping us to explore free-spirited sound waves unconventional to the common eardrum. 

Insights spoke with Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse, Director of Marketing for Jai Thep, about the festival’s predilection of being heavily community focused, what to expect from the upcoming multi-cultural, international festival held in Northern Thailand, and more.

What was the idea behind creating one of the regions first environmentally and culturally conscious festivals?

Originally we started out as a one-day party with a festival vibe, thrown by friends for friends and the wider community in Chiang Mai. The 2016 edition was held at a great canyon and lake location, and we wanted to make sure we had minimal impact on the site environmentally, and that idea of developing minimal waste grew along with Jai Thep. We make sure different communities are represented through bringing in local food vendors, market stalls and staff to make Jai Thep Festival a success for all involved.

Jai Thep started out in 2016 as a relatively small festival, how do you feel about the 265% attendance increase over the past three years?

When the festival was one day only, people seemed to enjoy it so much and we felt it was a shame to only have it for one night, which is why we increased it to 3 days in 2018. We’ve grown very quickly, but we’re very conscious of the ‘feel’ of the festival - it’s important to keep Jai Thep feeling intimate and friendly, like previous years.

Be honest, how stressful have the previous 3 years been trying to grow out this festival?

It was a huge learning curve, we had to really up our game to keep thousands of people entertained and camping on site. The feedback we had from festival-goers was incredible and made all the hard work and stress worthwhile. (We just had to lie down for quite a while afterwards).

Why did you feel as if Lanna Rock Garden was the best venue for this type of festival?

Lanna Rock Garden is a fantastic venue, and we’re so glad to be returning there for the 2nd time, after such good feedback. Tucked away in the mountains and next to a river, it’s an amazing home for Jai Thep.

Jai Thep celebrates a wide range of musical concepts from all over the globe - How do you choose your artists?

We take a lot of care when curating the artists and choosing them isn’t easy. Firstly, we make sure local acts from the Chiang Mai community are included as it’s important to have a strong local presence and recognize the talent right here in Chiang Mai. We always aim to have something for everyone and a huge range of genres, for example, this year we have house, techno, rock, folk, hip-hop, psytrance, punk, bluegrass, molam (traditional Thai music) and many, many more kinds of music, running across 4 music stages.

What do you think distinguishes Jai Thep from other festivals, especially in the South East Asia region?

It’s really the feeling of Jai Thep that makes it special. Everyone is welcome, and we want everyone to feel at home, whether they’re bringing their family and hanging out in the huge kid zone, learning new skills in the conscious workshops or just wanting to dance into the early hours. There’s something for everyone. 

We also essentially operate as a non-profit co-operative – as well as collaborating with NGOs and giving them free promotion, we donate profits after expenses to worthwhile causes, to keep giving back to the Thai community.

What do you want festival-goers to take away from Jai Thep 2019?

Memories of laidback riverside daytimes and magical evenings spent with friends old and new.

RedTix Insights Team

I, for one, will definitely be attending Jai Thep 2019 - you can catch the RedTix insights team enjoying the resonating beats deep in the Lanna-countryside! 

Tickets available at https://airasiaredtix.com/jaithepfestival