E-San Music Festival draws thousands to northeast Thailand this weekend

E-san Music Festival returns for a 10th time in Khon Kaen province in northeast Thailand this weekend. At least 100,000 people are expected to attend.

The hippie festival, dubbed “Thailand’s Woodstock,” draws Thais and foreign tourists to Khon Kaen year-in-and-year-out.

Usually, E-san Music Festival is held at the province’s giant Ubonratana Dam in the Phu Wiang district. However, the dam flooded this year so the event will take place at an old racecourse instead, said festival organiser Mueangkaen Issaratham.

Mueangkaen said that at least 100,000 people are expected to attend throughout the festival from November 25-27.

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Police officers from Mueang Khon Kaen Police Station joined festival security in inspecting people’s bags today to prevent illicit substances and weapons from spoiling the festival fun. About 10,000 people passed through security this morning.

The grassroots festival was started by a group who call themselves “Isaan Kiaew” (Green Isaan). The festival started out of the group’s love for music, movies and backpacking and youth culture of the 60s and 70s.

For the first four years, the festival was called “E-San Reggae” but was then changed to “E-San Music Festival” when more genres like Rock ‘n’ Roll, Funk, Bossa and more were added to the mix. Less than 500 people attended the first E-san Reggae Festival.

The festival has always incorporated Isaan music and way of life with a mixture of local and foreign artists taking to the stage.

Major artists playing include the Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band and Rasmee Isan Soul.

Provincial President of the Chamber of Commerce Channarong Burittrakul said a festival is a positive event benefitting the youth of Khon Kaen as well as the local economy with tourists drawn in from far and wide.

Last year, the whole festival was called off due to Covid-19, so the atmosphere will be extra magical this year to make up for it.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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