There have only been two editions of the Jai Thep Music Festival so far, which took place on August 27th 2016 and February 4th 2017. The dates for the next festival are yet to be announced, so check regularly on the Jai Thep Music Festival Facebook page for updates.
If you know anything about the UK’s annual Glastonbury Musical Festival, picture a (much, much smaller) version of that, transported to Northern Thailand!
Face-painting, cold beers, market stalls, yoga lessons, and hammocks are all to be found at Jai Thep Music Festival. Despite being a far smaller event than the titanic international festivals which attract global headliners, Jai Thep still manages to retain the same laid-back, communal feel. They even managed to incorporate a beach into their first event, which gives you an idea of the relaxed atmosphere they’re going for.
The hippy vibe that you often find at these kinds of festivals is definitely present, but it’s not overpowering. If that’s not your scene, you can leave it well alone. The main attraction though is, of course, the music. There are several different stages, manned by a range of DJs and bands. Whether you’re in to rock music, or more electronic stuff, you should be able to find something to suit your tastes.
It’s not like there are no music festivals in Thailand, but it’s fair to say they haven’t exactly taken off. The organizers of Jai Thep Festival have clearly spotted a gap in the market, and so far they’ve done an excellent job of filling it. There may have only been two editions so far, but both received good turnouts and excellent reviews.
While the majority of the crowds have certainly been foreigners, the organizers have also been keen to keep locals involved. To this end they’ve offered local university students (of which there are many in Chiang Mai), free tickets in exchange for five hours of volunteer work. 10% of proceeds have also been donated to the excellent School for Life charity project.
The Jai Thep Music Festival is exclusive to Chiang Mai Province.
The first event took place at the (so-called, but not as impressive as it sounds!) Grand Canyon, which is worth visiting even when the festival isn’t taking place. The second took part at the remote Punpon Farm, in Sam Kamphaeng.
Again, stay tuned for updates on the next festival’s location. It doesn’t actually matter too much because, for both festivals so far, transportation has been available from Chiang Mai. As long as you buy an advance ticket (650 baht, as opposed to 700 on the door), the transport has also been completely free, but once again do your research in case things change.