KHON KAEN — Slip into some tribal-print clothing, strap on a boho turban and lace-up sandals to join the “plateau hippies” at one of Isaan’s largest dams under a glowing peace symbol-shaped ferris wheel.

In other words, the Esan Music Festival is returning for its sixth edition with three days of art, music, camping and more.

Despite of the festival’s name, don’t expect to hear mor lam music from the nearly 80 bands which will play on two giant stages, but Thai and foreign acts playing a variety of music along the Hippie spectrum from reggae to rock ‘n roll.

Musical groups include bluegrass-folk-reggae band from Chiang Mai called Sanim Yok, folk rock trio Yena, world music supergroup Yaan and rockers The Richman Toy.


Expect more live performances including parades, dances and fire shows.

Organizer Isaan Keaw (Green Isaan) is also accepting donations of money, clothes or stationery items to be used for construction of an art school for children in a village in Khon Kaen’s Ubolratana district.

About 4,500 people attended the festival in 2015, which swelled to 10,000 earlier this year. Organizer Tor Natthawut said they expect about 18,000 attendees next month.

Tickets can be booked online via the festival’s Facebook page for 350 baht. Instructions on transferring payment are available from the admins. Identification is required to receive tickets at the door.


The festival will run Nov. 24 through Nov. 26 at the Ubol Ratana Dam. The largest multi-purpose dam in the northeastern region is located in Khon Kaen’s Khok Sung district.

No car, no worries. Head to Khon Kaen’s Ubolratana Bus Terminal to hop on a free shuttle that will be available 7:30am to 4pm daily to get to the festival.

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