-December 5th, Father’s Day – The King’s Birthday-
On what I thought was my last week in Chiang Mai, I found out about the Smile Party, an open air reggae/rock concert being held at Lake Huay Tueng Thao. It was scheduled for Dec. 4th, the night before the King’s birthday.
December the 5th is most commonly known as Father’s Day . His Majesty King Buhmibol and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s birthdays are National Holidays in Thailand and are both celebrated as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day respectively.
I had already planned to head south to Phuket when I found out about it at the Roots Rock Reggae bar. I saw the poster, looked down and that’s where I met Amy sitting out front selling tickets for the concert which would feature a variety of local bands. The funny thing is that as I was talking with her, Natalie a girl, I met a month before on my visa run to Laos, came up and surprised me. I hadn’t seen her since that trip, and she told me her and Amy were good friends and of course they encouraged me to go.
I thought about it, and decided to stay in Chiang Mai a little longer. I thought a concert on a lake in the country would be a nice way to end my stay in Chiang Mai. I didn’t renew my lease on the apt. so I needed to get another room just for a few days after my lease was up.
It was the sixth Smile Party, and Amy had organized the last 5 Smile Parties with lots of help of course, and the sponsors were all from the local bars that I would frequent on the weekends in Chiang Mai. Roots, Rock, Reggae, Babylon Bar, Zoe, and I think one called Café Del Sol?
Zoe also known as Zoe Corner is a popular spot on the weekends and is open every night of the week. Some of it is open air, with some covered areas. The most popular spot would probably be the section called Zoe in Yellow. That’s where all of the latest and oldest dance, club, pop, and hip-hop tracks are played.
Zoe corner is mostly packed with young tourists, some backpackers, other expatriate locals, some young local Thais, and all mixed in with a few freelancers and a handful of older men, looking for younger women and or men. Every now and then, I’d see a ladyboy, but I don’t think this is a popular spot for them.
I guess now, I am classified as one of the older men looking for younger women.
Hey! It is, what it is.
Don’t judge and don’t hate. (rolling my eyes, head jerk, and 2 finger snaps) …wait no one does that anymore do they?
It can get really crazy here when there is a holiday. Halloween was the wildest most packed night I think I ever saw, and unfortunately, I did not get any photos of all the wild costumes that night. The best part for me was that it was not far from my apartment and drinks are pretty cheap if you go to the Full Moon Bar, my favorite little bar. It’s the little one in between Babylon Bar and Zoe Garden.
Many times I would just buy my drinks there and walk around to the other bars, because its not usually crowded at Full Moon Bar.
The tickets for the Smile Party were 300 Baht pp or approx. $10 USD. The line up included live music from OMG, Smile Station, Malang Pleng, Apollo 13, and The Wolf. The DJ’s included DJ Zone, DJ Casper, DJ April, DJ Pisshead and some DJ’s from the Puretek Crew.
I am pulling all of this information from the roster, because I wasn’t familiar with these bands although, I had seen one of them perform before at one of the spots at Zoe.
If I had known then, that I was going to write a post about this party, I would have taken more notes, but it was a last minute decision to even bring my camera.
They actually provided transportation by song thaews to take you from Zoe corner to the concert, throughout the evening. I, however, decided to ride my motorbike, because that’s just how I roll. Even though, it is quite a long drive outside of the city, and Tyson had already gone home for the holidays, I didn’t want to rely on a song thaew to get me home. I was actually fighting a cold at the time too, so I wasn’t planning on drinking anyways.
I arrived a little later in the evening and just caught the end of the first band. They had a lot of energy and the crowd seemed to be responding with even more energy as the night went on.
It was definitely an eclectic line-up with unique styles of reggae, ska, rock and local Thai influenced music. Some groups were high energy ska, and some were more rootsy and even some funk and classic rock was played to the revelers delight.
There was definitely a lot going on all at once. There was fire-dancing, some hula hooping, and quiet little bonfires burning along the lake shore. A DJ in the back of the audience was playing some hypnotic trance music at times during set changes, most of the crowd could be found raving over there.
I’m not sure if it actually was “Trance” music but it was making me stare blankly into space and drool. So that’s my best guess.
I enjoyed the bands, they were full of energy, and I understand the varying styles were not for everyone. This was definitely more of a raving/club crowd than a ska/reggae or even rock crowd.
Personally, I prefer live music over electronic music and especially if I came to see a live show. I didn’t come all the way out to the wilderness to pump my fist at some DJ playing mp3’s.
But that is what’s hot, out here in SE Asia mostly for the young European, Russian and Australian party crowd yearning for the next Full Moon Party. Kids today. Sigh!
I will have to go to a Full Moon Party when I return to Thailand on the island of Koh Phangan. I gotta experience it at least once right?
Am I gettin’ too old for this $#!? Nah! YOLO.
To stay posted on the Smile Party for 2014, like and follow the Smile Party Facebook Page.
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