It is one of those things in life that number two is never remembered. Those who took a gold medal or a Christmas number 1 in the billboard 100 go into the popular memory. As do the highest mountains, the most expensive diamonds or the biggest animals. The superlative number one is worth keeping in mind. Not so for number two. This is part of the problem for the Half Moon Party in Koh Phangan. It is the second biggest party on the island. For those only briefly visiting the Thai island to attend the biggest party, the Full Moon Party, it holds little interest and is probably quickly forgotten.
The Full Moon Party in Haad Rin is anything but forgettable. The beach becomes packed with 30,000 people dancing and going slightly moon crazy. It is the largest party of its kind in the world. The second biggest party is the Half Moon Party. It is well attended, compared to the other parties in Koh Phangan, drawing 4,000 people but obviously suffers from the number 2 syndrome.
The Half Moon Party has been going for over 10 years now. It is held a week before and a week after the Full Moon Party in its own clearing in the jungle just outside of Bantai on the road to the Thong Nai Pan area. The area includes bars, a food shop and chill out areas. The DJs play on a raised area which includes a stage in front for live bands.
The party is very different to its more famous cousin. For a start the Half Moon Party has just one act playing at a time, whereas the Full Moon Party has 12 sound systems competing with each other. The focus at the Half Moon Party is much more about the music and less about simply getting wasted on a beach.
The party starts early evening with a live band. At the moment this is Moscowfish. It is a band that plays eclectic music – half the tracks are acoustic and half are electronic music. They are an innovative band with their own sound that avoids being just another cliché cover band. Moscowfish are followed by a DJ playing progressive house tracks accompanied by people playing African drums.
At midnight the Harmony Team take to the decks. They play mostly the ‘Koh Phangan sound’ which is a breed of psy-trance with techno and house influences. They usually take the energy levels up several notches and people are dancing well past the sun up the following day.
The cover charge for the Half Moon Party is 500 Thai Baht. This cost includes 1 free drink. The party is well organized and includes fluorescent decoration, fireworks and visual DJs. For many the Half Moon Party is a better event than the Full Moon Party because of the music and the atmosphere. Persuading the thousands of backpackers that come to Koh Phangan to party all night under the stars that this is the case is not easy. That’s fate of the number two.