Wonderfruit brought together a collective of likeminded souls for four days in the fields of Pattaya, while international acts like Rudimental, Nicole Moudaber, Norman Jay and Kate Simko rocked the various stages. Going beyond the normal music festival experience, Wonderfruit incorporated workshops, lectures and other personal development activities to its agenda.
However, the underlining theme of the whole festival was eco awareness. For the first time in Asia, festival goers could learn about environmental issues and leave a limited carbon footprint while they danced their asses off.
Like a psychedelic version of GTA, one could freely roam the festival grounds of various stages and areas. Through all the different areas, the influence of DC Comics graphic novel artist Adam Pollina was evident — the meticulously crafted stages were all designed and created by him. His creative direction also brought out the Art Car, a five meter tall roving stage made from recycled materials, which one could ride for a small donation to the mangrove forest fund that Wonderfruit supports.
One of the festival highlights was the Solar Stage, which was designed by Burner legend Greg Fleishman. This monumental creation, which was flown into Thailand from Burning Man, is crafted entirely from wood and fits together like a giant jigsaw puzzle without nails or screws. The sunrise and sunsets parties were beyond epic, which featured Norman Jay, YokoO or Jason Swamy. However, KLMN’s live set for the closing ceremony on the last day was a real treat for the dancing crowd, combined with the festival’s ceremonial parade, which had fire dancing drag queens, acrobatic airplanes and a picturesque setting sun. It was a fitting close to the final day.
The Living Stage drew the biggest crowds with headliners Rudimental, who delivered a spectacular live show that went beyond their accessible drum n’ bass and into classic hip hop to live techno, complete with a brass section. Their show on Saturday night might have been the only time that all 7,000 attendees convened at one stage.
Since the Quarry stage was a kilometer away from the main action, anyone hungry for an after party had to trek there like tripped-out devotees on a pilgrimage for techno mecca. This stage delivered thundering psychedelic techno sets by Nicole Moudaber and Headless Horseman. Lasting until 8AM, the pulsating bass could be heard all the way into the camping grounds for an early morning sesh.
Over on the Rainforest Pavilion stage, patrons could expand their mind while dancing to sick beats. This stage created by Alex Joy of the Joy Collective, hosted all of the festival's Scratch talks, which ranged from environmental issues to personal growth during the day, and then ended up as a dance floor at night. One DJ in particular stole the show, which was Little DJ Ale. This seven-year-old DJ was definitely the youngest DJ on the festival lineup, but handled the decks like a pro. Every single person was dancing and amazed by witnessing this young superstar in the making.
As the festival drew to a close on Monday at noon, everyone who remained was wondering what was next, unsure how they could leave such a beautiful place and have to head back to reality. But their doubt was quickly soothed as the festival announced that they would be back in December 2017, returning to their usual scheduled date.
2017 is looking good if it has got two Wonderfruit festivals in it.
Cover image via Wonderfruit
Article Photography via Enya Svea