Last weekend, we escaped from the concrete jungle of Bangkok to the vast open fields of Ratchaburi for the third edition of the one-day Nature Please mini-festival.
The party scene transported revelers out of the concrete jungle and into the sprawl of nature in a matter of hours. If you left on Saturday morning from Bangkok, then you might well have experienced a rain storm so heavy, you could barely see 5ft. in front of you. I pictured a festival washout of Glastonbury proportions with a swampy dance floor and flooded tents.
However, the rain lightened as we travelled to the beautiful province of Ratchaburi, which is 80km due west of Bangkok. The landscape became rich in lush green meadows, steep mossy hills and deep verdant valleys.
A small dirt track led us to our destination where bunting was draped up and around a pole. A frisbee game had begun, lending a playfulness to the day.
Not on the billing lineup, Gaspray was a surprise opener to the festival serving up some light beats. 17 Degrees was clearly in his natural habitat, framed by a flowery arrangement and blasting out his very distinctive disco sound. The day blossomed into night under Bonita Everitt’s very feminine melodic set. She weaved her music as if telling a story, as the background of neon-coloured flower buds popped from under the cloak of darkness.
Pure Love, a combination of Nature Please’s own Johnny and Layered Love, took over the decks, accompanied by many whoops from the crowd. With their Berlin-influenced techno, they demonstrated an amazing chemistry with each other. The lively trio Transport, kept the fresh sounds flourishing with their raw zest. This was enhanced by the fact that they had the technical details to pat, with layers of sound and genre-twisting techno, keeping us on our toes.
Proving that sibling talent does exist, Martin Everitt followed with a more progressive techno sound, very different from that of his sister. When the crowd was unfortunately engulfed in darkness due to a power outage, a moment of shock and confusion ensued. In short order, a hero emerged to the sounds of cheers with a yo-yo light show at hand, as if it had all been part and parcel of the event. After being entertained by this diversion for a while, as abruptly as it had begun, the power outage was over and we plunged back into the music.
The stream of music kept flowing as Coran buoyed our spirits like a balloon set free. Then, a primal urge manifested itself and rose to the surface as the tribal jungle beats of Wild Thai drummed out and a trumpet reverberated.
Bodies flung themselves about with the energy of the vibration as Koh:Lab took over. As the darkness surrounded us, the grass beneath us had become squelchy mud between our toes. Then the high powered disco classic of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ united us as rain began to crash down. The light display, emphasized by the storm, visually astounded us and travelled the distance, forking up the tree like lightning. A sped up version of the ‘Hanging Tree’ from The Hunger Games played out, and then suddenly it was daylight and you could see all the survivors of the madness.
Linus, always looking cool and professional, let us catch our breath and return to some semblance of humanity. The sun was shining, the heat from the sun had finally returned, and during Myringa’s set some of us took the opportunity to cool off by the stream. Others chose to kayak or chill on the swing. Then Koish played, always seemingly able to read the crowd and give us a dose of exactly what we needed. His use of a Nintendo sample brought a twinge of nostalgia to break up the beats. Many chilled out on the sloping grass lawn and soaked in the atmosphere. Junesis was the closing act, giving us the final boost we needed. As the party thinned out, it was time to make our weary trip back to Bangkok.
After countless rooftops and clubs, it was nice to hop off to a change of scenery. The organizers have a lot to be proud of; what started as a birthday party in their first edition three years ago, has now become an actual bonafide one-day mini-festival.
Everyone recounted how nice it was to dance on the grass, pound their feet in the mud and drift down stream. There was definitely a feeling of endurance for those that powered through the full lineup of music, pushing their bodies to the limits and left them aching with a sense of accomplishment.
Nature Please photos courtesy of Kittipong ‘June’ Tangkamonkit