The unforeseen circumstance of the pandemic may have ground the Thai festival circuit down to a halt for two years, but it was with much anticipation we awakened to Wonderfruit’s seventh instalment.
Since its conception, Wonderfruit has always been greater than the sum of its parts. This annual festival, taking place in Pattaya’s Siam Country Club, is a diverse programme, celebrating art, culture, music and nature, and boasts a considerable number of international and regional acts.
2022 marks the return of the festival after two years of COVID cancellations. This year, the festival runs for four days – December 15-18.
Upon setting foot inside The Fields, despite having readily downloaded the app, catalogued the directory, and analysed the map, I felt that attempting to cover everything that the festival had to offer was futile. But, let’s take a decent stab at it.
Wonderness is a huge stretch of land covering activities to do with healing, wellness, fitness and the spirit. These activities were represented and found in the elemental zones of earth, air, fire and water. One of the unique workshops that arrived for the first time to Wonderness this year, was the Wim Hof Method cold water therapy workshop. Combining breathwork and submersion in subzero temperature water has been claimed to have profound effects on the body and mind. If all else fails, it was at least a break from the heat.
One of the first stages attendees come across was Forbidden Fruit, a red-lit bamboo boudoir. Here, one of the late night Friday highlights were GenderFunk x Peach’s experimental drag and dance performances.
We sat on the ground to take in the show, and playfully bounced balloons to each other. Conversely, the French trio, La Mamie’s, had the crowd on their feet and in time with their own enthusiastic body boppin’. I felt the floor shake beneath me, with electrifying energy the women in front cracked their fans like a whip in time with the beat.
The Moonlight Lounge drew us in like the tide, where the big full moon took up residence and we basked in its glow. This stage showcased the cutting-edge talent from Bangkok’s underground music scene.
Under the canopy, we crash-landed into Mo-Funk’s set. He took us on a space journey, with his off world breaks and beats. The cosmos opened and we gravitated outside. In that moment, any stargazing ravers might have chanced upon a streak of light in the sky – they weren’t trippin’, it came from the Geminid meteor shower.
Making our way to the Block party-style SOT stage, which debuted Bastid’s BBQ x Red Bull roster of talent. DABOYWAY got the crowd in a frenzy, his entire crew were busting moves on stage and whipping towels in the air to ‘We Do What We Want’.
The party didn’t stop there, and we were hollerin’ along with Big Calo. He was dropping rhymes as a deep brassy trombone reverberated out. The SOT stage was lit, courtesy of well-renowned DJ Skratch Bastid, who rounded us off nicely with two sets in one night. As the night got nippy, he ushered us in closer- it was a tight-knit intimate huddle that took over the SOT stage.
No Wonderfruit experience is complete if you didn’t venture to the Polygon Stage. This is the ultimate multi-sensory experience, with a staggering 360-degree immersive sound, pyrotechnics, scent-dispersion (mystical scents like frankincense, sage, myrrh, and lavender) and LED tubing visual light show- first-timers are usually left astounded!
At Polygon, Mita Gami took us past the midnight hour, just as an intense tempest swept through, as if it were the backing to the music. As we faced the forces around us, I felt we were at the mercy of the elements. I was mesmerised by the random figures that decided to get on stage- an ardent violinist, a mysterious character wearing the mask of popular EDM icon Marshmello, and an exotic fan-wielding dancer. It was a powerful sensation as the psychedelic house penetrated my senses, with the pulsating electric blue ripples above me, as well as the vibrating bass coursing through me.
Sure, we’d heard that winter was coming (do laugh at this statement, if you don’t reside in Thailand!). But after such a mild Friday night, the plunge in temperature took us all by surprise. The weather was beyond anyone’s control, and the wait for sunrise was starting to feel like a mission.
We gathered at the only stage left – the Solar stage. The modular 3D structure designed by Gregg Fleishman was initially an art installation at Burning Man, but later debuted at Wonderfruit 2016. Tama Sumo b2b Lakuti managed to take our minds off the bitter cold, by delivering the lively beats to keep us all moving. As the sun rose, we could finally see one another. The slight warmth gave us the second wind we needed and each step invigorated me.
One of the most heartwarming memories of the festival was the care and attention from the many strangers that I encountered. We shared what we had, and reminded each other to keep hydrated and warm. I left feeling uplifted and grateful for the experience, which drew crowds from Singapore and Hong Kong. With an attendance that surpassed previous instalments, it really was momentous.
Here’s to the good vibes, the non-stop party, the wellness connection, the superb music, and finally the kind souls that made it unforgettable.
See you at The Fields next year!