Wonderfruit is a 4-day arts, music, and lifestyle festival that is now in its 6th year.
This festival offers us so much more than most. Wonderers are encouraged to break away from the normal day-to-day and to start conversations about sustainability. The founder has spoken about his Wonderfruit vision as “a multitude of temporary pop-up cities”.
The landscape was otherworldly and vast. The full moon shone all night and remained in sight, even as the sun rose up. We worshipped the sunrise at 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. The structure uses sustainably harvested wood, each piece slotting into place like a puzzle that can be disassembled for use the following year.
The highlight for many was staying out through the night to watch the warm sunrise peek from behind the clouds. The Friday sunrise was heralded by Floating Points, his electronic music was influenced by a wide array of styles, which initially began with a Latino/Brazillian twist that transformed into a rhythmic techno beat that gradually awoke us from our dreamy daze. The Sunday sunrise was Acid Pauli which began quite down-tempo, with Thai traditional music transitioned in.
We traversed what looked like desert plains to pass impressive organic-looking structures and stages that at night were illuminated in bright colours.
The Polygon stage harnesses the power of immersive sound technology to deliver a 3D, 360° sound stage, and a live experience like you’ve never heard before. The stage included a 360-degree hyper-real sound system by L-Acoustics that spanned the circumference of the dance floor and a multisensory sound and light installation that’s been put together by Visual System for the full virtual reality experience. Throughout the evening you could smell multiple aromas of lemongrass, wild lemon and rosemary dispersed by an array of smoke machines. These scents are extracted from organic herbs grown on a remote farm in Myanmar! Apparently the lemongrass scent also repels mosquitos!
The 3D experience also showcased the ‘Earth Echo’ practice that was accommodated by Phan Tu, a Kundalini healer, Axel Drioli and Francisco Amoscotegui. They provided us with one from the recorded series: Mountain. The recording imprints animal sounds into our subconscious so we can immerse ourselves into nature again. After a couple of beers down and 20 minutes into the practice, we were truly in a hypnagogic state. Combined with the pleasant breeze… the outcome was therapeutic….
One of the new sections for 2019 was the Living Village designed by Ab Rogers Design that had created The Bathhouse in previous years. This venue would house music, food, workshops and experiences in a community atmosphere, designed to look like the human elements of an ear, a hand and a tongue. The ear was where the Creature Stage had been built from recycled PET bottles with the help of Indorama Ventures and Bangkok residents who recycled 20,000 plastic bottles, nearly 300kg to create the colourful fabrics.
The GO GRRRLS featured as part of the God Save The Queer takeover of Forbidden Fruit. The very ‘extra’ LGBT-friendly GO GRRRLS crew were killing it at the Forbidden Fruit stage. The music ranged from disco fever to a soul sisters and intimate kinda feeling. There was a catwalk competition where everyone was welcomed to bring the sass on stage together.
Ed Banger Records took over the Forbidden Fruit stage on Saturday with the wondrous Yasmin. Her set was a mix of smooth R’n’B, Motown and soul. Yasmin was grooving along with us and her enthusiasm was contagious.
One of the longest-running successful Molam bands played at the Neramit stage. The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band fused traditional Thai music from the Isan area of Thailand (north-eastern part of Thailand) with blues, rock and folk. They used traditional instruments such as the Kaen (reed mouth organ) with electric guitars. A mix of old and new. They performed slow psychedelic numbers and then more rousing beats. We moved with wild abandonment. It was very exciting for new ears that hadn’t heard this kind of music before.
People fell into the depths of the forest where the hidden stage The Quarry played out. This year was different from others, as they decided to shield our view of the DJ. The way down towards the stage was in darkness, except for laser lighting that created a trippy effect. It didn’t matter who was playing, everyone remembers their time in The Quarry as being standout.
As twilight fell we were welcomed by a mellower musical act, the self-taught East London producer, Alfa Mist who performed at the seated Theatre Stage. The jazz performer and his band struck us with a live performance with songs from his most recent album that launched earlier this year, Structuralism, which featured eloquent improvisational styles. Well known as a jazz pianist it came to our surprise that he sang the song “Glad I Lived” with melancholy vocals blended into the melody. The show also featured the album Antiphon, released in 2017, with the songs “Keep On” and “Breathe”. Both songs featured more of a soulful, hip-hop and bittersweet feeling… After a heavy few days of electronic music, Mist’s soothing performance was a glorifying highlight to start off our Sunday evening….
The night ended with a musical art performance by Kelsey Lu. The singer opened the performance with cello and wearing an oversized red dress. During the performance, Lu switched from the cello to guitar, from oversized red dress to corset. The multi-instrumentalist also jumped off the stage and held a performance among the field of people. At this point, she had truly enticed the whole crowd!
We skimmed the surface of the BDSM world with a Shibari performance (the art of Japanese rope bondage) at the Neramit stage where the rigger, Unnamedminor, and her rope bunny had an intense scene that was performed against jarring guitar playing that heightened the less-than-vanilla view.
The following act was the outstandingly funky Chromeo that lifted us up with their magnetic personas. We leaned in close, some climbed up anywhere they could in the Neramit stage, and it appeared to be a wave of people as far as the eye could see. Some people could be seen dancing outside the stage because there just wasn’t enough room! And for something completely different, a rainbow-dressed man with a fancy mustache sprang in clutching a baby doll in the air. There was so much ecstasy in the crowd, you had to be there to feel it.
There were so many food options to soothe the soul and replenish you. If you were feeling generous and wanted to really tantalise the tastebuds, then Farm to Feasts was where it was at. Some of the top culinary chefs were delivering a theatre of feasts (80/20, bo.lan x Rishi and Haoma). There was an emphasis on sustainable or plant-based cuisine in the Wonder Feasts arena.
See also: Wanderland 2020 announces Bruno Major, Raveena, Foals, Sabrina Claudio as its Phase 1 line-up.
For those that were looking for a similar ethos on a budget there were vendors such as Saptha for healthy handcrafted eats. The spicy lentil soup was very wholesome and satisfying. Another vendor with nutrient-rich soups was The Genius Bar with their selection of broths, the remedy for hangovers they claimed.
There was a foodie workshop in the Wonder Kitchen, where Chef Eduardo of Barefood Bangkok led participants through the key steps in making plant-based cheese and dairy using almond milk and cashew nuts with natural fermentation. Informative and delicious. Win-Win!
There aren’t many festivals like this one. A retreat for the mind, body and soul, where you can have so many unique experiences. It is a four-day never-ending awe-inspiring place where you meet people from all walks of life. The amazing eclectic lineup, the non-stop party, the wellness mentality, the food, the art. It’s really a place for all of us. The festival itself is constantly evolving and adapting.
We left feeling uplifted and grateful for the wonder of Wonderfruit. See you at The Fields next year!
Check out the Wonderfruit Aftermovie below: