Attending a festival is a rite of passage for many people, a defining part of one’s youth. Glastonbury, Coachella, Burning Man … so many to choose from and yet all offer a unique experience. Among this well-heeled group, there is a strong challenger for Asia’s first global festival.
It’s called Wonderfruit.
A Four-day celebration of art, music, food and ideas
Since 2014, in a beautiful and secluded corner of Thailand, on the fields of the Siam Country Club, the Wonderfruit Festival takes place every December. The festival’s ethos is to “encourage, develop, and innovate creative solutions for sustainable living and bring together a global community to celebrate them”.
Director Jason Swamy talked to us about the festival’s progress since inception:
“We’re more than thrilled with the 4th instalment of Wonderfruit. We hit all our goals and our community new and old gave us great feedback to celebrate and improve upon.
A key achievement was that we transitioned from phase 1, which was a festival with sustainable content to the beginning of phase two, a global community with a festival. We look forward to continuing to delight our growing community by using edutainment to create awareness and meaningful impact”
People come from all over the world. You don’t just attend Wonderfruit, you are part of an incredibly expressive movement of creativity and sustainability. You are a Wonderer walking through the Six Pillars of Wonderfruit: Arts, Music, Farm to Feasts, Wellness & Adventures, Talks & Workshops, and Family.
We were lucky enough to go this year and wow were we blown away. We went from a SUP class to a meditation session, to an art class and then found ourselves wondering in a field surrounded by incredible, thought provoking structures. While our ears listened to the best groups there are, we felt united by a higher goal of creativity and positive change. It finally is possible to have fun and embrace sustainability at the same time.
Commitment to sustainability
Wonderfruit practices what it preaches as members of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. It has a Zero Plastic Policy—no plastics are allowed on site. Tableware is compostable, the cups are made from bagasse, and beverages are discounted for those who reuse. Water is filtrated by the Wonderfruit team, and “Wonderers” as they are called are provided free water throughout the Festival.
A nice touch happens during “Tree Hour”: every time you buy a drink a mangrove tree is planted in Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar (mangroves produce four times as much CO²). During this year’s Wonderfruit, 10,000 trees were planted.
Deep and rhythmical music floats across the grassland. A boy whizzes past on an electric mini surf board. A group of children sit on top of a multicolour bus watching the sunset. Wonderfruit welcomes people from all walks of life, of any age, gender, colour. Even the main stages, some made from trash and others from rice, challenge how we think about sustainable design. It is a full-on sensory experience to stimulate and provoke how we see the world around us. With the Wonderfruit app on your phone or the map in your hand, you are never lost, hungry, thirsty or bored.
Wonderfruit is an explosion of incredible music to listen to and things to do, workshops to attend, for example, and new styles of yoga to learn. There is “Functional flow yoga for hips” or “Gong bath: Riding the Wave”. By far one of the most popular events is the “About a Boy Dragsical”, whereby Thailand’s most famous drag queen Pangina Heals takes you on a journey about what it’s like to be transgender in Thailand.
This festival is a sumptuous feast for anyone who wants to learn and be involved in new and wonderful things. We stumbled across a poetry workshop while nibbling on a delicious pizza from Peppina, one of Bangkok’s best pizzerias, members of the crowd were asked to compose their own poems, and then recite them to the rest of us. It was an empowering moment to see how appreciative everyone was and how good the poetry was too!
When: Wonderfruit returns on December 13–16, 2018.
Where: The Fields at Siam Country Club, East Pattaya
Tickets: Click here to get your early bird tickets (available soon).
If you missed the festival in 2017, check out all the fun on Instagram and Facebook. You won’t want to miss out again!
Written by: Max Johnson