Dig out the hippie headband. Dust off the meditation mat. Drizzle on the SPF100… Wonderfruit, a sort of 21st-century Woodstock for the eco-conscious, gourmet food-loving, art-savvy hedonist, returns to the lush, sprawling fields of Pattaya’s Siam Country Club between February 16-19. As with the previous two editions, you’ll get to indulge and immerse yourself in an innovative experiential smorgasbord made up of mind-blowing concepts, world-class live music and DJs (Rudimental, Simian Mobile Disco, Norman Jay, just to name a few), mind-and-soul fine-tuning workshops, farm-to-table feasts and electrifying art installations, but this year some exciting new additions to the festival await us, as the ever-lovely DJ-musician-model Montonn Jira, one of Wonderfruit’s co-founders, explains.
What bright spark of inspiration led to the festival’s creation?
Pranitan Phornprapha, our co-founder founder and I wanted to launch a movement to raise awareness regarding sustainability issues. Having faced difficulties with an initial campaign called Earthworks, we decided in 2014 to start our own social enterprise: Scratch First. The aim was to set up an event by ourselves, which would demonstrate that you can have an amazing time and live sustainably and consciously at the same time. Our original idea for a small launch event gave birth to the celebration that is Wonderfruit and now in our third year, it’s still the basis of everything we do.
What do you think makes it unique?
There are a lot of great events in Thailand. There’s great food, a growing arts scene, interesting culture and an increasing number of music festivals, but Wonderfruit is the only place you can find all of that in one place. We have six pillars: Music, Arts, Family, Farm to Feasts, Talks & Workshops, Wellness & Adventures, and we place equal important on all of them to ensure that Wonderfruit is a really well-rounded experience.
In addition to some ill-advised headdresses, what new additions can we expect this year?
This year’s brand new highlights include our Farm Stage, which is inspired by age-old ceremonial farming traditions, built from bamboo and decorated entirely with rice. There’s also a Solar Stage, built this year by from sustainable wood by Burning Man artist, Gregg Fleishman with his signature geometric approach. We are also crowd-funding our very first art car on Asiola.com. Wonder Kar will be a mobile structure built from reclaimed junk and decorated with repurposed silk to make a moving VIP lounge and everyone who takes part in making it possible gets to ride on it. Perhaps most importantly, this year, we’re also carbon neutral. We’ve invested in the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Indonesia in order to offset our emissions. That means, if you’ve bought a ticket, your carbon footprint has already been offset.
What are some of the major challenges in putting it all together?
The primary challenge is explaining to people what Wonderfruit is. It’s a new concept to this region. It’s always difficult in the beginning to get people to take a risk and come. Additionally, the music curation is always a challenge. Our musical direction is unique and diverse and getting just the right balance of bands, DJs and acts, all on the right stages is the hardest part of the programming.
Wonderfruit just keeps on growing; how do you keep the interest levels up?
I think as long as we stay true to our ethos and keep adding new and engaging content, our audience of creative culture seekers will continue to grow.
What is Wonderfruit definitely not?
Wonderfruit is not “just a music festival.”
A 4-day pass for adults cost 5,500 baht. Weekend passes and other package deals with hotel accommodation at varying prices are also available. See wonderfruitfestival.com for more.