Wonderfruit, Thailand’s visionary sustainability focused and eco-friendly festival, have put together a spellbinding lineup of arts, workshops and music in Thailand’s Chon Buri province. From hip-hop to house, Thai folk to techno, Wonderfruit is set to spellbind audiences with some of the most prolific musicians, artists and performers from around the globe.
But far from characterizing itself just as a music festival, Wonderfruit has been adamant that the event is a lifestyle festival incorporating visual arts, installation pieces and provoking workshops. The fact that they have assembled a collection of some of the most captivating musical acts is just the icing on the cake. Music Weekly Asia spoke exclusively to Co-Founder of Wonderfruit, Pranitan “Pete” Phornprapha about what to expect from this year’s edition.
First off, can you explain what have been the key principles driving Wonderfruit?
Our goal is to irreversibly change the perception of social responsibility, by merging it with entertainment and a sense of fun.
The environmental focus of Wonderfruit is clearly evident and the festival’s ambitions to be completely sustainable within five years is a huge undertaking. Can you tell us some more about this?
We own the land so we can take certain liberties. Since year one, we have implemented water systems, developed a farm and used recycled or natural materials in our build. This year we have plant landscaping that can be used for workshops, further builds and other purposes, and we are introducing a ‘leave no trace’ initiative that goes beyond simply clearing up litter, to determining where our waste ends up. The next piece of the puzzle is renewable energy, which is a huge undertaking and we are currently researching it. But, in our opinion, sustainability, in addition to environmental progress, is about positively changing behaviors – and this is something we really emphasize.
Given that some of these concepts like recycling and sustainability are often not widely adopted in Southeast Asia, what have been some of the challenges you’ve come up against?
Like anything, it’s a matter of education without condescension. Many traditional processes in this region are already done in an eco-sustainable way, but are often seen as second rate. It’s about shifting perspectives. Sustainability and fun should go hand in hand, and it’s demonstrating that notion effectively that we must get right.
Were you disappointed to see that Big Mountain Festival chose to run their event across the same weekend? What do you see the implications of this move?
Big Mountain is an amazing, well established Thai music festival and we admire and respect what they do. However, since we don’t necessarily think of ourselves as a music festival but rather a social movement, I think that has set us apart mentally and so we don’t tend to infer any implications.
There have been many comparisons made between Wonderfruit and other boutique European festivals. Where do you find inspiration from and how important is it to retain a distinctly Thai flavor?
There will always be comparisons, no matter how distinct we are, and we are happy to embrace them as there are some fantastic festivals to be compared to! Our inspiration is around us and within us and we will always maintain a Thai flavor because we are Thai people in Thailand and our culture is infused in everything we do – it’s important to us but it’s also inevitable.
What have been the lessons, if any, that you have taken from last year’s festival?
The key is, as with anything, to identify our weaknesses and ensure we learn from them moving forward; we see every mistake as a lesson and an opportunity to grow and learn.
What would you say is the one defining characteristic of Wonderfruit festival that sets it apart from other festivals in the region?
We have a clear purpose that goes beyond providing entertainment, and that transcends the four days of the event itself.
How would you describe Wonderfruit to someone that has never been before in five words or less.
“Give it a shot!”
Where: The Fields at Siam Country, Pattaya
When: 17 – 21 December, 2015
Price: Weekend passes from THB 4,500