The past weekend’s festivities in the fields of Siam Country Club now seem like a blurry dream, but we’re back in Bangkok — voiceless, aching, and running on very little sleep — dusting off our cameras, finding our bearings (physically and mentally), from the fifth Wonderfruit, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest music festivals and annual lifestyle events.
Or, as we now like to think of it, Thailand’s biggest choose-your-own-adventure lifestyle festival.
Here are the highlights of our experience, in photos. The good, the bad and the … r/woahdude.
This year, over 10,000 people from all corners of the globe flocked to the fields east of Pattaya City for a taste of the wacky ‘Fruit, siphoning off into small groups based on various interests.
“What interests,” you ask?
Well, we’ve got “perspective shifting” activities such as bathing rituals, orgasmic yoga, and “empathy training,” for starters.
On paper, Wonderfruit says that the whole point of this festival is to bring people from diverse backgrounds together, so that collectively, we can catalyze meaningful social impact — namely, sustainability, which has been the festival’s theme since it started in 2014.
While that ethos may be considered (somewhat) realized during the daytime, as a scatter of meditation sessions and healing rituals and whatnot carry out — Pattaya’s sun burns down at an unforgiving 30-something degrees until around 6pm, leading a large chunk of people to stay indoors until after sunset.
At night, however, is when Wonderfruit really comes alive, as the crowds get significantly larger and the a collective energy to crank up the party spreads throughout the festival grounds.
There are over seven stages, ten large-scale installations, and countless workshops — a lot of walking was inevitable. Comfortable shoes: An absolute necessity.
This year’s climbable interactive installations were great. Is it the safest thing to do after frolicking in the fields post- and during heavy intoxication? No, no, it is not.
But it does bring out the inner child in everyone.
Wonderfruit often gets (unfairly) characterized as a celebration of depravity, mostly by people who have never attended the festival before.
It’s not really like that, especially in the daytime. There’s even a “Camp Wonder” section for the little ones. Hundreds of kids were present on the festival grounds, and a lot of them looked like they were genuinely having a good time.
It was odd, however, to see some children being exposed to crazy, PG13+ concert behavior, especially at night.
There truly is something for everyone, though. Even after three days sprinting from stage to stage, installation to installation, tent to tent within seemingly endless event grounds, we still stumbled upon new things to see, up until the very last second.
It’s as if we landed in a crazy, choose-your-own-adventure video game IRL.
Sure, it feels like our bodies ran through several consecutive marathons and back — but, damn, it was worth it.
Until next year, readers. In the meantime, this pretty much sums up where we’re at.