Upon arriving at Wonderfruit’s vast field site just outside the infamous Thai city of Pattaya, I felt a little uncertain about how the weekend would play out. Initially, the grounds felt far too large, as the four-day festival was oddly quiet during the first 24 hours. But as darkness crept in on Friday evening, I sensed with my whole body that this hushed stillness was simply the calm before the storm. As the night went on, people slowly started buzzing about, carrying with them a tangible energy one only feels at a festival as ambitious and unique as Wonderfruit.
Festival Founder, Pete Phornprapha, learned about social awareness at a young age. Twenty five years ago, his father founded an environmental campaign called Think Earth, which focuses on preserving our planet as well the human spirit. At the time, Pete was uninterested in his father’s teachings.
“I didn’t want to go plant trees and coral reefs and all of that,” he told Everfest during an interview at the festival. “I was young. I wanted to do other things.”
Nevertheless, as Pete grew older, his sentiments about sustainability underwent an evolution of sorts.
“I realized I didn’t want to just know about these problems,” he explained. “I wanted to solve them in a relevant, contemporary way. And that way was Wonderfruit.”
Photo by Linka A. Odom
When the festival first launched in 2014, no one could’ve predicted what kind of response the organizers would receive. After all, Thailand had never experienced something like Wonderfruit – a camping festival with so many moving parts – where music, art, ceremony and eco-awareness meld into a powerful force stripped of all categorical restraints.
“We just hoped that people would come,” Pete chuckled.
People didn’t just show up at Wonderfruit; they traveled from all corners of the globe. And after the festival’s second year, it is this beautiful, multicultural crowd that continues to make the event so special.
“I’m blown away by the diversity…the collective of people who come to join us. They’re from all over Asia, all over Thailand…they come from Europe; they come from Burning Man; they come from the California transformational festival scene. It’s very rare to get that mix. That’s unique in itself.”
After another successful year of the festival, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for us at Wonderfruit 2016. Take a look at our favorite photos from the festival, which took place December 17-20.