The first Wonderfruit music festival, in Thailand’s backpacker heartland, aimed to mix the boutique appeal of smaller UK events with a focus on eco issues and sustainability
Driving through the congestion of Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand I get the feeling that we’re in one of the least likely places in the world to find a hippified festival with a focus on sustainability and personal responsibility. With its dubious reputation as one of the sex tourism capitals of the world, the Green Fields at Glastonbury it is definitely not. But after an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the slow-moving highway out of the city, something along those lines is exactly what we find.
In the lush and bucolic countryside of the Siam country park, Wonderfruit is in it’s inaugural year and bringing a new flavour to the backpacker heartland of south-east Asia. Walking through the palm tree-lined entrance to the site, I feel like I could be walking on the manicured lawns of California’s upmarket Coachella festival. When we reach the festival’s main hub I get an overwhelming sense of familiarity. The festival’s pop-up structures and hay-bale seating recall the scenery of one of the UK’s many boutique festivals, which makes sense as Wonderfruit is a collaboration with Secret Productions, the people who previously ran Secret Garden Party and now run Wilderness, two of the festivals responsible for shifting the focus from lineup to overall experience in the UK.