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To festival-goers around the world, Wonderfruit is no stranger. Held on the 15-18 December in Thailand, the event has returned for the first time since the pandemic. Ask your friends who went, and you’ll be sure to get a gratifying response. After all, what makes Wonderfruit’s name – sweet and awe-inspiring – stand true?
Wonderfruit started with a simple vision in 2014 – deepening our relationship with mind and nature. Jason Swamy, Wonderfruit’s creative director and the co-founder of music collective Robot Heart, speaks about this connectivity in an interview with EQ: the festival encourages “globalised, multicultural, and more mindful acceptances of perspectives and values of the world today.” In this iteration of EQ Classroom, we wanted to peel behind the curtains and reveal what makes Wonderfruit such a success story.
Wonderfruit’s ethos anchors the brand through its every iteration. Now in its seventh year, the festival has made building meaningful relationships its central mission. Knowing that its audience mainly consists of city dwellers, Wonderfruit emphasises depth and longevity – something that gets lost in the quick pace of metropolitan life.
This mission is bolstered and expanded through a diverse, dazzling range of experiences. From lofty bamboo pavilions, to nature-inspired sound art installations, to wellness oases, Wonderfruit builds multiple realms in which life-long memories may be formed. In the Living Village, experimental artists, such as the exploratory label Erased Tapes, design sonic adventures for deep listening. On a walk path designed by architect Boonserm Premthada, you may switch your attention from sounds to landscapes and ponder deeply while meandering. At Wonder Kitchen, local chefs present their respective culinary traditions, allowing you to learn about the history behind each bite. From day to night, Wonderfruit guarantees a feeling of wholeness.
In the beginning, the festival intended sustainability but only scratched the surface–there was an organic farm that provided some crops to food stalls, and a filtration system for water refill. Fast forward eight years to 2022, Wonderfruit has not only been certified as a carbon neutral event, it has also begun building a 10,000-square-metre ancestral forest.
The incredible growth of the festival’s commitment to sustainability reveals something deeper at work. Fostering a harmony between the environment and raving, Wonderfruit not only minimises the event’s environmental impact, but restores an enduring joy that heals both our inner and outer worlds – one without the other. Stepping into specially-designed structures that are reusable and recyclable, you are immediately immersed in a vast, yet, interwoven web of sensations that remind you of the nurturing greens of the wilderness, the warm embrace of trees, and the calming vibrations of water.
Together, the forest and structures provide spaces for people to gather and engage in workshops. Sustainability at Wonderfruit doesn’t only demonstrate creative ways to combine fun and the environment, it also fosters genuine connections – within yourself, with the planet, and with others around you.
Although even more layered and expansive, Wonderfruit has drawn parallels to Black Rock Desert’s Burning Man for a reason – the human ritual. The opening ceremony of Wonderfruit is emblematic not only because it blesses the start of the festival, but because it addresses a primordial human need that doubles as the festival’s axis-mundi – the desire to belong to a place, to one another, to a greater purpose. Combining gong bath performances, drum circles, sacred dancing, and various healing practices, the annual tradition opens you up to unforgettable spiritual connections with others and your surroundings.
The festival’s ability to transform itself into something far beyond a music festival – a gathering place, a growing forest, a hearth of connectivity – is what draws its audience back, year and year again, with more friends tagging along each time. In a world where speed means success, Wonderfruit is a rarity amongst its peers, promising a lasting and ever-flourishing impact.