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Wonderfruit, the hip new festival in Thailand (Dec 17-20) that's been creating a buzz among creatives and music lovers, has just announced an exciting entertainment lineup headlined by Mos Def, Rhye, Lucent Dossier Experience, and Chris Levine.
But behind the festival frivolity and chic boutique camping experience is a very real, and authentic, reminder that the environment needs more from us - and the organisers are listening.
We caught up with Pranitan “Pete” Phornprapha, the founder of Wonderfruit Festival, about his motivations, his plans to become self-sustaining in five years, and how it’s not just an event but a social movement.
Hi, Pete! Tell us about why you started Wonderfruit?
My father inspired me through an environmental project he was working on 25 years ago. It was groundbreaking, especially for the time, but I didn’t really enjoy it, so I thought if we can merge fun with social responsibility, people would be tuned in.
We know there are a lot, but what are the top 3 concerns you have now about the state of our environment?
I can sum it in one: people’s lack of concern.
How do you think we as a society might be able to change the environment’s course of direction?
We are an ecosystem that lives off one another. We must be mindful of each other’s existence, and not just for the good of the environment, but for our happiness.
What is the link between the festival and eco-consciousness?
We firmly believe that sustainability is an adventure and that being responsible and having fun can go hand in hand. Wonderfruit is, in fact, our platform to demonstrate this belief, to show that enjoying food and music and the arts - all of which are fun, relatable activities - can be done in a mindful, conscious way. It is about embracing these expressions, and even after the 4-day event, initiating real, irreversible behavior changes that have a positive impact on society.
What are some eco-friendly practices you have in place at the festival?
In these first two years we’ve started with a few basic initiatives during the festival including making biodegradable, reusable water bottles available for all guests on site and insisting our food vendors use recyclable plates. We have a water filtration system, pumped from a natural lake, which is used throughout the site. We have compost workshops and use only natural or recyclable materials in our structures.
You want the festival to be self sustainable in 5 years. How do you plan to achieve this?
Since we own the land, we can take on more initiatives. We don’t rely on external water sources, we have a farm on site that is being expanded and we’ve started targeted landscaping so that we can use our plants and trees. We hope Wonderfruit will be the catalyst that can set in motion mindfulness, a social movement.
Tell us about the organic farm. What do you grow there? How is it maintained?
The farm is in the middle of the site and and we are working with Thailand Young Farmers to develop it. The farm serves a double purpose: first, to have crops that can be used in our feasts, and second, to serve as an inspirational learning activity to bring back the glory of being a farmer. The crops include asparagus, mushrooms, mulberries, salad leaves, herbs, pumpkins and melons.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Wonderfruit?
I’m looking forward to enjoying it, but it’s a bit hard when you’re the organizer!
From December 17-20, 2015 in The Fields at Siam Country, just 150 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, Wonderfruit presents not only an unforgettable party but a transformative experience, rooted in an ethos of social responsibility.
Tickets begin at US$160 (THB5,500 or £100) and boutique and RV camping and hotel packages are also available. Ecozine readers can use code WFECZPM15 for a 15% discount on any ticket type.
Visit www.wonderfruitfestival.com for more information, or check out this sick video from last year's festival!