This year’s Wonderfruit Festival goes carbon neutral
Postponed from December of last year, the highly–anticipated Wonderfruit festival is now set to take place from February 16th to 19th—making it a perfect long weekend getaway. This will be the third staging of the event—a smorgasbord of music, art, workshops, talks, family activities, and food—and it will take over The Fields at the Siam Country Club (located about 15 km outside of downtown Pattaya) for four consecutive days. In addition to all the hipster-approved food and fun, the festival has also garnered a reputation of being an eco-conscious event and this year it takes its efforts further by pledging to fully offset its carbon footprint.
Since its beginning, in 2014, the Wonderfruit organizers have set the long-term goal to positively impact society by introducing various sustainable initiatives. “What makes us distinct in terms of our organizational structure is that sustainability was our starting point and then the fun and activities were curated around that,” explained festival founder Pranitan ‘Pete’ Phornprapha in a recent interview. Some of these efforts from the past years include the use of biodegradable, reusable water bottles on site, structures and stages created with natural and recyclable materials such as bamboo, and the implementation of the site’s own water filtration system, which is pumped from a natural lake. Helping the cause is also the fact that the festival grounds are owned by the Wonderfruit team, thus enabling them to care for it all year round, and cultivate plants and trees.
In addition to all these initiatives—which have already set Wonderfruit far apart from many other music festivals in terms of waste disposal—the organizers decided to go one more step and tackle the problem of carbon emissions with their “net positive pledge”. By investing in carbon sequestering ecosystems, they try to offset the festival’s carbon footprint, which is increased by factors that vary from guest artists flying in, to the electricity used on site.
As compensation the organizers support the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Indonesia, which protects nearly 65,000 hectares of peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan on Borneo Island. It is also Indonesia’s largest private orangutan sanctuary, and the money earned by the project helps livelihood programmes in surrounding villages, providing employment, training, and hope for the future.
The second initiative supports the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park, aiming to restore 500,000 hectares of critically depleted mangrove forests in Myanmar. Just one mangrove tree can mitigate up to a tonne of CO2 over its lifetime, and these miracle plants are at the frontline of climate change by acting as a shield to local communities.
Both investments will be handled by the blockchain startup Lykke, a marketplace for natural capital investments. Through digital tokens such as the Heyerdahl Mangrove Coin (HMC)—similar to Bitcoin but backed by trees—it’s possible for anyone to invest in natural capital. Each HMC represents the planting of a new mangrove seedling, and will entitle the owner to a share of future carbon credits across the entire project, which will offset the carbon footprint and be climate net positive. In addition, festival goers can further support this cause by investing in HMC through the Lykke Wallet app or by purchasing a special “green” drink at the bar. Priced at one dollar more than other items, the proceeds will go directly to the climate park, where another mangrove tree will be planted.
In addition, the festival content has also been designed in line with this ethos, ranging from structures such as the brand-new multi-purpose Farm Stage—made entirely of harvested rice—and Solar Stage, to ‘Scratch Talks’, focussing on eco-heroes, and art installations reflecting environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. This doesn’t mean, however, that the programme is lacking any fun. On the contrary, it offers a diverse line up of international artists. Headliners include US indie pop band Buke & Gase, London based drum and bass group Rudimental, English electropop singer-songwriter Shura, Scottish hip hop artists Young Fathers, and Thai indie band Yena.
Meanwhile, the event once again promises to be a foodies’ haven, with its farm-to-feast programmes which range from workshops and activities such as rice farming, to a variety of delicious offerings and tasty street food across the field—including setups by Peppina, Rocketfruit, Marcel, and Straight Outta Thonglor (to name a few). In addition, gourmands also have the opportunity to taste unique culinary creations prepared by renowned chefs at the festival’s delectable Wonder Feasts. Expect a daytime banquet by Chef Jeriko Van Der Wolf of Cocotte, celebrating fresh, organic, and seasonal produce, a reggae brunch by Chefs Paolo Vitaletti and Jarrett Wrisley from Appia and Soul Food Mahanakorn restaurants, and a dinner curated by Chefs Khanaporn ‘Oom’ Janjirdsak and Panupon ‘Black’ Bulsuwan from F.A.C.T. Collective, which takes diners on a journey of the flavours of northern and southern Thai cuisine. In addition, returning for the second time this year is Gaggan Anand with his progressive Indian cuisine. This time he’ll be joined by friends, including Chef Daniel Chavez of Ola in Singapore.
Other highlights on offer at the festival include yoga, Muay Thai, flower workshops, fashion and design areas, and special family adventures. Four-day passes are priced at B5,500 in advance, and B6,000 at the door, and visitors also have the option of between staying in their own tent or RV, or at any of the boutique tents or off-site partner hotels. To find out more about accommodation, transportation, and to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.wonderfruitfestival.com