It’s easy to fool yourself into believing that when you’ve been to one Wanderland, you’ve been to it all. After all, the pre-summer welcome wagon has been a true constant over the years: they have found and grown their own following, finally settled in a nest in the south, and continuously changed long-time and new Wanderer's lives.
But just when we thought Karpos Multimedia have played all their cards, they proved to have a couple more tricks up their sleeve. Witnessing Wanderland Magic unfold right before our eyes at the Filinvest Event Grounds, we dove head on to a weekend filled with all sorts of goodies in Karpos' bag of surprises.
Yes, a weekend — March 9 and 10, 2019. For the first time ever, we had not one, but two days of exciting activities, astonishing art, and wickedly good music. It’s very interesting to note, too, how different those two days were. It's as if you were magically transported into a different event, even if it looked exactly the same. Each day was set with varying expectations and experiences. The mood, vibe, and crowd on Day 1 is reminiscent of the older and humble beginnings of Wanderland, while Day 2 showcased similarities to last year's festival.
We tinker with our time machine and rewind to the highs and lows of this enchanting version of Wanderland:
Treats in all forms, shapes, and flavors
The best part about this year’s Wanderland is the abundance of treats not just of the ears, but also for the eyes and the tongue. There was no space left that wasn’t made artistic or creative at the venue. The activities kept everyone bustling and moving around. The (literal and figurative) platform given to the Wanderartists to express their own brand of magic was very eye-catching. If there is one thing that was proven true this year, it is that Wanderland is truly a music and arts festival.
Great music should always be paired with delicious food. This year’s selection of food and beverage choices was a step closer to our own definition of heaven on the first sip or bite – even for people with dietary restrictions! There were concessionaires that offered pescatarian, and vegan-friendly dishes. Also, there was a smorgasbord of local favorites such as bigger-than-palm-sized cookies, pork belly sisig with crab fat rice, and even fish or squid balls and taho.
United with Mother Earth
The effort to promote sustainability was evident this year with Karpos. Every drink station served beverages in reusable tumblers. They’ve also collaborated with Klean Kanteen to set up water refill stations at every corner of the venue and release a captivating collecting of cups and insulated tumblers. Other event partners gave freebies (tote bags, shirts, mats, etc.) for attendees who collected a certain number of beer cups and returned these to their staff.
Entranced by the spirit of music
From teleporting sought-after artists to perform in the Philippines to presenting fresh faces from the music scene, it is safe to say the organizers are well-skilled mind readers. They knew exactly which musicians we wanted to see and how these can perfectly fit the bill of this music and arts festival.
It was a dance party from the afternoon until the evening. Joan prepared a set that transformed the event grounds into a large dance floor and karaoke. On another stage, we were enthralled by Honne’s set, proving that you can never have enough of a good time.
As these artists extended more than their stage, Masego shared more than his own music. He threw roses to the crowd, created an improvised performance with only two syllables, and garnered everyone’s participation as he showed how exciting it was to simply drink water.
Acts that have been worth the wait
It’s always a high at Wanderland when you see your favorite band perform live — and bump into them at the festival grounds! Fans of PREP are witness to this as they not only had the chance to see the groovy ensemble perform again, but also take a photo or two with them as they toured around the snack area after their set.
Two Door Cinema Club braced us for a performance that was beyond what we expected: 19 songs in an hour and a half; and tracks from well-loved albums such as Beacon and Tourist History. Long-time fans also shared how they’ve waited, albeit 10 years on an average, for this magical encounter to finally happen.
Turning our tired feet into illusions just so we could dance more, The Kooks gave us a reason to love how we move in our own ways. They showed how dancing in a crowd of strangers could be as sweet as the first step we make to an unforgettable moment in our lives. With ‘All The Time,’ ‘Seaside,’ and ‘Naïve’ in their setlist, we found comfort and solace within ourselves.
Mystical local and regional sound
Karpos played their cards right when they added Sandwich to the lineup. Raymund Marasigan mentioned the late Pepe Smith and paid tribute to him with ‘Betamax.’ As the whole set was fueled with energy and head-banging tunes, everyone belted out the words to ‘Sunburn’ and ‘Selos.’ They capped their performance with ‘Two Trick Pony’ and a surprise dance number with Cheats's Enzo Hermosa and Chicosci's Eco Del Rio.
Homegrown acts had the crowd swaying and singing to every lyric. Unique’s performance of ‘OZONE’ which brought fans to their feet as they grooved and sang word after word. Clara Benin left the crowd in a sea of calm with ‘Human Eyes’ and ‘Parallel Universe.’
But word on the street is that both attendees and musicians thoroughly enjoyed this year’s roster of regional acts. The wistful words and melodies of Charlie Lim (SG) and the dreamy tunes of ADOY (KR) had Wanderers so captivated, they took these artists from the Wanderland stage and into their playlists.
So, encore for regional acts!
And we definitely want more! While we very much enjoyed the lineup for this year’s festival, we still look forward to music closer to home. Here’s to hoping we’d have more Asian acts on the Wanderland 2020 poster.
Secrets in the shadows
A true magician never reveals his secrets, but what happens if he doesn’t have enough light or juice to show his best tricks? Throughout the festival weekend, some technical difficulties were encountered. There were a few audio issues that affected some sets. Thankfully, in spite of these events, the show still went on - with almost seamless transitions between performances.
Missing spell sheets?
With the numerous on-site activities, it was easy to be trapped in a spell of some sort. Many of these events had clear schedules on the map, so you could set which experiences you can check out when you're not watching the musical performances.
However, there were activities, like fortune telling and tarot card reading sessions, that needed schedules too so the readers could be given certain times to take their breaks. Also, this is so people could know when to come back to the booths and queue.
Incantation to rid trash...ers
We truly appreciate the thought and effort that the event organizers put in proper waste disposal, and it would have been effective, too...if we all just minded the enormous space designated for trash. It seems like there was an invisibility cloak on the countless trash cans and designated segregation bins at the event because there were still some who chose to litter at the event grounds!
Wanderers, hear us out: we don’t need people to clean after us. Our responsibility to maintain our surroundings go beyond the festival. Hopefully, that’s a takeaway we all remember until the next Wanderland.
Check out more snaps from Wanderland: Magic: