Wanderland Heralds Summer
March 5, 2016 – This year, Wanderland marks its 4th year as it blasted off to space, heralding summer with a vibrant lineup.
Headlining the festival this year are Death Cab for Cutie and Bon Iver – two names that had many (if not most) people hooked immediately. Add to that: New Zealand-based The Naked and Famous, local DJ/producer CRWN and Jess Connelly, Australian indie pop band San Cisco and local wonders Cheats and Oh Flamingo. Well, this year’s Wanderland was bound to be different.
To put it simply, the whole festival was a blast. The bands in the lineup proved to be engaging. Local acts such as Wanderband winner Oh Flamingo, soul/RnB band Jensen and the Flips and Cheats were excellent crowd-starters. Also making their mark onstage were the catchy indie pop waves of San Cisco, the enigmatic yet classy beats of CRWN and Jess Connelly, and the groovy tunes of Panama and The Naked and Famous.
In between sets in the main stage, Globe Satellite stage featured performances from DJs Commandeur, Curtismith, Chad Valley, and Blackbird Blackbird. A good number of people also hung out there to dance and shake away the space during the intervals.
Everything changed when Bon Iver took the stage. People who were initially scattered across the field culminated into an ocean filled to the brim; and as cheesy as it might sound, the brim spilled with feelings. Justin Vernon’s musical brainchild of fusing folk with baroque/orchestral elements proved to be both an exhilarating and cathartic extravaganza live. It was truly the only one of its kind. Bon Iver was joined by the folk rock trio The Staves who infused a cosmic vibe to the performance. “Perth” “Blindsided”, “Michicant” and “Holocene” were some of the tracks that became the soundtracks of the evening. If that isn’t enough there’s also Justin Vernon’s cathartic rendition of “Woods” on loop pedal, and “Skinny Love” on acoustic guitars.
DCFC took the crowd into another whirlwind spin as they played through staple favorites such as “The New Year”, “I Will Possess Your Heart” and “What Sarah Said”. It was a marvel to hear people pouring their hearts out into singing (with occasional quakes in their voices and some sniffles) track per track. Amazingly, the crowd’s energy was still palpable even when the band started playing at midnight. By the time “Transatlanticism” played, everyone knew that the curtains would soon close. As if to hang on to the moment, wanderers drifted off to the song, waving their hands in the air and enunciating every word with all the feelings they can muster. It was intense and sweet at the same time which was just about the perfect ending.
If you were part of the mosh pit, you’ll notice that the established chill vibe Wanderland transformed into a constant hype and festival-like feel with wanderers dashing to the mosh pit to get the best view. Those who flagged their space stations on the grassy field had to stand up to keep up with the constant energy in the crowd–standing, dancing jumping to the music.
There were people everywhere–once the musicians started on the main stage, you’d see people flocking to the front; even those who normally watch seated from their banigs would have to stand to see the view. Lines for food, RFID loading, drinks–everywhere–were long. At one point, it was at a standstill. That’s how many people there were.
If you looked to your left or right, you’d see people at shoulder’s length. At Bon Iver’s set, you could spot people crying. Maybe even you yourself would be a bucket of tears. And by the time Death Cab for Cutie took the stage, well, you would be an emotional live wire.
Wanderland has established itself as the country’s annual pilgrimage for fans of the indie sound—a celebration of amalgams of folk, pop, rock, electronica, dance, RnB, and everything in between. By its fourth iteration, Filipino music fans can clearly identify Wanderland as one of the pillars of music festivals in the Philippines that offer distinct sounds and experiences in a massive scale, along with Pulp Summer Slam, Bazooka Rocks, and Malasimbo.
Another thing to watch out with the Philippine music festival scene is how they attempt to innovate the way they provide experiences for the concertgoers. Similar to Goodvybes Fest, they tried out new payment systems for the food stalls, integrated with the wristbands that go along the ticket purchase.
What I love about music festivals is that the line ups offer discoveries for new fans, surprises in the live performances, and reinforcement of fandoms. Particularly for Wanderland, I love the way they feature local talent at par with the foreign acts (shout out to Oh, Flamingo!). For this year, I’m a new fan of CRWN and Jess Connelly, as they swept the festival grounds with the beats made of the coolest of breezes.
Having said Wanderland to be a pilgrimage, watching Bon Iver perform live turned out to be a religious experience. As I was expecting to be awed by Justin Vernon and company’s performance, I was surprised by how my expectations were actually low in hindsight, considering the pomp and robustness that transpired on stage that night was beyond imagination. It was only after scooping up my brains post-Bon Iver that I realize Death Cab For Cutie was still up next. DCFC was a the icing-covered cherry on the cake that was Wanderland 2016, and being the middle of the crowd allowed me to see both old and new fans eating their hearts out, regardless of joy or nostalgia, present in the band’s 2012 similarly outstanding performance or not.
After the sparkly dust of Wanderland 2016 settled, the only question that needs to be answered is how Karpos will top this year with their 2017 offering.
View more Wanderland 2016 Photos at Wanderland Festival 2016 Photo Gallery
Special Thanks to Karpos Multimedia
Written by Sandra Laureano, Izzy Matias and Peter Tolibas
Photos by Carla Barretto