Although Wanderland has been held at the same venue, Globe Circuit Grounds in Makati, for the past three years, it continues to evolve. This year’s edition is remarkably different.
Apart from its camp-inspired theme, the biggest surprise was the lineup. Kid Cudi was the first hip-hop artist to headline Wanderland, and Remix Artist Collective (RAC) the first pair of experimental DJ acts to perform on the main stage.
Dishing out a splendid mix of original tracks as well as Lana del Rey and Two Door Cinema Club hits, RAC put the crowd in a party mood.
Other foreign acts included Los Angeles-based Youngblood Hawke, Brisbane’s The Jungle Giants, American rock band Augustana, and British singer-songwriter Lewis Watson.
Watson’s “Stay” was a crowd favorite, while the highlight of Augustana’s set was the 2006 single “Boston.”
But the festival wouldn’t be complete without local talents. Wanderband 2015 winners Austin and The Strange Creatures opened the concert around noon, followed by female-fronted trio Sinyma, and then a set by Kate Torralba, who premiered the animated video for her song “Pictures.”
This year Wanderland added a second stage to showcase homegrown acts. This solved the problem of having dead air during equipment setup in between sets on the main stage.
One of the festival’s gems wasn’t on the main stage. BP Valenzuela’s set was apparently one of the most anticipated. Fans flocked to the smaller stage minutes before she went on.
It turned out that the young female artist already has a big following. Her songwriting talent was evident, and her charming disposition and good looks only added to her appeal.
Another surprise was the audience response to Hale’s set. Initially we could not reconcile the fact that the people who sang along to the band’s Tagalog songs would be the same ones to dance to RAC’s set later. But, as a friend pointed out, Hale’s hits were probably “childhood songs” the crowd grew up on.
Hale played two of its most popular songs, “Blue Sky” and “The Day You Said Goodnight.” When frontman Champ Lui Pio began strumming the opening chords to “Lost Stars” from the movie “Begin Again,” the audience cheered. Minutes into the song (originally sung by Adam Levine), the band segued into another Hale track, “Broken Sonnet.”
“See You,” a new song, was also performed. As a whole, the band’s set was satisfying, but there seemed to be something wrong with how the drum kit was miked-in.
From where I was seated, drummer Paolo Santiago was pounding the skins with much energy but I could barely hear the cymbals and the toms.
Nevertheless this was the only technical flaw I noticed throughout the whole festival; the sound system and technical staff were actually much better compared to last year’s.
Aside from the musical performances, Wanderland 2015 offered a range of activities in line with its camp-inspired theme, such as tug-o-war, archery, mechanical bull ride, and games courtesy of the event sponsors. There were also local visual artists who exhibited their work.
Food was no problem with the sufficient number of concessionaires, although a centralized token system required the hungry to fall in line to buy tokens and then fall in line again to buy food and refreshments.
Not surprisingly, music fans in Coachella-inspired outfits roamed the festival grounds. In fact, there seemed to be more of them this year—fashion-forward millennials in midriff-baring tops or sandos and shorts, and long flowing gypsy-inspired dresses were everywhere.
The middle-aged, indie and alternative rock music aficionados who attended previous Wanderland editions in plain shirts and jeans were nowhere in sight.
Wanderland 2015 was mounted to attract a primarily millennial audience that sees the festival not only as an opportunity to discover music, but also as a venue to enjoy its other attractions. Its organizers succeeded in drawing its target audience this year, but alienated an older group of concertgoers that would have bought tickets had there been at least one band to capture their attention.
Perhaps this is something worth considering for next year’s event.
Nonetheless, there is a wonderful insight from Wanderland 2015—that for a music festival to be successful, it need not cater to the same set of patrons year after year or be confined to one particular genre; it has to continuously evolve. The main reason for having a music festival, after all, is to discover and appreciate new music.
Wanderland Camp 2015 is a Music and Arts festival by Karpos Multimedia Inc., presented by Globe and Locally, copresented by Fox and Starworld.