Wonderfruit: Thailand’s Celebration of Sustainable Partying

What a Wonderfuit World

What could be more grotesque in 2017 than the wasteful excess of mountains of plastic party trash? From small, boutique vendors to Bonnaroo, environmental sustainability has become an important part of any good festival promoter’s program. However, there’s a big difference between vague greenwashing gestures and creating a climate-positive impact that can be measured and certified. Wonderfruit Festival, now in its fourth iteration, is Thailand’s answer to California’s alternative festival scene, and it’s making positive waves for a country with serious environmental concerns.

As a destination for celebration, Thailand is most famous for the debaucherous Full Moon Party, a global frat boy gathering that trashes the beaches of sunny Koh Phangan. The depressing, polluted shores of Haad Rin represent the worst of Thai tourism. Ironically, tourist development has devastated the country’s coastal mangrove trees so much that it may lead to the loss of the very beaches that attract those visitors. Thailand’s Deputy Transport Minister fears that Thailand’s pristine beaches could be lost to soil erosion within the next decade. Like other newly industrialized countries, Thailand’s rapid economic growth has come with a host of environmental challenges.

Festival culture has been satirized for the mentality that Millennials can “change the world one party at a time,” but Wonderfruit shows that it’s possible to create a climate-positive event that inspires meaningful behavioral change — even in a developing country like Thailand.