Recap: Wanderland celebrates more than indie music

By Joko Magalong

Posted at May 22 2014 12:03 AM | Updated as of May 22 2014 07:08 PM

Festive atmosphere at Wanderland 2014. Photo by Flory Inoturan for

MANILA –Wanderland is shaping up as one of the much-awaited annual events for music-loving Filipinos.

The second instalment of the now-yearly indie music festival held at the Glove Circuit Event Grounds last Saturday proved to be even better than last year -- from the one-tier pricing concept that made it just a bit more festive, to the carousel that upped the “wanderland theme”; the clear and open layout of the event, to the styling of the graphics and artwork and even how the parking lot was organized.

A carousel was set up at the Circuit Event Grounds. Photo by Flory Inoturan for

Flower headdresses still abounded, with war bonnets were here and there, printed leggings, tie-dyed shirts and cropped tops. In short, youth was still the norm in this festival. Of course, one needed some “youthful” endurance as this event spanned almost 14 hours of music and activities.

And there were so many activities available. If you weren’t busy listening to the acts on the stage, you could roam around and watch live art like the bunny art by Anjo Bolardo. Sponsors like Globe Telecom and River Island had their own lounges and areas. There was still the Velcro wall from last year, as well as games such as Feed the Monster, and Balloon Pop, to name a few.

Artists also joined in the fun. Photo by Flory Inoturan for

The event also had several food trucks and stalls, selling both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and a wide selection of grub. Not that you would ever starve -- chips, River Island water and even Nestle ice cream were given out for free all throughout the day.

Local acts

The line-up this year was interesting as it featured a little bit for everyone’s taste from folk and ska to power pop and synth. Also represented were the indie local acts such as Brisom, The Ransom Collective, and Chocolate Grass -- products of the Wanderband search contest.

The chill-electro group Techy Romantics made the early wanderers dance with songs like “Out of my Mind” and “Run,” while the award-winning artist Franco rocked the stage with tracks from his “Soul Adventurer” album, like the summer anthem “Better Days.”

The Globe Wonderful All-Stars. Photo by Flory Inoturan for

As a special treat, we were treated to the Globe Wonderful All -Stars, a superband of Filipino artists featuring the likes of acoustic talent Enrique de Dios, who started the segment with a nice slow song “Alat,” followed by the Radioactive Sago Project with “Samboy” that goes “hipster” in certain parts and “Walang Basagan ng Trip,” which I found hilarious. They were then joined by Kat Agarrado from Sino Sikat, who sang some of her bands songs like “Musikero” and “Magic.”

Sarah Marco, the vocalist of one of last year’s Wanderland acts, Taken by Cars, came next, singing “December 2” and “Fast”. She was accompanied by the musical stylings of DJ extraordinaire, DJ Mars Miranda. The Wonderful All-stars ended with a medley that had the different nuances of OPM, showing why we have one of the richest pools of musical talent in the world.

"Technical glitches aside, it was a tough gig, but my bandmates are tougher, and it was an honor and absolute thrill to work with them,” De Dios said of the experience.

Foreign musicians

Australian Woody Pitney heard about Wanderland from other Aussie acts that graced the stage last year, and so he jumped at the opportunity to be part of the festival. His songs are reminiscent of acts such as Of Monsters and Men and Mumford and Sons, and his catchy tune, “You Can Stay” was well-received by the crowd.

Lucy Rose is an Englishwoman with a soulful voice and thoughtful songs that mixed perfectly with an unexpected light drizzle and a beautiful sunset. Tweets expressing admiration for her vocal talent, and a lot of “instant fanning” all around abounded in twitter, upon hearing her songs such as “Bikes” and “All I’ve got.”

She was followed by a band from Melbourne, The Paper Kites, an indie-folk group whose songs have hints of blues or the occasional synth, like “St Clarity,” “Youth” and the sweetly poetic “Bloom.”

It’s the Last Dinosaur’s second time here in the Philippines, and in Wanderland, they covered most of the songs from their album like “Honolulu,” “Andy” and “Weekend.” They also treated Filipino fans with a cover of the Strokes’ “What Ever Happened (Mary Antoinette),” which was followed by a new song called “Zero.” They ended with a rousing rendition of “Zoom.”

The Royal Concept takes the stage. Photo by Flory Inoturan for

The Royal Concept, a synth-pop dance powerhouse, made the crowd jump and shout with songs like “Busy Busy,” “Shut the World,” “Girls Girls Girls,” before ending with their chart-topping hit, “On Our Way” with the usual Filipino sing-along much to the delight of vocalist, David Larson.

Thankfully, they were followed by Architecture in Helsinki with five albums to their name. They showed remarkable showmanship, singing songs with ‘80s influences like “That Beat,” “Escapee,” “Contact High” and “Dream a Little Crazy” from their new album. Costumed in yellow and other happy colors, the pop group won the crowd over with choreographed moves, infectious vocalists and musicians, with the drummer at one point going around mikes on the stage and saying “Manila” to the delight of the crowd.

It was already around 1 a.m. when The Drums from New York took the stage. With a solid performance featuring the wonderful almost effortless vocals by Jonathan Pierce, their catchy songs that sound vintage and new at the same time propelled the group to headliner status at this year’s festival.

The Drums closed the show. Photo by Flory Inoturan for

The Drums performed songs from their three albums, such as “What You Were,” “Book of Stories,” the much-requested “Days” and the sing-along favorite “Let’s Go Surfing,” which had a dash of the Beach Boys’ flair. The band thanked Manila for their warmth, and professed their love for our mangoes before agreeing to do an encore with “Down by the Water” much to the delight of the still-pumped early morning crowd.

With a day -- and night -- filled with art, fun and a lot of good music, Wanderland promises to be even bigger and better next year. See you in Wanderland 2015!

Wanderland Music & Arts Festival 2014 was organized by Karpos Multimedia, Inc.