Arts & Entertainment

In Photos: Wanderland 2019 was the Best Wanderland Yet

The annual indie music festival was bigger and better this year
IMAGE Jasrelle Serrano
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This year’s edition of Wanderland Music and Arts festival felt like the culmination of all the others that came before it. The seventh go-around of the country’s biggest indie music festival ran like clockwork, included some pretty neat side features, and, of course, put the spotlight on some amazing musical acts. 

If you’ve been a regular “Wanderer” like me, you can tell how the festival has improved so much since it was started by events company Karpos Multimedia in 2013. There were some growing pains that the organizers had to go through in previous years in order to deliver what is now a truly world-class festival both for music fans and artists alike.

Security was extra tight this year, ensuring the safety of all the attendees; there were more food choices that catered to varying tastes; and even the sponsors’ booths included interesting offerings for people who felt like taking a break from the action onstage. The venue was packed but it never felt constricting—there was enough space to accommodate everyone, whether they wanted to rock out near the stages or take a break by walking around the Filinvest concert grounds. 

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I appreciated the efforts of the organizers to come up with a theme and stick to it not just in the event announcements, but in most every other aspect of the entire production. This year’s theme, Wanderland Magic, even included a separate venue for scheduled magic shows as well as roving magicians that performed tricks for people walking around. My friends and I had the pleasure of meeting V (yes, that was his name), who performed a card trick for us that could’ve rivaled David Blaine's act.

Wanderland highlights

But people were there primarily for the music, and this year’s lineup delivered. Reese Lansangan and Unique drew crowds even though the blazing sun had yet to set, which is a pretty big deal considering how hot it was last weekend. Charlie Lim made his big stage debut in Manila, and judging by the crowd response, the Singaporean artist picked up not a few new Filipino fans.

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It was the same for American group Joan, who channeled The 1975 and previous Wanderland artist LANY in their well-received set. Indie powerhouse songstress Gabrielle Aplin, firecracker electronic artist SG Lewis, magnetic duo Honne (who were in Manila for the third time, including a Wanderland set two years ago), and headline act Two Door Cinema Club all managed to captivate audiences and were my favorites from Day 1.

It was much the same the next day, with people trickling in as soon as gates opened at 2 p.m. I caught Clara Benin’s Wanderland debut, which people seemed to appreciate. I wasn’t familiar with Korean psychedelic group Adoy and American neo-soul act Mac Ayres, but they were the perfect backdrop to a laidback Sunday afternoon. Local rock heroes Sandwich kicked things up a notch with an explosive set that included almost all of their biggest hits.

Members of the UK band Prep hung out and posed for pictures with fans by the Star Wanderer lounge before taking the stage later that evening. Alina Baraz and Masego clearly earned the love of the Wanderland crowd, but it was UK indie veterans The Kooks that delivered some of the biggest and loudest cheers of the night.

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Wanderland did right by spacing the acts out over two days, maximizing the space and resources avaialble to them, and introducing new features that only improved the festival-going experience for music-loving Pinoys. I think I even saw more foreigners this year than in previous editions, which is an encouraging sign that the Philippines now has a credible music festival that can attract audiences not just here but from other countries as well. 

Check out photo highlights of the first-ever two-day edition of Wanderland below:

Early birds at Wanderland 2019

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Live painting session

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IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Magicians walked around showing off their tricks

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Wanderers at Wanderland

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IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

There were more choices for food and drinks

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Of course, there were plenty of places to take photos for the 'gram

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IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Gabrielle Aplin

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Mac Ayres

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Mac Ayres IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Two Door Cinema Club's Alex Trimble

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

The crowd during Two Door Cinema Club's set

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IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Masego

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Alina Baraz

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IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

Sandwich's Raimund Marasigan

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

The Kooks

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IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano

See you next year for Wanderland 2020

IMAGE: Jasrelle Serrano
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About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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