We look back on seven years of Wanderland

We look back on seven years of Wanderland

The beginnings, trials and successes of what has become the country’s most popular music festival.

Looking at how far Wanderland has come in its seven years of existence, it is hard to look at the music festival without considering the notion that it evolved and developed alongside the rest of the local music scene. Wanderland as an institution was responsible for crystallizing the then hazy concept of “indie,” what with the proliferation of flower crowns and lomo cams, and the creation of a new big show for homegrown bands of the indie variety to perform in. In fact, the biggest acts of our time would take flight in the gig circuit then come home to roost in the famed Karpos show. As far back as 2013 and until now, Wanderland continues to be a kind of barometer for what’s cool and fun about the local music scene.

This coming Wanderland will be the seventh in the concert series, and in the spirit of lucky numbers and good music, we’re celebrating with a timeline. We’re looking back at Wanderland (and by extension, Karpos’) high moments and highlights.

January 2013

The idea for Wanderland is born from the flickers of idle daydreaming. Stephanie Uy had recently graduated college, and she and her siblings John and Nicole were just hanging out in John’s bedroom when they suddenly thought, “Why don’t we have a music festival the same as the ones abroad?” Planning started immediately. “All of this without prior knowledge about mounting a festival. We started preparing everything – from branding, bands to tap, venues, possible suppliers and partners, and whatnot,” Stephie says. “We presented the whole idea to our dad. At first, he was hesitant because it involves a lot of money and a lot of risk but thankfully, he agreed and supported us throughout the whole process.” It would take a month to form the rest of the team.

The first-ever Wanderland featured Neon Trees and Up Dharma Down

May 2013

Karpos held its first Wanderland at Circuit Makati with headliners Neon Trees, Nada Surf, and The Temper Trap. Local bands in the lineup included She’s Only Sixteen and Up Dharma Down. To get an idea of how long ago this was, this year after UDD released “Capacities,” and… many years before SOS released their first full-length. The number of attendees at Wanderland’s first big show? 5,400.  On a completely unrelated note, 2013 saw the release of two albums that seemed to irreversibly shift the indie landscape: “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk, and “AM” by Arctic Monkeys. The movie Frozen was also released that year. Time flies.

September 2013

Shortly after the first Wanderland, it was Stephie’s dad who pitched the idea of holding a Wanderbattle, and Karpos has been doing it ever since. So in September, Karpos released promos calling for promising local bands to audition and get a chance to perform for Wanderland 2014. Competitors included: Ourselves the Elves, Brisom, Chocolate Grass, and of course the winner, The Ransom Collective, back when the act was still known by the name of its frontman and founding member, Kian Ransom.

Wanderland 2014 is a full-blown carnival

May 2014

Wanderland returns in full force with a carnival theme, this time at the Globe Circuit Events Grounds. This year’s headliners were The Drums, The Paper Kites, The Royal Concept, Architecture in Helsinki, Lucy Rose, and Last Dinosaurs. This was also the first Wanderland to showcase live artists as part of its itinerary. When asked when Wanderland decided that it would include live art in its shows, Stephie says, “Since the very start!” After the success of the first show, the team just decided to step it up, and make live art an annual thing. Big year!

Wanderland 2015 included hiphop and electronic acts in the lineup for the first time

April 2015

It seemed that Karpos began expanding their genre repertoire this year to accommodate hip-hop and electronic acts in their lineup, what with the inclusion of Kid Cudi and RAC as international headliners, alongside Augustana and The Jungle Giants. Fun fact: this would be BP Valenzuela’s first Wanderland gig, taking place after the release of her first album “The Neon Hour.”

Bon Iver and Death Cab for Cutie headlined Wanderland 2016

May 2016

A bit of a landmark year. The show switched Wanderland got Bon Iver and Death Cab for Cutie to play. By this time, both CRWN and Jess Connelly had established themselves as prominent acts in hip-hop/electronic circles. Oh, Flamingo!’s participation in this show’s Wanderbattle coincided with the release of their self-titled EP. The band would go on to play the show as the crowned Wanderband of that year.

Temper Trap returns for Wanderland 2017

March 2017

Get a load of this, okay. The Temper Trap comes back. The Ting Tings and Explosions in the Sky join them as headliners. Yuna’s here. Purity Ring’s here. Both LANY and Honne are here! LANY wouldn’t even go on to release their first studio album until June. Banna Harbera plays as this year’s Wanderband. On top of switching turfs this year to Filinvest City Event Grounds, Karpos really welcomed us to the jungle with this one.

Daniel Caesar’s Wanderland 2017 performance gave birth to a whole lot of fans

March 2018

I swear, after this concert, that was when everybody started getting into Daniel Caesar. The Canadian singer-songwriter shared the stage with Jhene Aiko, Kodaline, FKJ, Lauv, and Bag Raiders. This would also be IV of Spades’ first Wanderland, coming in a year after the release of Hey Barbara. The band went through… a lot since then. And by this point, Wanderland has grown into a veritable giant among music festivals. According to Stephie, the number of Wanderers in attendance hit the milestone of 11,000.

February 2019

A big month for former Wanderbands, actually. The Ransom Collective signed on to Mustard, Universal Records’ sublabel for homegrown talent. Banna Harbera launched their first full-length album, “Kept In Mind.”

March 2019

For the first time ever, Wanderland will take place over the course of two days. March 9 will begin with this year’s Wanderband, Intertwined, followed by mainstay Reese Lansangan, plus of course international acts Joan, Gabrielle Aplin, SG Lewis, HONNE, JMSN, and Two Door Cinema Club. Honestly, the inclusion of Two Door here makes it feel like 2013 again. On the second day, we’ll see Wanderband runner-up Nathan & Mercury, plus international acts Mac Ayres, Clairo, PREP, Alina Baraz, Masego, and The Kooks. Later this year, Frozen 2 will come out. Time flies. We’ve come a really long way.

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