music festivals

Wanderland 2024: A true neighborhood of good music, people, and art

Juno Reyes

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Wanderland 2024: A true neighborhood of good music, people, and art

Rob Reyes/Rappler

One thing's for sure: the presence of art, live music, fun times, and fun-loving attendees at Wanderland all prove why the festival is dubbed the 'Home of Good Music and Good People'

MANILA, Philippines – Since 2013, Wanderland has been gathering festival-goers, artists, and local and international musicians on the Filinvest Events Grounds in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, for a weekend of pure fun driven by art and music. Organized annually by Karpos Multimedia, the two-day event has rightfully established itself as the country’s premier music and arts festival.

Last year’s Wanderland was nothing short of a grand comeback, with Canadian pop superstar Carly Rae Jepsen and famed indie band Phoenix standing as its headliners. 

Heading into Wanderland 2024, then, it was apparent that Karpos had big shoes to fill for the music and arts festival’s 9th edition. But getting to experience the festival in all its glory made it clear that the organizers did just that. 

It’s not Wanderland without good music

Wanderland 2024 boasted a cohesive lineup of local and international acts from every genre you could think of – rock, pop, jazz, R&B, soul, hip-hop, and more. The festival even managed to score surf rock musician Jack Johnson and bass legend Thundercat as headliners for Day 1 and Day 2, respectively. 

Concert, Crowd, Person
SURF ROCK VETERAN. Jack Johnson headlines Day 1 of Wanderland 2024. Rob Reyes/Rappler
‘DRAGONBALL DURAG.’ Bass legend Thundercat performs “Dragonball Durag” in honor of late Dragon Ball Z creator Akira Toriyama. Rob Reyes/Rappler

The 2024 edition of the festival was a remarkable one – not just for the attendees, but also for the homegrown acts who had finally gotten the chance to shine onstage and live out their biggest dreams for the first time. 

Day 1 of the festival saw local pop-rock band Lola Amour take the Wanderland stage again after six years. The eight-piece collective first performed at Wanderland in 2017 after winning the Wanderband competition – so getting to play at the festival again was a full-circle moment for them. Lola Amour’s former saxophone player Joxx even reunited onstage with the band after two years. 

SHOW-STOPPING PERFORMANCE. OPM band Lola Amour puts on a show-stopping performance at Wanderland 2024. Rob Reyes/Rappler

“I’ve been attending Wanderland since 2015, so it feels so nice to be invited. It’s just a really good event for the vibes and for the music. Super nice feeling. We’re all from the south so it feels nice that we’re all in our home court,” the band’s guitarist Zoe told Rappler. 

PEACE! The members of OPM band Lola Amour throw up peace signs during an interview with Rappler before Wanderland. Rob Reyes/Rappler

It’s the same for Paolo Sandejas, who had once thought Wanderland was merely a faraway ambition that wouldn’t go any further than that. 

“It still feels really surreal. Ever since I started making music, Wanderland has always been this unattainable dream. Like, ‘Oh, maybe one day I can play Wanderland and be on the stage with all my favorite artists.’ And now it’s happening,” he told Rappler before his set. 

HYPE. Paolo Sandejas makes a lively Wanderland debut. Rob Reyes/Rappler

Sandejas had kicked off his Wanderland debut with a bang – quite literally running onstage to open his performance with “Liquid Courage.” The south-based singer-songwriter was all smiles throughout his 30-minute set as he performed fan-favorite hits like “BLOOM,” “Different Shade of Blue,” and even the BTS V-approved “Sorry.” 

Wanderland 2024 also served as somewhat of a homecoming event for established Filipino musicians in the diaspora. Case in point: Jeff Bernat. The Filipino-American musician came onstage waving the Philippine flag – making for a memorable first time performing in his home country. In Bernat’s words, “There’s nothing like being in the motherland.” 

PINOY PRIDE. Filipino-American R&B artist Jeff Bernat sets foot on the Wanderland stage waving the Philippine flag. Rob Reyes/Rappler

“[I feel] a mix of all emotions to be honest. I was getting really emotional rehearsing because I feel like I’ve waited such a long time to perform in the Philippines, and it’s finally happening. I’m a very spiritual person, so I feel like my ancestors are with me when I’m onstage. It feels very special. I think I might even cry,” Bernat told Rappler in an interview hours before he was scheduled to come on stage. 

Other than his top original hits like “Cruel” and “Call You Mine,” Bernat also sang a medley of the OPM songs he grew up listening to to pay homage to his Filipino heritage – belting out his own rendition of APO Hiking Society’s “When I Met You” and Side A’s “Forevermore.”

Similar to Bernat, Australian-Filipino singer-songwriter grentperez also played his first-ever Wanderland set.

“[I’m] pretty nervous, pretty anxious, I’d say. Very excited. I’m sure it’ll be fine, I’m sure I’ll perform fine,” he confided in Rappler hours before he was set to go onstage.

GRENTPEREZ. Australian-Filipino singer-songwriter grentperez sits down with Rappler for an interview before his Wanderland set. Rob Reyes/Rappler

Nervousness aside, however, the young musician made it clear that he had a knack for hyping an audience up. He had engaged in witty banter with the crowd, sometimes throwing in a few Filipino words here and there, and even having his band demonstrate the Filipino phrases he had taught them. He had also impressively run and danced around onstage while still being able to sing his songs perfectly.

It’s safe to say, then, that grentperez is a true entertainer who made Wanderland memorable for festival-goers – even those who didn’t know of his music before then.

Fun times at the neighborhood

Wanderland has always been known for putting together a roster of local and international music acts who really know how to put on a good show. This year’s lineup was no different. Take American soloist PJ Morton, for example, who brought his soulful vocals to Manila for the first time. His secret to staging a performance to remember? Putting on a show that he himself would enjoy.

‘PLEASE BE GOOD.’ Grammy Award-winning musician PJ Morton sings his latest single “Please Be Good” for the first time in front of an audience. Rob Reyes/Rappler

“I think ultimately I try to think of a show that I would enjoy watching. I always try to remain a fan. I love going to shows. I’ve always gone to shows so I just wanna make sure people feel like they’ve gotten more than they even asked for,” Morton shared with Rappler.

Morton’s performance was also special for Wanderland attendees – as it was the first time he performed his latest single “Please Be Good” in front of a live audience.

Beyond the music, however, Filipino creatives were also given the spotlight, with the myriad of art installations, live art, and art workshops scattered all throughout the festival grounds. These works of art were the colorful final touch Wanderland needed to really make the festival one to remember.

EYES. Artist TRNZ’s installation at Wanderland 2024. Rob Reyes/Rappler
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Artists seeweirdo, BITTO, Babsilog, and Valvee paint vibrant houses in their own art styles to stay true to Wanderland 2024’s Neighborhood theme. Juno Reyes/Rappler
POTTERY. Pottery Studio Wabi Sabi sells Wanderland-themed ceramics and holds pottery workshops at the festival. Rob Reyes/Rappler
A MINI-ART MARKET. Artist seeweirdo sells art prints and stickers at Wanderland. Rob Reyes/Rappler

Overall, Wanderland 2024 definitely lived up to its Neighborhood theme. Everybody was there for a good time, so no matter how crazy you looked when dancing and singing your heart out to the live music, nobody judged you for it. Even the little kids in the crowd sat atop their parents’ shoulders to get the full festival experience throughout all the different music acts’ sets!

One thing’s for sure: the presence of art, live music, fun times, and fun-loving attendees at Wanderland all prove why the festival is dubbed the “Home of Good Music and Good People.” –

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