Lonely Planet Writer

A stage made from rice at Thailand's Wonderfruit festival will be eaten afterwards

To celebrate Thailand’s traditional rice farming culture and the ceremonies that surround it, there’ll be a stage made from rice at this weekend’s Wonderfruit festival in Thailand.

The rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival. Image: Wonderfruit
The rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival. Image: Wonderfruit

According to the festival’s founder, Pete Phornprapha, the Farm Stage will be 37m long and has been designed by PO-D Architect and Thor. Kaichon. ‘The best thing about it is that the rice can be eaten afterwards,’ he says. ‘So it’s probably the world’s most sustainable stage.’

There will be a rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival.
There will be a rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival. Image: Wonderfruit

Wonderfruit is a destination festival in Pattaya near the Gulf Of Thailand. The innovative rice structure will stand in the middle of the Wonderfruit Farm, among the agricultural activities and artistic installations.

There will be a rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival. Image: Wonderfruit
There will be a rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival. Image: Wonderfruit

Rice is deeply ingrained in southeast Asian culture, and it plays a central role in many lives and livelihoods there. The stage has been inspired by Isaan farmers who, after the annual harvest, traditionally gather their yields at the centre of the village, to build an elaborate structure adorned with their bundles of rice.

The Wonderfruit festival takes place in Pattaya, Thailand, from February 16 to 19, 2017. Image: Scratch First
The Wonderfruit festival takes place in Pattaya, Thailand, from February 16 to 19, 2017. Image: Wonderfruit

The buildings are blessed in religious ceremonies before celebrations take place around them. Then they are beaten, releasing dried rice grains to the ground. The rice is collected, milled, and distributed back to the community for seasonal consumption.

There will be a rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival. Image: Wonderfruit
There will be a rice stage at the Wonderfruit Festival. Image: Wonderfruit

As well as being a beautiful performance space, the Farm Stage is a demonstration of that story and the sustainability intrinsic to rice farming culture. Its structural frame will be built from bamboo and embellished with bundles of organic rice, grown within the region and supported by Pundee Rice. True to the cultural folk practice that inspired it, rice grains will be cultivated from it to share with other communities when Wonderfruit is over.

The Wonderfruit festival takes place in Pattaya, Thailand, from February 16 to 19, 2017. Image: Scratch First
The Wonderfruit festival takes place in Pattaya, Thailand, from February 16 to 19, 2017. Image: Wonderfruit

The stage made from rice will be surrounded by workshops and activities, including natural fermentation and scarecrow-making, as well as agricultural art installations. 

 

The festival has a huge focus on bringing sustainability to Thailand. It is donating a portion of its proceeds to a nature reserve in Indonesia, while also helping to a restore a mangrove forest in Myanmar. If you fancy flying in a plane over the festival grounds or watching musical acts performing on a stage converted from an old bus, this festival also ticks all those boxes.

The Wonderfruit festival takes place in Pattaya, Thailand, from February 16 to 19, 2017. Image: Scratch First
The Wonderfruit festival takes place in Pattaya, Thailand, from February 16 to 19, 2017. Image: Wonderfruit

The Wonderfruit festival takes place this Thursday to Sunday. Further information can be found here.

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