The team behind Wanderland Music and Arts Festival opens up about the past few years
Do you remember where you were in the early months of the pandemic? When the two-week vacation-slash-work-at-home trial period slowly morphed into a prolonged limbo of uncertainty? While some of us are lucky to have adapted quickly, we can’t say the same for industries deemed “inessential,” which means most of the entertainment industry. The live entertainment scene was the hardest hit then, with live events on hold for many months and no end in sight. For Karpos Multimedia, the announcement came in the middle of their preparations for Wanderland 2020.
“It was truly devastating, especially the way W2020 got postponed three days before the event with the majority of the setup already done and some artists already in Manila,” shares Karpos Multimedia in an interview with Wonder. “It was heartbreaking and something you could never plan for.” However, this led Karpos to pause and figure out how to survive tough times while also preparing for the major demand once we had regained a sense of normalcy. After all, no one expected that we’d be back in full swing a little over two years since lockdowns began—even if other parts of the world started returning to concerts earlier than we did.
But when the going gets tough, you’re only presented with two choices: adapt or give up. After pausing and focusing on some reorientations, Karpos Multimedia chose the latter and tried looking for the door that would open when the others closed. “During the pandemic, we actually tried doing live-streaming events and spent most of our time researching and developing new business ideas,” shares Karpos. “One of which is Tickelo, a platform that can better serve our ticketing needs.”
Fast forward to 2022, when the live entertainment scene finally got the go-signal to continue. Since then, one can say that Karpos Multimedia is back in full swing. We saw it with their series of concerts in 2022, Oh Wonder and DPR’s Regime Tour, plus the high-spirited launch of Salo-Salo Fest. Doors have fully opened as far as the concert scene is involved, and we’re all happy to join them in this triumph.
Up ahead, we learn more about the team behind Karpos Multimedia, their pre-show rituals and what else is in store for us at Wanderland: The Comeback:
Wonder: Let’s talk origin stories. How did the idea for Karpos Multimedia start?
Karpos Multimedia: Karpos Multimedia started in 2012 as an agency offering graphic design and web development services. After a few months of operation, the company decided to venture into producing concerts, starting with The Cranberries live at Araneta Coliseum. And the rest is history.
W: What did you hope to bring to the live entertainment and concert scene as Karpos?
KM: When we entered the industry, maybe a couple of promoters brought in indie artists and the majority brought in mainstream artists. That’s why we decided to focus on looking at the indie segment of the live music business and find a way to make it sustainable.
W: Let’s look back at the first-ever Wanderland Festival—how did it go? Did you guys ever expect it would become a pillar in the local music scene years later?
KM: From the outside looking in—it seemed okay and decent. But internally, we almost gave up before we even opened the gates. It was something we didn’t really expect in terms of the risks involved and the amount of work that needed to be done. We had no plans to continue it after the first year, but this one special person believed in us and the brand’s potential. So without him and, of course, the now thousands of loyal Wanderers who continue to support us, we [wouldn't] be able to continue doing this. We are truly blessed to be able to make a comeback after that very challenging COVID-19 pandemic that hit our industry hard.
W: When COVID restrictions slowly loosened in 2022, live shows were a possibility again. What was the first thing that came to your mind back then?
KM: First thing was, of course, Wanderland. We wanted to see if we could do it that year. The second was figuring out the best strategy to restart the live music business. We understand that there was massive demand from both artists and fans to start getting these shows rolling, but so little money to spend as the economy was still recovering.
W: Nonetheless, you guys piloted several concerts and even launched Salo-Salo Fest in the Enchanted Kingdom. What were your other milestones in 2022?
KM: A big milestone for us was seeing the majority of our core team back and working together again to finish what we were supposed to finish back in Wanderland 2020. The Jacob Collier show was a massive win for all the music fans. Lastly, Salo-Salo Fest was an amazing experience for our community, and we hope we can still do it again in the future.
W: We’re a few weeks away from Wanderland: The Comeback. So what are the biggest challenges in mounting a festival of this scale in a post-pandemic era?
KM: We’re all rusty, to be honest! There are a lot of things we have to remind ourselves of in terms of planning. The increasing production costs and dollar exchange rates are significant pain points for us, but we are powering through and finding ways to provide the best quality experience for our Wanderland community.
W: Are there any positive changes and milestones from putting together concerts and festivals two years after the world shut down?
KM: Renewed spirits! We are experiencing tremendous dedication and passion from everyone involved in mounting an event—artists, fans and the production crew. The support for each other has been unmatched.
W: How have your preparations been for Wanderland: The Comeback?
KM: It’s been difficult but quite expected, as we all re-learn how to run such a massive undertaking. I can say, though, that we’ve never been this excited about a show.
W: Lastly, how do you picture Karpos in 2023? What are you most excited about this year?
KM: Karpos will continue to bring memorable live events for our community in 2023. We have some surprises planned for the rest of the year, so we hope you keep an eye out on our socials and become a part of our growing community.
Tickets for Wanderland: The Comeback happening on March 4 and 5 are still up for grabs on wanderlandfestival.com. For information about your favorite artists, updates on the music festival and more, follow Wanderland Fest on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Get more updates on Wanderland and Arctic Monkeys when you follow Karpos Multimedia on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
Photos Karpos Multimedia
Final Art Matthew Ian Fetalver