The Gypsy Carnival gives thousands of kids the excuse to run away and join the circus
The Gypsy Carnival, the outdoor festival that mingles music, motorcycles and muggy nights spent inside camping tents, had a successful third edition on the Ton Phueng Farm in Ratchaburi last weekend, with more people than ever attending.
It’s always a surprising affair, concerts taking place in a circus atmosphere and everyone dressed in their Bohemian best. And it wasn’t muggy at all night – under 20 degrees – though there seemed to be more dust in the air this time.
The venue and parking lot were again far apart, but anyone who found it too far to walk could board the free songtaew shuttle bus service. The tunnel-like entry was its usual photogenic self, made for selfies, and the vista of the venue gradually opened up as we walked through, as if traversing a valley, food and beverage stalls lining both sides.
This year’s Gypsy Carnival built on its circus concept and attendees happily went along with the fun idea, many people getting their faces painted.
As was the case with the inaugural event two years ago, this edition had the music, food and camping zones neatly organised, if rearranged somewhat so the concerts wouldn’t disturb the tent-dwellers too much. Some folks, on the other hand, enjoy hearing tunes as they nod off in their sleeping bags, regarding them as lullabies.
The area with food stalls seemed improved and more spacious, but I missed the zone they had in the first year, where vintage vehicles and motorcycles were on display.
I heard some complaints about the long distance between the concert seating and the two toilet areas at the entrance and near the food zone. I didn’t mind. You shouldn’t spoil people with too much comfort and convenience – otherwise it doesn’t feel like a real music festival.
No one was complaining, though, about the music, or about the stilt walkers and jugglers roaming the grounds.
I arrived too late to see the opening acts – Diaries, Yamin and Alyn – and the burger-eating and motorcycle contests held on a stage resembling a circus tent.
But I could hear Greasy Cafe and Po Yokee Playboy playing as I walked around and assessed the layout, noticing the terrific sound system.
And I got to see festival organiser Kamol “Suki” Sukosol Clapp – referred to as the tribal chief – presiding at the opening ceremony. In what’s become an annual traditional invoking the spirit of the Olympic Games, Suki carried a torch as he ran down the middle aisle between the seats to a bonfire.
Singto Numchok was next onstage, leading the crowd through singalongs. Then came the 13-member girl group Sweat 16, cute as proverbial buttons as they performed “Wing” (“Run”) and “Mungming” (“Love Attention”).
Hot new band the Toys got fans up to the front of the stage with great music, including their first single “Korn Rudoo Fon” and a cover of Nitaya Boonsungner’s “Jib Nid Diew”, released 22 years ago, before these guys were even born.
The ladies in the crowd were screaming over handsome frontman Thanwa “Toy” Boonsungnern, a good sign for the Toys and their label, What the Duck.
The intermission between live acts featured a Miss Gypsy Contest and music from DJ Mr Z, and then Flure got things rocking again. “Kan Lae Kan”, from the soundtrack to the romantic movie “Love of Siam”, proved especially popular.
The audience never sat still. Most people were dancing and singing along as songs-for-lifer Pongsit “Poo” Kamphee put on a headliner worthy performance with songs from his latest album and hits including “Mue Puen”, which became an even bigger hit after it was used on the TV show “The Mask Singer”.
It was approaching midnight, but everyone was in way too good a mood in the cool music and cooler air as the final act, T-Bone ended the evening with an impressive set of lively ska and reggae.