UPDATE: Visit the Wanderlust Page for all updates, pics, videos goods.
When we extended the offer to our Wanderlust Fest ticket winner the option to be YD field reporter (sadly we couldn’t make it), we hadn’t dreamed of such thorough and stellar coverage of the event!
Besides the yoga and music (obviously the main attractions), Wanderlust aimed to be a “green” fest and pioneer in sustainable initiatives not often attempted for such a large-scale event, as co-founder Jeff Krasno mentioned in an interview.
Noble goals, but how did it all play out for the actual fest-goers plunked in the thick of it? Or, in practice, if you will. Homegrown environmental concerns were big, but so was social action on a global scale. Take it away Kia…
On an environmental tip the festival partnered and was sponsored by some great companies including BeGreen, Kleen Kanteen, Gaiam, and Burt’s Bees. As far as walking the walk the festival did three things I felt were significant on different scales.
1. Partnered with Squaw Valley USA and The Village at Squaw Valley to utilize a developed natural setting that could handle the impact of the festival attendees. We all know of festivals that attempt to go to pristine places and the impact of thousands of people on a virgin landscape can leave the area looking thrashed. The Squaw consortium partnership was well thought out and allowed people to visit a beautiful area and leave it with little to no guilt of their impact.
2. Provided water to refill bottles throughout Kula Village and other areas used within the resort. Tap water is clean, but there is no guarantee that attendees would re-fill bottles with tap water. Coolers were easily available with 5-gallon bottles of water to encourage re-using a personal bottle. Kleen Kanteen was also on hand to sell bottles if you did not have one.
3. Landfill waste diversion stations were available through out the resort. Recycling and trash receptacles were already in the area being used. The festival added compost receptacles for food waste and compostable food serving products. Anyone who puts on a green event knows that just having these receptacles is not enough. You can take the most intelligent crowd and they will still mix up receptacles, you need people at the bins to direct folks to put bottles in recycling and food scraps in compost. Wanderlust used some of their volunteer force to go through the receptacles and separate the waste before it was bagged. And the volunteers I saw did it with a smile on their faces. Kudos to the Wanderlust festival volunteers!
Another big part of this festival was social activism. Livity Outernational, Off the Mat/Into the World, Organic India, and Luna were involved in sponsorships or partnering. Luna may not be known as a social activism company but they were active at the festival with mountain bike clinics, films, and fundraising for the Breast Cancer Fund.
There were several tents in the village that were there to promote using yoga for social good. Of note Headstand takes yoga into public schools in the Bay Area. It seems like most major cities are relying on non-profits to bring these kinds of programs to kids and if you are reading this hopefully you know the program near you.
Another interesting group that stood out to me was the Africa Yoga Project. Their project representatives were eager to answer why yoga instead of focusing on the myriad of other things that can be done in East Africa. You can check their vision statement for their answer.
Expanding more globally there was also Yoga World Reach that basically works to connect yoga teachers to seva wherever they are in the world. The idea is that something can always be done where you are.