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Wanderlust Festival Full Recap: Kia’s Wild Ride, and Slideshow

in Events, YD News

Enjoy the Final Recap Slideshow and Kia’s full weekend wrap up below…

Also don’t miss the Wanderlust Page packed with all the awesome coverage including pics, videos, and daily recaps on the yoga, music and “greenness”.

By Kia M. Ruiz

I left Wanderlust just over two days ago.  I am glad I took a little time to digest the experience before writing this recap.  It was a little longer than the three-day festival for me.  My husband and I made it a genuine wanderlust experience by also tossing in a road trip to get there and back (over 1,000 miles each way).  I think even without the road trip the experience still would have been frenzied because there was so much to do.  My goal going into the festival was to have a good time and leave with no regrets.

It can be easy to overextend yourself from the start to the end.  The combination of yoga and music pass are enough to wear anyone out.  It was possible to begin meditation or yoga practice by 8 in the morning and stay busy until the music sets ended at 2 in the morning, then do it the next day.  I did find it hard to stay up late at night because of all the sweet yoga going on when the sun was up.  I found myself gravitating more toward the yoga crowd than the music crowd by the second day of the festival because of our interest priority.

I am not placing a judgment on the people who went there for music only.  It simply felt like there was a line drawn between the two crowds and the music crowd leaned more toward mainstream culture with the excessive alcohol, ruder behavior, and other activities that are not goals of a balanced yogi.  At the time I did not even notice what was happening.  I was more focused on staying present and enjoying the experience as much as I could.  It was only by talking to other festival attendees, the staff, and my husband that I realized that there was a different vibe at the festival on the second day.

In my own little world the big issue was the change in the schedule for the yoga crowd and the frustrations we were feeling from not having all the information necessary to plan our day.  In true community fashion we all seemed to calm each other down and find a way to get a smile on our faces even if we missed an instructor that we had our heart set on practicing with.  My adapted philosophy was to simply wander, find a group to practice with if the vibe was friendly, and not hold expectations for what that practice would hold.  I ended up participating in a Thai massage workshop and mixed martial arts/yoga/dance session that way and loving them.  The yoga sessions were similar to a conference in that the conversations between sessions were amazing regarding philosophy and other issues important to the yoga community.

As far as mixing with the music crowd there was fun to be had somewhere away from the front of the stage at any given time if the scene became overwhelming.  I ended up walking away from the stage where the headliner was performing to go to the periphery of the crowd where people were practicing the acroyoga they learned earlier and were sharing toys like hula hoops and poi.  This change in the crowd was definitely a truth for The Mutaytor who played on Friday night and Saturday night.  Same band, same set time, but a much different experience for the participants with the intoxication and shoving.

As a festival veteran I did not have much time to prep for Wanderlust because I only learned I was going a few days beforehand.  I made sure to pack everything that would be needed to survive on the road with some comfort and did not take much time to read what the festival would provide.  For the most part my husband and I were set once we packed the car and upgraded the Seeker passes we won to Media passes we requested.  It is in the aftermath of the festival that I realize how lucky we were by not relying on Wanderlust for creature comforts like good food.

I now see in the Wanderlust literature that local and organic food was part of the mission statement with the connectivity of food production and environmentalism.  The festival did not do really well with this. A good deal of food was provided by the resort restaurants and what their mainstream operations had in place.  I saw attendees go to the market in the village but did not realize they were relying on it so much until my husband went to get bread for some hummus we had and he bought the last loaf (on Saturday afternoon).

On late Sunday we decided to have our first meal at the festival and he had a hard time finding whole, natural food and went for made to order stir-fry by the music stage.  It was of course surrounded by the quick, cheap in quality food that music festival crowds eat more often than yogis.  He was in line behind a celiac and she was pretty much out of options and told him how she did not come prepared because of the good food promotion the festival had been doing.  I feel really bad for her.  I also have food allergies and just figured I would be out of luck so brought a stockpile of good things to eat and went to Trader Joe’s in Reno on the way to Wanderlust.  I would have been screwed trying to practice so much yoga in warm weather if I was not well fed the whole weekend.

There are definitely things the festival can do to improve off of their inaugural event.  I think the biggest is to have a liaison in the planning phase to act between the all the entities that put this event on.  For a festival of this magnitude it is obvious you have to rely on music festival organizers to lay the groundwork and thank goodness some of those organizers practice yoga.  However very basic needs like the food need to be prioritized for active bodies that could potentially be working out for the full 72 hours.

Another arena is low-cost lodging.  I know providing camping for large groups can be a headache because of liability issues and the environmental impact of many people on land, however some group camping even through established federal and state campsites would have been helpful.  Even something in a dormitory.  This could be a point of contention because for the sake of economic viability it is in the festival’s best interest to garner a crowd who can afford to stay at a resort for a few days versus making it easier for people of less substantial means.  However, if you put on something cool with yoga and music, people of all walks of life will find a way to get there with a place to stay or not.  My husband and I made the joke that we saw trolls staying in their cars under bridges or just off the road in the forest on the way to our campsite about 30 minutes away.

I cannot comment on the price of passes and what people got out of it for the price.  I won seeker passes (about $170 each) and upgraded to media passes that allowed me access to VIP experiences (more than $500 each).  I felt grateful no matter what I was doing and was not once considering the price point of what was going on.  We paid for gas, campsite, and food that we mostly bought from a market… so it was relatively economical.  I also was able to hob-nob with VIPs and do things that not every festival attendee had access to.  My only hope is that since there was so much going on at every price level that people enjoyed themselves, went with the flow, and also left with no regrets.

For the record, I am looking forward to attending Wanderlust in the future, and seeing how it evolves for the better.  I wish to extend congratulations to the festival organizers.  Overall they did very well in their effort to bring a sense of balanced community to such a complex, technology-driven, busy world.  And I want to thank yogadork for the chance to go to the festival and share my experience with the readers.  I had no plans to attend and then decided I would let the fate gods plan my week by writing a little haiku.  I had a great experience and am filled with gratitude for it.  Namaste.

7 comments… add one
  • ndsmith

    Thanks for your perspective. I like the detailed criticisms and info about the classes. I was at the festival with a Seeker pass that I purchased, helping my wife who had a media pass. We brought our two year old along, so much of my time was spent babysitting.

    I noticed that the recycle compost campaign and food options did not fit as advertised. We brought a cooler of food and made lunches for ourselves. We bought dinners from resort restaurants…

    We also stayed in camping that was much too far away (over 40 min. drive). This was because we were late to register for a site (only the week of). I saw the division between music folks and yoga folks, but I didn’t get as strong a sense of it as you.

    Check out my retrospective on elephantjournal.com http://www.elephantjournal.com/2009/07/wanderlust-what-was-it-all-about-anyway/.


  • an Altamont waiting to happen.

    god, I’m such a cynic….;)

  • Believe me Linda, this is ripe for satire. Look for the piece “Stop Yuppie Yoga United Front” in the next few weeks.

  • tee-hee….:) can’t wait, Dawg!

  • kia

    You guys slay me 🙂

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