Wanderlust Festival returns to Snowmass this week
THREE NIGHTS OF FREE MUSIC – WANDERLUST FESTIVAL 2016:
THURSDAY, JUNE 30:
5:30 p.m.: Gates open at Fanny Hill
6 p.m.: DJ Drez
7:45 p.m.: Prince Ea
8:30 p.m.: Steel Pulse
FRIDAY, JULY 1:
6 p.m.: Gates Open on Fanny Hill
6:30 p.m.: Magic Giant
8 p.m.: Karsh Kale & The Wanderlust Tribe
SATURDAY, JULY 2:
6 p.m.: Gates open on Fanny Hill
6:30 p.m.: Elijah Ray
7:45 p.m.: Son Little
9:30 p.m.: Xavier Rudd
Seven years ago, two New York-based music executives, business partners and best friends had what seemed like an outrageous idea at the time — to start the world’s first-ever yoga retreat combined with a music and arts festival.
“It was seen as a little bit wacky,” said Wanderlust Festival co-founder Sean Hoess, looking back on the festival’s origins. “People were like, ‘You’re having a music festival and you’re crossing it with yoga?’” he said, adding that “there was definitely some negative feedback.”
“We were like, ‘Well, let’s just give it a shot anyway,’” Hoess said.
The first Wanderlust Festival took place in Squaw Valley, California, in 2009.
Today, Wanderlust hosts 40 events annually and reaches destinations worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico, Chile and Argentina.
The festival returns to Snowmass this week for its third consecutive year, beginning with a slew of activities scheduled at 8 a.m. June 30 and ending with a yoga dance party July 2 at 4 p.m.
What sets Wanderlust apart from other festivals is its ability to merge music and yoga, said Boulder-based yoga instructor Gina Caputo.
“While there are now many music festivals with a little yoga and many yoga festivals with a little music, this festival is the only one that truly showcases both equally,” said Caputo, who will lead hikes and meditation and yoga classes at the Snowmass festival.
Music is a major part of the yoga experience, whether it is live music or DJs in classes, she said.
Wanderlust also draws incredible talent to the valley with names like Xavier Rudd and Steel Pulse headlining this year’s festival, said Snowmass Tourism groups and events manager Dave Elkan.
Wanderlust’s mission is “to help you find your truth north,” which means finding the things that allow one to lead a “happy, healthy and inspired life,” Hoess said.
Hoess said he thinks that the “digital stress” of our world today makes it more important now than ever for people to take the time to unplug.
With smartphones, social media and other technological advances, no one is ever really “off” these days, he said.
Participating in some form of a mindful or meditative activity is necessary for de-stressing, Hoess said, adding that interacting with others in person is critical to one’s sense of community.
Wanderlust also gives people the opportunity to escape routine and get outside of their comfort zone, Caputo said.
“We humans tend to get rather habituated,” Caputo said. “Wanderlust Festivals are a great way to shake things up, take a step away from your day-to-day grind, get out in nature, get high on the altitude, meet people you might not otherwise, experience teachers and bands you might not otherwise, find special gear or unique products you’ve never seen before.”
Along with music and yoga, the Wanderlust lineup includes everything from meditation classes and speakers to kayaking and slacklining.
While admission to Wanderlust and its activities requires festivalgoers to purchase tickets, the nightly concerts are all free and open to the public.
“As a community, we’re very lucky to have someone willing to reinvest back into the community beyond his guests,” Elkan said, referring to Hoess.
The event also is an economic booster for the town of Snowmass Village, with occupancy reaching 100 percent every year of the festival, Elkan reported.
“The Wanderlust following is very loyal,” he said. “They love the event, the instructors, the classes, the vibes — everything.”
Hoess estimated that about half of the Snowmass festival audience members would fly into Aspen “from all over the country,” while the other 50 percent will attend and/or travel locally.
He said the Wanderlust Festivals usually draw anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 attendees, and he anticipated more than 4,000 people to attend the peak day, which is generally Saturday.
The mix of people who attend the festivals is what Caputo said she loves most about Wanderlust.
“You get this incredible mix of locals who maybe don’t get this much yoga action the rest of the year and then travelers that may live in a concrete jungle or a completely different climate somewhere else,” Caputo said. “I love connecting with the heart and soul of the locals, and I cherish the enthusiasm and excitement of the visitors.”
For more information or to purchase tickets to this year’s Wanderlust Festival, visit http://www.wanderlust.com/festivals/aspen-snowmass.
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