Since the Sixties, the festival experience has consisted (near universally) of constant music, copious excess and mud. The demand for such hedonistic binges still exists, but the wellness revolution of the past decade has led to the emergence of a more holistic alternative; festivals based on helping you recharge and re-enlighten while boosting your fitness. They offer music and entertainment, but the big difference is you'll return home stronger in mind and body. Sound good? Here's my choice of the best.
The original mindfulness festival launched in Squaw Valley, North Lake Tahoe, California in 2009 and now boasts 8 annual events in the U.S, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Each festival is energised with twenty and thirty-something's on a personal journey to unlock their mental and physical potential. Offerings include different levels and styles of yoga, paddle boarding, live music & DJ sets, locally sourced sustainable food, inspiring lectures and workshops, meditation and adventures in the rugged natural terrains.
North Lake Tahoe: 20-23 July, 2017
Snow Sue, West Virginia, 9-11 June, 2017
Stratton, Bondville, Vermont, 22-25 June, 2017
Whistler, British Columbia, Vancouver 3 August, 2017
Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, 24-27 August, 2017
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, 19-22 October, 2017
Designed to educate, engage and transform this lively music-art-tech-wellness fusion sets up camp over 49 acres of Native American land in the shadow of Sin City in Spring. The collective brainchild of some Burning Man veterans, the exclusive offerings would have been frowned on at their former festival; last year Nobu offered a $250-a-head dinner on the opening night. There is luxury high-spec accommodation, personal festival assistants, an accompanying app and a wellbeing schedule curated by The Wellness Company. This immersive element includes access to the newest science and tech, award-winning fitness teachers, TED-style lectures, meditation, yoga and a member's spa. The entertainment comes in the form of a curated electronic and live music schedule. This is a full on sensory experience.
29 April – 3 May, 2017
If Esquire made festivals then we'd be hard pushed to come up with something better than this. Fed up with just one base camp for an entire festival? Then join 200 other revelers and embark on a three-day adventure across North Africa; climb dunes, take part in the desert Olympics, enjoy sumptuous Moroccan food, fresh juices, sand boarding, yoga and spa treatments. London's Frame has come on board to curate the wellbeing schedule, which encompasses HIIT to mindfulness. Love Brunch & Love Affair bring the party with top DJ's and after dark debauchery.
The newest edition to the list and four years in the making this live music-wellness-culture fusion runs the entire Summer and you can check in for as long as you want. Set amidst The Adriatic this is an isolated 143-acre island oasis, and the vibe is Café-de-la Mar meets fitness camp. Awake to sunrise yoga on the beach, meander down to the bar jetty and unwind to a DJ set, for lunch choose from a variety of healthy gourmet eateries and take a late afternoon run through the fragrant pine forest. The Zen Den hosts a wide variety of fitness classes whilst the atmospheric Sound Sanctuary provides a blissful escape with massage, mediation and spa treatments. After sun down catch headliners in the stone amphitheater and then settle in for a restful nights sleep in one of the safari-style Forest Lodges. Performers at the inaugural festival last year included Gilles Peterson, Four Tet, Kate Tempest and Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals.
23 June – 3 September, 2017
If you've outgrown the large scale more traditional festivals and want to find something more balanced with a good vibe then Wilderness is for you. Awake with yoga at 8am, a group forest run and a wild swim in the lake to awaken the senses. There are acai bowls, juices and high-end food on offer (HIX and Petersham Nurseries are two of the big names), along with an array of workshops and moral-boosting talks. Grace Jones, Two Door Cinema Club and First Aid Kit are headlining this year. De-camp to the valley rave after the main act to satisfy your naughty side.
3-6 August, 2017