In 2018, the global wellness industry generated over $4.5 trillion. Worldwide, people are genuinely more focussed on living healthy, stable lives and are certainly putting their money where their mouth is. Although some may look to wellness and healthy living as a trend, it is an industry that has been on a rapid incline for many years and shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s no surprise that millennials are the main consumers of wellness, in its many forms. From fitness to sound healing, meditation to mindful eating, breathwork to cryotherapy, millennials are opting for a more holistic way of living.
Music festivals are another landscape associated en masse with millennials. In 2015, over 14 million millennials in the United States alone attended at least one music festival. Combining the two seems like a no-brainer.
Not that holistic living and music festivals are a new idea (we all recall the one-love, hippie-laden years of Woodstock, etc.), but the entanglement of wellness and music festivals has become an entirely different beast. These days you’ll be hard-pressed to find a festival without a dedicated sustainability manifesto, daily yoga classes, areas where you can unwind with some mindful meditation, or partake in various workshops dedicated to self-improvement and self-fulfilling practices led by industry leaders.
For a while there, electronic music festivals in particular were getting a bad rep for being weekends of heavy alcohol consumption, party drugs, and late nights. Your options for having a good time were reduced to popping MDMA to give you the endurance to dance and stage-hop in the hot sun and party until the wee hours. Not to say that festivalgoers have completely opted out of being under the influence, however, more and more festivals are providing alternative ways to spend your downtime and take a much-needed breather from a weekend of debauchery.
While some festivals are as short as a single day, some last as long as two weeks. Festivalgoers spend their year looking forward to their time, racking up their vacation days to spend quality time with their friends while listening to their favourite artists. Perhaps as the generation ages and matures, the idea of a solid week of partying has become less appealing and a day of dancing followed by meditation and yoga is a little more enticing.
Festival organizers worldwide have certainly caught on. Whether you are in the US or a small island in Thailand, music festivals have made a conscious shift from wasted to wellness.
A pioneer of wellness-focused electronic festivals, Shambhala has dedicated its 20+ years to creating a community-based and holistic environment for its attendees. The Shambhala experience has always included yoga and workshops in its schedule and has a reputation worldwide for its emphasis on human connection.
Ecstatica Festival in Koh Phangan, Thailand is a 5-day festival dedicated to unlocking our full human potential. The festival, heavily rooted in spirituality, offers its attendees opportunities to learn practices surrounding breathwork, yoga, ecstatic dance, and meditation from highly regarded practitioners from around the world.
At Jai Thep in Chiang Mai, you can partake in moon circles, cacao ceremonies, womb massage therapy, Kava African dance, and pebble mandala creation. Bali Spirit Festival, heavily rooted in yoga, also offers sound healing, kirtan, dance therapy, and dharma talks. Envision Festival in Costa Rica operates with adherence to their 7 pillars that include sustainability, music, movement, health, spirituality, art, and education.
Given the current situation and lack (but not total lack) of festivals happening worldwide this season, these well-fests have gone online. Festivals like Luna Digital Yoga and Music Festival put their programs on the Internet, offering a good time to the world wide web. Days start as early as 7am with a healing ceremony, followed by meditation, yoga, seminars, workshops, more yoga, and an evening full of DJ sets. Arise Music Festival didn’t let COVID get in the way of their 7-year streak and brought their yoga, sound healing, and talented musical acts online. Abracadacra TV in cahoots with BYE BYE PLASTIC, presented a 3-day virtual festival that celebrated music, magic, and self-love through sound-healing, chats on magic mushrooms, yoga flows, and sets by favourites like BLOND-ISH.
This idea of wellness music festivals not only relieves the sense of existential dread and weeklong hangover that looms following a week of heightened endorphins and serotonin levels, they almost force you to be more present during the festival in totality. Music festivals have always been about bringing likeminded people together through the power of music. Adding activities that help us learn about ourselves, open our minds, and vibe as a community can never be a bad thing, right? If well-fests are a trend, we’re here for it. But, this seems like more of a movement. As we become more of a conscious community, so will the spaces we occupy. Plus, everyone could use a little more yoga in their lives.