While there are several new additions to the Whistler Wanderlust offerings this year, Sean Hoess recommends one in particular.
"There's something we've been adding (called) amplify yoga, which I would recommend everyone check out," the festival co-founder and CEO says, over the phone from Squaw Valley during the Wanderlust festival in that resort town. "It's a hybrid between a breath-work class and ecstatic dancing. It's truly unique."
The addition originated in Wanderlust's permanent centre in Hollywood. A video promoting the new type of yoga shows people engaged in a typical, relaxing practice—before a DJ appears on stage and they start dancing wildly.
"We're physically on the ground in L.A., which is a barometer for new events," Hoess adds. "Yoga and mindfulness is part of our core values—that will never change. But the way people interact with yoga now has shifted over the decade we've been doing this."
This year marks Wanderlust's seventh event in Whistler. At a time when summer music festivals seem to be proliferating and then collapsing, the yoga/music/wellness/outdoor sport festival has found its success by integrating into the community for a weekend.
"Up there when you guys have music festivals, they're pretty beautiful, but there's something about a music festival, (you're) packed in and there are crowds and fences. It's not always the most maximally free and beautiful experience. We've tried to create this festival that's very open. We just integrate where we're going. We're spreading out all over the canvas of that beautiful town you guys call home," Hoess says.
To that end, this year, from Aug. 2 to 5 at locations around Whistler, you'll find everything from traditional yoga to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, hikes to meditation and wellness talks to mountain biking. On top of that are concerts (presented in conjunction with the Resort Municipality of Whistler's Whistler Presents Summer Concert Series in some cases), dinners and even ziplining.
"You definitely can't (do everything)," Hoess says. "Not even close, actually. I think it can be little daunting at first for people. There's a couple different ways to look at it. We loosely think about the types of activities—mindfulness-based, adventures activities ... and asking yourself what you're personally interested in."
While Wanderlust festivals and events take place in around 10 different North American cities (with Whistler, Squaw Valley and Tremblant hosting the multi-day festivals), there are certain elements special to Whistler, he adds.
"Whistler is very unique for us in that it's the only place we go to where we are the minority and not taking over the town—and that's a very different feel," Hoess says. "There's a lot of energy with all the international visitors there."
To learn more about the lineup, and for tickets that vary from multi-day passes to single-day passes, visit wanderlust.com/festivals/whistler.