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Actual festivals may be off the agenda, but you can still log on, tune in and chill out at one of these virtual wellness events
In recent years, wellbeing festivals have become increasingly popular. Many people were keen to swap hedonism for good health and embrace yoga, smoothies and mindfulness. As a result, wellbeing festivals increased in number every year – until 2020.
With distancing measures still in place, they simply can’t take place. But this year more than ever, with one in seven of us regularly experiencing stress and anxiety, we need a way to relax. The good news is that several wellness festivals have opted to go online, offering virtual workshops, expert talks and exercise sessions.
The Live Life Well Weekender was set up to help people during lockdown – with data showing the pandemic has caused nearly half of UK adults to suffer some form of anxiety problem. The first one ran in May and is still available on demand. It was such a success that another takes place in September.
‘Feedback from the event has been unbelievably positive,’ says Alexandra Davison, festival co-founder. ‘There has been a huge amount of gratitude for the informative discussions and talks that have addressed some of the main issues people are facing in lockdown.’
So, if you're looking for a chance to relax and recharge from home, here are five virtual festivals to sign up for.
Back by popular demand, the next not-for-profit charity event runs from 11-13 September. Expect talks from experts such as Embarrassing Bodies’ Dr Dawn Harper, Suzanne Alderson of Parenting Mental Health, happiness coach Steph Peltier and mental health campaigner Juliette Burton. There will be more than 30 events, including health discussions, nutrition workshops and mindfulness classes. Tickets cost £12 per household and are free to frontline and key workers.
Bring the festival experience from the tipis of Soul Circus to your living room. Find meditation, gong baths, dance, Pilates, breathwork, HIIT, food demos and more. The on-demand subscription service replicates the experience enjoyed at the yoga and wellness festival over the last four years, with live sessions and pre-recorded content. There’s a £14.99 sign-up fee to cover the first three months, then it's £7.99 per month therafter.
If you’re missing the great outdoors, log on to the Barefoot Festival and create your own in the garden. There will be dressing up, mocktail making, belly-dancing lessons and yoga from 31 July-2 August. Tickets cost £10, with optional donations for the individual artists.
Shining a light on mental health, All In The Mind Festival is normally held in Hampshire and attracts 1,500 visitors. This year, it’s gone digital, which means visitors from further afield can enjoy its poetry, music, dance and theatre from the comfort of their homes. It’s free and is being held on 12 September.
Do you need to rest and reboot? Adventure Yogi offers one-day, on-demand DIY retreats that include yoga classes, recipes, meditation and workshops. There are three to choose from, as well as occasional hosted virtual retreats and live-streamed yoga and fitness classes. A full-day virtual retreat costs £37.
Images: Adventure Yogi and Barefoot Festival