Namaste, Wanderlust: Second year yoga and music festival more than triples attendance
Lake Tahoe Action
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; Primal love.
Yogi Shiva Rea explained the spirituality of it to a group of about 100 festivalgoers Sunday as they sat on their mats under a canopy at Wanderlust.
and#8220;You don’t know when it will happen,and#8221; she said. and#8220;See what happens inside.and#8221;
Dave Stringer led an eight-piece band playing Kirtan, a call-and-response style of music from 15th century India. An innate accompaniment to yoga with its ancient Hindu Sanskrit chants, Kirtan has resurging popularity as it is introduced to Western instrumentation.
Rea looked beyond the crowd, waved and said, and#8220;I just saw a saint.and#8221;
Radhanath Swami humbly accepted Rea’s invitation to approach the stage. The holy man’s saffron attire shone in the afternoon sun. As Rea instructed, all went into prostration. The band’s rhythm pulsated across Squaw Valley. The swami took the mike and chanted a blessing. It was a Wanderlust jam session.
and#8220;I really like penetrating the ecstatic barrier,and#8221; Rea said later.
With about 13,000 over four days, the second Wanderlust Music and Yoga Festival’s attendance more than tripled that of the inaugural event. All of the yoga classes and lectures Thursday, Friday and Saturday sold out.
and#8220;In a way, it probably grew a little bit beyond our expectations, and from an operational standpoint we did the best we could to catch up with the growth,and#8221; said event organizer Jeff Krasno. and#8220;For me, the most important part of it is to have people come and have a great experience and go home and tell their friends.and#8221;
and#8220;It exceeded my expectations,and#8221; said Charles Beckert of Bend, Ore., who was accompanied by his wife and child. and#8220;Even more than the yoga, I especially liked the spirit the community is trying to spread. This is what really inspired me.and#8221;
Monica Varah of Ventura, Calif., agreed: and#8220;I’m coming back next year. There are lots of like-minded people. Everybody with a spiritual goal in mind. And you can set down your purse and not worry about it betting swiped.and#8221;
Jenn Harrell of Chicago realized the extent of kindness at the festival last year when headliner Michael Franti had to cancel at the last moment to undergo hernia surgery.
and#8220;Everyone was cool with it,and#8221; she said. and#8220;We came here last year and we’re coming back next year. The music was better last year. This year was much more organized and everyone was nice and the weather is perfect. I go to a lot of festivals and this is the best festival I’ve ever been to.and#8221;
Krasno said it was too early to know if Wanderlust might expand to more locations, but a return to Squaw Valley is certain.
and#8220;There are some parts of the event that we don’t need to grow but I think there’s some experiential elements that we can continue to develop,and#8221; he said. and#8220;More hikes, a wine village, the kids program. All these other types of things that I think add to the overall event that we can grow without necessarily growing the overall numbers that much more.and#8221;
Rea reveled in overseeing the final yoga class of the festival, and she invited everyone to huddle near the stage and and#8220;fall out.and#8221;
and#8220;Wanderlust is the celebration of the power of music and the flow of yoga,and#8221; she said, before Stringer’s ensemble closed the session with and#8220;Shivaya Namah Om.and#8221;
As the gondola cars slowly ascended in the blue sky to the mountain top, the rhythm of the music and#8212; the and#8220;sacred vibrationand#8221; and#8212; steadily grew faster and louder. The beats finally became so fast and intense, everyone rose, smiling, singing, dancing, twirling and embracing.
This is what she meant.