This weekend I attended the wonderful 3-day festival extravaganza that is Soul Circus. The festival is the brainchild of Ella Wroath, who runs a yoga studio in Cheltenham and wanted to host an event that put wellbeing at the forefront of festival attendance, instead of music. The festival includes an array of classes, talks and experiences, including yoga classes, meditation sessions, wellness experiences, nutritious food and nourishing music – all housed under Cirque de Soleil-style tents in a Gloucestershire field. I attended this wonderful festival with my amazing friend Ellie, from The Wandering Quinn, and we couldn’t wait to explore, relax and indulge in an array of yoga classes over the weekend.
TALKS AND WORKSHOPS
There were so many talks and workshops on over the weekend, and me and Ellie headed to a couple each day to find our brains with knowledge and power. Our favourites were the ‘Life Coaching Session’ with the wonderful Danielle Marchant in the Explorer House for 60 mins, where she spoke about pressing pause on our lives, and finding moments of calm. And then the best bit of the weekend was seeing Will Young (I know, from Pop Idol) talking about ‘The Art of Listening’ in the Galaxy Tent. He spoke to brutally about his past challenges with his own mental health, and then about the power of listening to people, not just on yourself, but also on those you are listening to. So many things he said hit home and he ended on the quote “do not expect of people what they are not willing to give” which I think was a real truth.
With over 75 classes spread across the 3 main yoga tents, the yoga programme for the festival had something for every yogi; from vinyasa flow to restorative yoga, Ashtanga to Jivamukti, morning meditations to evening disco beats yoga. Me and Ellie attended a couple of yoga sessions including a vinyasa flow led by Daniela Olds to the musical backdrop of a live DJ set from Maxi Jazz called Maxi Power Live. Or if you fancied mixing it up a bit there was an array of other more specific classes including Yoga Nidra, anatomy, arm balancing, hip openers, handstand workshop, partner yoga. use of a yoga wheel, blindfold yoga.
FOOD AND DRINK
Food and Drink was an absolute winner over the weekend, and to be honest, it was one of the best parts. Health, nourishing and wholesome food, that tasted incredible and looked even better. They had an array of street vans, selling healthy food, but then also had the Solar Kitchen Cafe, run by Jamie Raftery, selling an array of meals across the weekend. Whatever your diet, you will find something you can eat with ease! The festival also had it’s own manifesto on sustainability including pledges to increase recycling and lower food waste, introducing composting loos for 2017 and sourcing food locally within 60 miles of the site.
Not a key moment of our weekend, but worth including as they had an array of up and coming singers and songwriters on throughout the weekend. And some of the best we heard were in the main food tent whilst we were eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Soul Circus had two stages; a small stage in the Solar Kitchen for acoustic acts during the day and the Polaris Stage in the main yoga tent for live bands and DJs in the evenings.
Going to a festival doesn’t mean roughing it, and Soul Circus did luxury well, by introducing glamping and VIP tickets. VIP supposedly gave you access to a VIP champagne lounge, all day coffee and tea bar, goody bag and a few other things, as well as access to the hot tubs. However my only flaw of the weekend was that the extra VIP didn’t add as much as expected. It would have been better to have had a specific VIP area, and more instruction for the actual benefit of going VIP. However, that was my only flaw of this wonderful festival.
The festival was a roaring success, as with previous years, and everyone we met was friendly, relaxed and realigned by the end of the weekend. Soul Circus is an ideal festival for the yoga lover whether you are on the start of your yoga path or way down that road; with a wealth of classes to suit a variety of styles there will always be a class for every yogi to participate in. It truly is a festival not to be missed!
*I was invited to Soul Circus but all opinions are my own!