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Will you be teaching at one of the fitness festivals next year? Olivia Hubbard speaks to the founders and instructors who are fully backing this growing trend.

The fitness industry is encouraging us to unleash our wild side and, with rising anxiety levels in the UK (see pp44-46 in the summer edition of Fitpro magazine for further insight), wellness and self-care has never been more spoken about. Individuals are searching for balance in their lives – swapping whole weekend music festivals for wellness and fitness festivals this summer. Now, you can downward dog in the morning and dance under the pink strobes at dusk.

The concept isn’t new for 2018 but the market is growing – fast. A newcomer to the wellness and fitness festivals scene is FloVibe, which ran its first festival last year. “Our concept is ‘Retreat meets Festival’,” begins creative director of FloVibe, Jason Pooley. “We are a hybrid event and not just a yoga or wellness festival. Festival goers can experience yoga, Pilates, fitness stations, 5K runs, power hooping, dance, meditation and mindfulness workshops, along with an outdoor spa for holistic treatments.”

FloVibe has fierce competition. Wilderness Festival has been around for seven years and three-day fitness festival LoveFit bags the July spot, partnering with 1Rebel, Farm Fitness, Broga and Fierce Grace hot yoga. Not feeling defeated by any means, Pooley has bold plans for expansion: “Our long-term objective for FloVibe is to become the UK’s leading wellness and music festival. We are looking at ways we can build an online platform to bring together and create wellness programmes as an educational experience.”

Elsewhere on the festival event circuit is Soul Circus, which began its three-day yoga, food and music offering back in 2016. The yoga classes utilise DJs, instruments, gongs and singing bowls to help reflect the festival experience. “We’ve found that people are keen to push their own boundaries and are trusting us to give them new experiences they wouldn’t necessarily seek out in their every-day lives,” says Ella Eroath, Soul Circus’s founder. The yogi festival organiser is keen to share the latest developments. “New for 2018 is the Equinox Tipi that will host a combination of Equinox’s signature HIIT, Pilates, Yoga and Barre classes. This year, we have Emily Rawson, a BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter doing a huge hip-hop yoga live DJ class. On Sunday, everyone is a little slower due to late-night revelry, so we schedule lots of yin, talks and massage workshops,” explains Eroath.

Soul Circus doesn’t align to any particular yoga studio and they tell us it isn’t all about the beautiful insta yogis – yoga instructors come from all walks of life. Last year, catsuited attendees seemed to love aerial yoga, ecstatic dance, Thai massage classes and gong baths the best. Yet, if you’re just there to dabble in a cookery class and lakeside meditation, then fear not.

Teacher attraction

Pete Pallai, founder of myPilateslondon, shares his advice on branching into the wellness festival space and why he stands by his decision to be involved. “It certainly takes a breed of instructor and presence to capture the attention of their classes at a festival. I didn’t know what to expect at FloVibe but knew that we shared a similar holistic approach to other brands involved. I liked that the festival had meditational spaces, movement areas, dance, music and it was all located outdoors. It felt authentic and not a hard sell proposition at all,” begins Pallai.

Pallai’s four tips before you take the plunge into festival teaching are:

  • Attend a few as a visitor: Take from them the positives you gauge from your own experience – how you were treated, taught, guided and how that made you feel.
  • Work out your niche: What can you contribute at these events? Ask yourself: What would fire you up so much that your passion rubs off onto someone else?
  • Be the right fit: Make sure the event is the right fit for your objectives. Is it relevant to you? Seek out the organisers and offer them a session to show your skills and why they should select you.
  • Variation: We aim to challenge people’s perception of Pilates and incorporate the MOTR machines, which many people won’t have experienced before. The classical Pilates principles still sit at the root of what we do. If someone attends another class of your discipline, what will make it strive above the competition? Find the edge.

Soul Circus looks for honesty, integrity and open heartedness when recruiting its event instructors. “Our festival teachers are the ones who come to the festival not just to earn money but because they love it as much as we do. We love seeing the teachers kick back and relax, breathe and enjoy the weekend,” says founder Ella Eroath.

Yoga instructor Tracey Sadler has been teaching at the festival since 2016 and decided to be involved to project her directions further. “Having to watch more people in a large crowd makes you more conscious of safety when executing the movements, which makes it all the more important to offer plenty of options to all levels of student. It is a competitive market and instagram has created a whole new ‘superstar’ yoga movement – perhaps those with the greatest following find it easier to find work. It has been great promotion for all the other work I do. I’m also involved with the catering side of Soul Circus and, again, this has opened up my work in other events too.”

It would appear we are becoming a more conscious nation and these events are providing that added mindfulness. Yoga teacher Sarah Hunt, who is London Fashion Week’s official yoga teacher, launched Disco Yoga last year. The team will perform at Latitude festival this summer and we asked what would be their words of advice for all fit pros looking to teach within the festival market:

  • Be flexible. Things don’t start on time. The weather isn’t what you expect. You won’t get much sleep. Just roll with it!
  • Remember that your audience is in a different frame of mind than usual. Everyone is more casual at a festival, so keep the fitness sessions light hearted rather than high intensity all the time.
  • Make sure to restore everyone at the end of your fitness session. Festivals take a toll on us and we all need some
    extra TLC.
  • Nail that festival outfit! We love Burnt Soul catsuits and Eco Glitter Fun. It works the field from midday Disco Yoga sessions to late-night raves!

Now wondering where to go? For 20% off your admission to FloVibe festival, check out the giveaways on pp58-59 of the Fitpro summer magazine, out now, and maybe we’ll see your glitter-doused face springing up on their social
media pages this summer. We’ve picked out some other festivals options for you below. Turmeric tonic, anyone?

Fitness festivals on the map

What? LoveFit      When? 20-22 July
Where? Sevenoaks, Kent
Farm Fitness, Mr Motivator, wild runs

What? Nature Nurture at Green Man         When? 16-19 August
Where? Brecon Beacons
Indian summer massages, meditation, wood-fired hot tubs

What? Geneva Yoga Festival       When? 5- 9 September
Where? Rue de Berne 49, 1201 Genève
Fertility and yoga, Indian yoga meets Chinese Taoism, Shanti Vinyasa


What? Festival No.6         When? 6-9 September
Where? Portmeirian
Estuary swimming, trail run, paddleboarding

This feature was originally published in Fitpro magazine’s summer edition. If you don’t already receive the magazine, check out membership HERE. You can get access to great content, giveaways, training and CPD opportunities and be part of a great community of like-minded fitness professionals!

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