I know it's Friday and usually I serve Interviews on Wednesday.
Blame it on my left thumb injury and after all Wanderlust is all about flow.
I was intrigued enough by the yoga and music blend at Wanderlust Festival as well as their Squaw Valley location to write 3 Days of Peace and Yoga, Wanderlust, Music Festival with a Different Recipe, Lake Tahoe (July 2009).
I could not pass the chance to interview the Wanderlust founders to find out what brought the event to life and how it has evolved into a series of events for the 2011 edition.
Answers to our free flowing e-mail exchange came mostly from Jeff Krasno with Sean HoessBack piping in here and there.
Q: Jeff, when and how did the 'Wanderlust Festival' get planted in your head?
My wife, Schuyler Grant, has been leading yoga retreats to Costa Rica for ten years. As an attendee on many of these trips, I became aware of the growing community of young adults passionately engaged in the process of trying to live a mindful life --- a life that is simultaneously better for them, the people around them and the earth. I became inspired to combine the production, design and marketing savvy of my music career with the values of the yoga community to create Wanderlust since there was nothing else like it yet. Over 10 years in the music business, I’ve seen some of my close friends produce some of the biggest events in the world. Once I had the vision for what I wanted Wanderlust to be, I gave it a whirl. Fortunately, we had some experienced hands supporting us.
Q: Do you practice Yoga to burn some of the adrenaline you experience from working in the music biz?
I practice yoga because it allows me to escape (or at least try to escape) from my hectic work schedule for 70 minutes out of the day. We often work ridiculous hours - so I need something to keep my head clear and my body strong - yoga is great for that.
Q: What made you pick Squaw Valley as the original location?
It's the most awe-inspiring setting in the United States. It has the community that supports the underlying ideals of the event. And it's close to San Francisco and LA, which are meccas for yoga. The places need to be inspiring natural settings. California was a logical place to start. The ski resorts give us an incredible canvas to work with and, at the same time, give us a lot of infrastructure. They are also happy to have us in slower summer months.
Q: Is there a tension between yoga (quiet) and music (noise)?
As a practiced musician and a student of yoga, I find similarities in the practice of both. For you to really be flowing, you need to be in the moment. When you are pushing too hard things don't fall into place. You need to open up and soften to excel at either.
In terms of how they inter-relate, I think yoga and music can help you find those moments of selflessness. There are times when your breath, your heartbeat and the pulse of the music become aligned and your body begins to lose its weight. You are floating and completely enveloped in the moment. That's quite a nice place to be.
Q: Have you seen great partnerships between musicians and yoga teachers/practitioners during the event?
All the time. Almost every yoga class at Wanderlust has a music component. It's one of the things that makes Wanderlust unique. Commerce and partnerships don't just happen over drinks or office desks – they happen when people are living their lives in full. Wanderlust offers attendees venues to thrive in and programs to foster expression and creativity.
Q: At the event, did yoga teachers help musicians flex-stretch their creativity, approach?
Definitely. Playing music for a yoga class is way different than playing in a normal concert setting. You're generally not playing songs so you have to rely on improvisation. You need to be in tune with the flow of the class - know when to raise the energy level and when to be peaceful. A good musician in a yoga class is generally someone who is perceptive…intuitive.
Q: What place does food and wine occupies at Wanderlust? How different is your approach to that side of things than other music events?
We're expanding our food & wine program this year to include a wine village with a dozen great organic and bio-dynamic wineries, a farmers market, and an amazing farm to table dining experience. Our audience wants local, organic food and we're doing our best to provide. It's important that our attendees have tasty nourishment and fuel for their Wanderlust experience.
Q: When and why did you decide to go from a single location to at least 3 in 2011?
After our success last year, we looked around at other communities and locations that we believed would support the Wanderlust experience. There is no doubt that there is a growing culture for yoga, organics, the arts - so we're just meeting that demand in different places around the country. When Wanderlust goes to Kansas - that's when you know that America is really progressing.
Q: Is Brooklyn still on the map as one of the stops and why does it make as much sense as Vermont?
We're going to do a one-day Brooklyn event. There are a TON of yogis in the BK and New York City at large. It's a lot different from Vermont though. Vermont is an entire 5-course meal. Brooklyn will be just an appetizer.
Q: With its expansion, should we look at Wanderlust as a Lifestyle event?
If you want. Our event is participatory --- where the attendee is part of the show. This year you can not only sign up for yoga classes, but you can also sign up to be in a burlesque show and in the Bread & Puppet performance. It's very different then staring at a stage for 8 hours – it is experiential.
Besides the original location (July 28-30) and Brooklyn appetizer (as Jeff calls it), other comfirmed stops for 2011 are Standard Spa in Miami Beach (March 17-20) and Stratton Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont (June 23-26).
Thanks to Erin for making this Interview possible. I hope I can make it to Vermont event for at least a day and catch the vibe.
(* all images courtesy of Wanderlust Festival from 2010 program, top Honey Brothers with Amanda Palmer, bottom DJ Seth Lightcap)