Sure, it may sound slightly contradictory—meditative chants and focused warrior poses juxtaposed with beer and indie beats—but after experiencing this weekend's Wanderlust festival firsthand, I was eager to defend the bohemian concept to all my cynical friends. I was scoffed at for attending such a "crunchy" event, but I am NOT a tie-dye wearing yogi and this affair was NOT the hippy-dippy peacefest that skeptics made it out to be. A little reminiscent of Burning Man, maybe, but I'm choosing instead to coin it more of a new age kind of lovefest. Downward dog with yoga hotshot Shiva Rea by morning, folky tunes with Jenny Lewis and Gilian Welch by day and party with fire dancers and DJs by night—Wanderlust proved to be an exercise of balance on all levels.
From Kula flow to self massage with balls (we had to try it for the name alone), there was a class to fit every personality and even news of headliner Michael Franti's cancellation (due to appendicitis) didn't get the collective "us" down. The weather couldn't have been nicer nor the mountain backdrop more picturesque and the plethora of delightful distractions equalled endless entertainment over the course of three days. Highlights included the humble William Fitzsimmons strumming sad songs on the village's small stage, an improvising Andrew Bird (half of his equipment never arrived and he had to borrow from fellow performers), a spastic Gregg Gillis throwing down mashup mayhem as Girl Talk, sustainable clothing vendors, free Stonyfield yogurt samples, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, ice sculptures and gondola rides galore.
With so much going on, the festival could easily have been a disaster, but instead, every detail—from the perfectly on-schedule music lineup to the carefully chosen yoga classrooms—seemed to have gone off flawlessly. It's hard to believe that this was Wanderlust's first year. Hats off to organizers Jeff Krasno and Schuyler Grant and everyone else involved in pulling off such an awe-inspiring weekend. Maybe there is a bit of hippie deep down inside me, but I'm willing to embrace that and I look forward to championing this festival all over again next year.