Ready for a Different Kind of Outdoor Festival?

Swap gumboots for a yoga mat and overpriced booze for empowerment classes: welcome to Wanderlust.


We’ve all been there: knee deep in mud, two days past your non-shower expiry date, wondering if the outdoor music festival scene is still really ‘your scene’. Seemingly in answer to your doubts is Wanderlust, an outdoor festival of a different, more mindful kind. Touted as an “all-out celebration of mindful living”, Wanderlust is the intersection of yoga, meditation, music, speakers, artists and chefs that meet for less of ‘festival’ and more of a ‘transformational retreat’ with backdrops of perfectly inspiring natural landscapes (this year’s American locations include the serene surrounds of North Lake Tahoe in California and the lush green forests of Aspen’s Snowmass).

It’s a holistic festival, which aims to stimulate your ears (with a line-up of great music), eyes (did you see those lush, towering mountains surrounding the crowds of people?) and your mind (yoga, new friends and thought-provoking speakers are part and parcel of the Wanderlust experience). Plus, don’t grapple with a tent: places to bunk are all included in the ticket price.

“Wanderlust is about the individual, about each attendee finding their true north, and for everyone that is different,” Brand Manager of Wanderlust’s Australia and New Zealand counterparts Jacque Halstead explains. “No two schedules look the same, just as no two individuals are exactly the same. And everyone is welcome and feels welcome! It is highly curated, very accessible, plus it leaves attendees feeling better than when they came.”

Conceived by New York natives Jeff Krasno, Schyler Grant and Sean Hoess, Wanderlust began in Squaw Valley, California in 2009 in response to the growing (and raging) festival scene in the States. Eager to create an exciting, alternative experience (sans alcohol and drugs) for festival goers. Forget the excessive, (and often synthetic) energy of your average outdoor music festival: Wanderlust encourages a more wholesome festival experience: day events include hikes, classes, workshops and inspiring lectures. Night is reserved for music and dancing, with everything wrapping up at a respectable hour so you can continue your experience in good spirits for the next morning.

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Although Wanderlust began in the US, it’s thanks to Jacque and Jonnie Halstead that the festival can now be experienced on local shores in Australia and New Zealand.

“We reached out to Jeff Krasno in 2013 looking for some advice on how to create something similar in this part of the world,” Jacque tells Collective Hub. “Jonnie is a music festival producer from way back, and I am a yoga teacher. After the birth of our first son, we both started to question what we were doing and why we doing it. How could we create a positive legacy for our kids that would help to leave this world in a better place for them and their children?”

“For many years, I worked on creating a business plan for a yoga studio/community hub and Jonnie worked on creating zero waste music festivals. It became obvious to us that we needed to team up to really be successful. After we reached out to Jeff, he responded within 12 hours and the partnership snowballed from there.”

And while the initial meeting of minds took very little time at all, executing the festival is a whole other story.

A photo posted by Wanderlust (@wanderlustfest) on

“Creating a festival is not easy, so creating a festival with over 100 different activities over four days is a challenge at the best of times,” Jacque admits. “What it takes is passion for what you are doing, drive, a sense of humour, honesty and a lot of heart. We have team members, partners and sponsors that are amazing at what they do and it is important that they share our vision and also take ownership and pride in what they help create.”

That core team is a group of eight steady employees, with extra members brought on periodically to help bring each festival to life as they happen. The Australian Wanderlust team also continues to work closely with their partners in Brooklyn, New York and Hollywood, which house an additional 100 team members who “help to bend trends globally and make mindfulness more accessible,” Jacque explains.

And while you’d think it would be tricky to narrow down highlights of a festival with such a wide range of experiences (is it tricky, Jacque assures us), she’s got a few personal highlights: previous speaker Claudine Lafond and her class, ‘Yoga, Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ and a Bob Marley-themed One Love dance party and women’s empowerment workshops that mix dancing and crying, all in one transformative experience are two of her favourites.

Keen to experience something a little more mindful? The city-based events, Wanderlust 108, are this year stopping in most major centres in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Germany, with almost 50 Wanderlust events happening across the globe. If that isn’t wanderlust, we don’t know what is.

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