Interest in ‘wellness’ – an awareness of and the decision to pursue a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle is booming. In London we are spoilt for choice of vegan cafés, smoothie bars, seitan-based fast-food joints and yoga and meditation classes. This January 50,000 people have reportedly signed up to participate in Veganuary, pledging to begin 2018 with a month free of animal products. From a campaign that began 3 years ago with just 3,000 sign ups the growth in support is significant and indicative of a broader shift in mentality towards healthier lifestyles.
The shift in mentality has also begun to permeate festivals and the music industry, and a recent article on Resident Advisor got us thinking more about the relationship between wellness and dance music. Although not an obvious pairing the partnership is flourishing. Wellness music events like Morning Gloryville have proved hugely popular, and dedicated wellness areas offering massage and mediation are becoming a common fixture at festivals; as are festival spas with hot tubs, wild swimming and luxury toilet and shower facilities.
Some festivals have even chosen to reject the traditional music festival model altogether by focusing on wellness first and music and partying second. In Croatia, the island of Obonjan offers a welcome alternative to the many dance music festivals with a two-month long programme of music, talks, art, health and workshops in July and August. The emphasis is on an experience that resonates far longer than a few days at a festival and leaves guests feeling rejuvenated.
Djs and musicians have also begun speaking out about the negative impact the industry can have on mental health, where an unstable life of all night shows and international travel fuel insomnia, anxiety and other mental illnesses. A British study published last year found that musicians could be up to three times more likely than average to suffer from depression or anxiety.
Wellness offers something new, the opportunity to escape based around a more rewarding quest for relaxation, revitalisation and self-improvement. It is likely that this movement will continue as the quest for hedonism and well-being interlink. If festivals are to continue to appeal broadly to the masses it is likely that there will be a greater shift towards encouraging wellness and an increase in dedicated wellness festivals.
At We Are The Fair we’ve been active in the promotion of wellness. We have worked with organisations and brands such as World Rally Championship, Greater London Authority, Lawn Tennis Association, Roland Garros, UK Hockey and the UK School Games.
The high profile outdoor events we have produced have been designed to create excitement around play, physical activity and healthy eating, encouraging audiences to engage in sport and to develop skills and values including teamwork, determination, motivation, passion and self-belief. Our involvement in the health & wellbeing sector will continue to develop and we are expecting to see a greater emphasis on wellness across the events and music industry in 2018.