Tuesday 16 January 2018

Afternoon tea, laughter yoga and no phones: Are relaxation festivals set to be the next wellness trend?

A crowd gathers after 'Morning Gloryville' rave at Innocent Unplugged Festival
A crowd gathers after 'Morning Gloryville' rave at Innocent Unplugged Festival
Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

The traditional Irish festival experience usually involves donning your wellingtons and sipping warm cans of cider - but a new type of festival looks set to change all of that.

When was the last time you attended a festival without checking in on Facebook, praising the artist on Twitter, debating over which filters to use on your Instagram post and live-streaming the evening via Snapchat?

But what if the music event you were at encouraged you to turn off your smartphone at the entrance gate? Would you engage more with your fellow revellers and become more immersed in the whole experience without needing to digitally share every moment?

Such was the premise of a weekend "off the grid" recently hosted by Innocent Drinks in Kent.

"Innocent Unplugged" was held in the beautiful countryside woodlands of the St.Clere estate in Kemsing, Kent - an idyllic setting where there was no WI-FI or 3g for those who were planning to secretly defy the ban on technology.

The drinks brand didn't stop at cellphones either, there was no traditional electricity used over the course of the two days. Instead, everything was powered by pedal bikes and a giant hamster wheel, which attendees were encouraged to give a helping hand on.

As no-one at the festival was concerned with scrolling through their newsfeeds and posting status updates, the real life connections were all the more engaging and authentic.

The 1,500 strong crowd spent their time enjoying the moment, eating delicious, organic foods, bathing in outdoor hot tubs and taking part in laughter yoga. Even when everyone arose from their tents bleary eyed after late night drinks and dancing on the Sunday morning, they simply cracked a carton of coconut water and  took part in a 'Morning Gloryville' rave - sure, with no camera phones to remind you of your hungover head and embarrassing dancing later on in the week, why wouldn't you!

Our neighbours across the pond have been endorsing "soul-nourishing" elements to festivals for some time now.

Perhaps it's time that we take a leaf out of their book and remember what a festival is really supposed to be about: Escapism, discovery, and losing your inhibitions.

Most importantly, creating memories that can't be summed up in a 140 character Tweet and mental images that don't need a filter.

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