Flomotion Dance @ Wisdom on Wellness Festival
Dancing outdoors is so fun!
This year, Flomotion Dance was lucky enough to appear on the main stage at the Wisdom on Wellness Festival in Cobham, Surrey. It's a small festival with lots going on: endless stalls of Psychics and Tarot Readers, crystals of every shape and size, massage, meditation, whole foods, juices, poetry-writing, coaching, cacao ... the works.
There was a large marquee with people giving inspirational talks and a main stage with music, yoga, mediation, dancing, performances and more.
Flomotion was given a late morning slot, and despite some rain on the first day people were drawn to the feel good factor of dance. Young and old joined in, the more faint hearted stood under parasols, beer in hand, feet tapping to the beat. Women from a nearby belly-dancing workshop showed up in bright colours and spangly scarves waving colourful streamers.
Even when it's raining at a festival, people are determined to have a good time. Perhaps the long, dark winters in the UK leave us pent up and itching to celebrate in the Great Outdoors. Come the summer, people want to get out, get together, have fun. We do festivals well in the UK.
Feeling Good in Hard Times
Perhaps also the near-memory of Lockdown and being isolated at home, many people without gardens, is also adding to the drive towards finding merriment and mirth outside in nature. The UK festival 'market' is estimated to be worth £3bn, ranging from the super-elite black tie Henley festival, through the bigger and smaller traditional live music festivals, through to local festivals that happen nationwide on village greens and in city neighbourhoods.
Going to Glastonbury in the 80s was a highlight of my youth, hanging out all day and partying all night. I remember encountering 'The Green Field' (now 'Green Fields'). It felt like another Universe with it's emphasis on environment, peace and healing. Sober, child-friendly, wholesome, it was not the main attraction for me in those hedonistic times.
Health and Wellness
Some decades later, Health and Wellness have grown massively at festivals as they have in society in general. We understand more about stress and the impact it can have on our mental and physical health, and festivals are the perfect place to take time to wind down and try something life-enriching and new, enhanced by the outdoor experience.
We all know that we feel better when we are in nature. It was in the 1980s that the Japanese developed Shinrin-yoku ('taking in the forest atmosphere'). The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests.'
Ecotherapy was developed in the 1990s. It's a diverse set of activities that use nature and nature-based pursuits as a form of behavioural health intervention.
Disconnection from the natural world is seen to be associated with mental health problems. The antidote is to get back into nature, taking in the elements and breathing fresh air. Outdoor festivals, especially those in a rural setting, are the perfect opportunity to improve mood and counter disconnection.
A Giant Pop Up
There's something else about festivals: they're like one Giant Pop Up event. The unpredictability of the weather and the impermanence of an experience that is only available for one or two days' makes it more attractive to break with 'normal' patterns and habits. This not -to-be-repeated experience is liberating.
A good example of this came during the Wisdom on Wellness Festival. We were a group of 12 people who had danced together in the morning and were waiting for Amanda Penalver's True Rest Meditation to appear on stage later in the day. Someone said they could do with some rest time so we trooped into an open field area, laid out picnic blankets and camping chairs, and collectively had a nap in the afternoon sunshine. It is hard to imagine this happening in any other setting!
Add in Dance
Most festivals will involve some kind of dance. Why? because it's a very particular human way of having fun and connecting with others. It was estimated that there were 120,000 people dancing to Elton John's headline act at Glastonbury this year. Quite a crowd! Quite an atmosphere!
For those who don't want to indulge in drugs and alcohol, Ecstatic Dance is now quite commonly found at festivals. A chance to let your hair down, release stress, have fun, make connections, feel emodied and present. What's not to like?
Flomotion will be making an appearance at more festivals in the coming year. Checkout the schedule on the home page to see the latest. And in the meanwhile if you want some feel-good to get you through the dark and cold months, come and revive yourself at our dancing home in Archway ... Everyone (and I mean, Everyone) will be warmly welcomed!