This year, the Wanderlust Festival in Tahoe/Squaw Valley starts on my birthday and I thought it would be a perfect way to celebrate. Four full days of yoga with some of the most well known yogis during the day and music to fill your evenings. A friend of mine went to the Wanderlust Festival in Oahu and raved about it. She also mentioned her boyfriend had access to a cabin in Tahoe that we could use at no cost for this festival. I assumed with lodging taken care of, this would make the festival a bit more financially accessible. So I went onto the site and checked out ticket prices and financial accessibility went out the door. 4-day passes are $475 and 3-day passes are $395! If you did the full four days and had to pay for travel/lodging/food, this festival would cost close to $1,000. Who are they targeting to attend this festival?? Clearly, not unemployed people like me. Even when I was working, this would have been difficult to manage.
Earlier this year, I wanted to attend the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco and tickets were EXPENSIVE. I don’t remember the exact cost when I looked late last year (close to $1,000 is what I’m coming up with), but early bird prices for the 2014 conference is $600. Add lodging, travel, and food to that and well, you know what I’m getting at.
There is a way to participate in these yoga getaways for a fraction of the registration cost. As with many conferences and events of this scale, there are typically volunteer or work-exchange opportunities, which I have done in the past but for work-related events. Both Wanderlust and Yoga Journal Conference have these volunteer/work-exchange opportunities.
For Wanderlust, they look for volunteers to fill a minimum of three shifts starting the weekend prior to the event to the Monday after. Shifts are 5-6 hours each and you are given one day off where you can schedule classes like everyone else. You also have access to all the music events as well as some swag from the sponsors. There is an application fee of $15. Check out Wanderlust’s volunteer page for more information.
For the Yoga Journal Conference, you will need to be available for a full FIVE days without any other commitments. You work up to 16 hours, with many of the shifts being a door monitor, and are not guaranteed any classes. Here’s the part I don’t like. You have to pay them a “nominal” fee of $200 as a commitment to work the conference. You will be rated on your performance and if you meet their standards, you will get $100 back a month later. So you are still out $100 in addition to all the other expenses you might incur. Check out Horizon Conference’s info page for more details about YJ’s Work Exchange Program (they manage YJ’s conferences).
If you are interested, sign up early! For both of these opportunities, I see it as a way to get a feel for the festival and the inner workings of these large events, network with others in the yoga community, and the bonus are the workshops and the classes. I most likely won’t go this route for Wanderlust if I somehow magically come up with the funds (birthday present, anyone?) but I’m thinking about it for the YJ Conference in SF in 2014 since I’ll be living up there.