Spring is here, which means that the wellness festival season is well underway.

For those of you planning to attend your first ever wellness or fitness festival this year, we’ve put together 10 tips and ideas to help you get the most out of it.

I’ve worked in the fitness industry for a couple of years now. I’ve also had a passion for wellness and exercise for as long as I can remember.

But although I’ve always loved the look of these wellness festivals, (loads of different exercise classes on offer, foodie freebies and health brands galore – what’s not to like?) I’ve never actually felt brave enough to attend one.

Perhaps I felt a bit intimidated by the thought of all those super-fit girls and guys breezing their way through each of the classes.

This year, however, I finally took the plunge and signed myself up for my first ever wellness festival, Balance Festival in London.

And, you know what – I loved it.

To spare you any pre-first festival nerves, Complete Pilates have put together 10 tips and insights so that you can feel prepared for what is in store…

wellness festival - balance festival logo

The Balance Festival – A wellness festival in London

1. Choose your wellness festival wisely

Probably the most important piece of advice for any wellness festival newbie is to choose the right one for you.

There are loads of different festivals out there. And whilst they might all fall into the “wellness” category, take a closer look and you’ll see that they all offer something a little different.

Some are more focused on Yoga and meditation, whilst others specialise in HIIT and weighted workouts.

You’ll also find some specialised nutrition and foody ones as well.

Having been bombarded with glossy tube ads promoting Balance, I ended up choosing it for my first venture into the world of festivals.

And it didn’t disappoint. Balance offered up a great mix of food and fitness, with some interesting exercise clothing brands exhibiting as well.

Balance festival might have been and gone. But there are plenty more coming up that you can get your lycra-clad legs to this summer.

Here are some of the best:

The Grand Gathering: Looking for something a little more peaceful than the usual heart-pumping sweat fest?

The Grand Gathering is an evening of mass meditation held by Michael James Wong, Modern Meditator and Social Change Maker, in the imposing space of the British Museum in London.

Date: 18th June 2018

Cost: £13.16

Sweatlife: Like Balance, Lulu Lemon’s event is a London-based weekend festival and will be held at the Tobacco Dock in East London.

This festival emphasises its Yoga offerings but, as the name suggests, you’re going to come away sweaty from these classes feeling like you’ve had a workout.

Date: 23rd-24th June 2018

Cost: From £30

LoveFit: A mixture of exciting wellness and exercise events all held in the open air at the St Clere Estate near London.

Experts in functional bodybuilding and calisthenics, Farm Fitness, will be hosting classes and there will be an open-air spin studio. You’ll also find plenty of interesting talks and food stalls to get stuck into.

Date: 20th-22nd June 2018

Cost: £99

FloVibe: FloVibe is a long weekend of live music offering a mixture of dance, fitness, yoga and – yay – Pilates! There will also be meditation events, talks with industry experts, pop ups and more. The event is held at Stansted Park, Rowland’s Castle.

Date: 10th-12th August 2018

Cost: From £80

2. Get organised

Once you’ve chosen your wellness festival and bought your ticket, it is a good idea to check out the schedule of events.

There are so many events, talks and classes on offer at these festivals – as you’ll soon discover. So if you want to get to all the ones that interest you then you’ll probably need to do a little planning, taking into account what time and where they are being held.

Being new to the wellness festival game you might not know that not all classes or talks allow you to just drop-in. That being the case, it is a good idea to do some extra research about which classes are included in your ticket and which ones you have to buy entrance for.

Places to classes and talks are also sometimes limited, so for the popular ones you might need to book online before you attend the festival.

Forward planning in this way has its advantages though – it gives you the chance to figure out just how many classes, talks, Q&As and meditation sessions you can fit into 24 hours!

wellness festival - third space

3. Do your wellness festival research

Alongside the exercise classes, most festivals will host a range of interesting exhibitors, including food pop-ups and fitness clothing stalls. You’ll also find a range of different talks and Q&As taking place.

You definitely won’t be bored with all this on offer. But you may find that the sheer amount of choice, along with the number of people to contend with, a little overwhelming when you’re trying to do a little light retail shopping – or sampling some delicious food.

So, again, planning ahead might be a good idea on this front.

Find out the stalls that interest you and make sure you carve out some time to get to them before you leave.

You’ll also need to leave plenty of time to get to the talks you want to attend – spaces are sometimes limited so you’ll want to get in there early to reserve a seat.

4. Bring a friend

This might seem obvious, but bringing a friend (or two) to one of these wellness festivals will make you feel much braver when it comes to trying out new classes.

Sure, they’re not going to be able to prevent you from collapsing whilst attempting something acrobatic on the TRX – but at least you’ll have people to laugh about it with.

If you’re a bit short on fitness loving pals, it might even be a good idea to find some like-minded people from your regular Yoga, Pilates or gym class to go with.

These events are a great opportunity for you to bond with new and old friends over a shared interest in matcha tea and meditation.

5. Fuel up

It is easy to hop from one HIIT class, to a Yoga session, to a barre class with little break at these wellness festivals.

If you’re planning to do just that then it is obviously important to eat enough food and drink plenty of water to set you up for the day.

You’re unlikely to starve at one of these events though if you’ve forgotten to do that – there will be most likely be loads of delicious food on offer that day.

A small piece of advice though. Whilst you’ll definitely want to sample the food, it might not be a good idea to stuff yourself on all the vegan, gluten free goodies on offer before doing a Barry’s Bootcamp. Just a thought…

wellness festival - a basket of fresh salad and vegetables

6. Dress to impress (and for practicality)

There is nothing worse than turning up to a day of working out wearing uncomfortable clothes.

You may want to be Instagram ready in your picture-perfect outfit, but the last thing you need is your sports bra riding up when you are mid-downward dog.

Keeping this in mind, it is worth thinking ahead and considering the sheer number of different classes you may be doing over that day/weekend. Then choose your outfit accordingly.

Don’t fret if you do find yourself needing a quick change of attire at one of these events though.

Most of these wellness festivals have plenty of fitness clothes on sale – and there will often be lesser-known boutique labels exhibiting. Making this the perfect excuse (as if you needed one) to pick up a new pair of leggings.

7. Bring a towel and a change of clothes

On that note, it is likely that you’re going to be sweating quite a lot and some festivals don’t have showers. They do, however, usually have changing rooms and lockers for you to store your items.

So come prepared. Bring a towel and a change of clothes so that you can refresh before your next class.

8. Don’t be shy

If you’ve never been to a festival like this before, you might never have thought of this.

But, depending on the wellness festival venue, you may get some people watching you as you attempt to burpee and squat.

For some people this won’t be an issue. For others it makes participating – and enjoying these classes – a little difficult.

But there is a solution. Head to an outdoor festival, like Lovefit. You’re less likely to get any lingering looks whilst you get your sweat on in a field.

wellness festival - underground studio with individuals on fitness equipment and mood lighting

9. Balance it out

There will be so many events on offer that you may be tempted to go all guns blazing and try out every single HIIT, kettlebell or TRX class on offer.

But take it easy. You don’t want to fatigue and then end up hurting yourself during a frenzied kettle bell swing.

Instead, choose a good mixture of high intensity and slower, more mindful movement to make sure you get the most out of your day. And come away in once piece!

10. Sweat, Smile, Repeat

Hopefully your first wellness festival experience will be as fun as it is sweaty (with the help of these pointers). So much so that you’ll want to sign up to another one.

Mine was. In fact, I enjoyed Balance so much that I’ve booked my next festival already.

This time I’ve gone for an open-air venue though and will be doing my Pilates “hundreds” and Yoga “asanas” in the sunshine in a field. Bliss!

Education is key:

These blogs are designed to give information to everyone, however, it is important to remember that everyone is different! If you have not seen one of our therapists and have any questions about injuries, what you have read or whether this may be useful to you, please just ask.

At Complete Pilates we would advise you to always speak to your doctor, physiotherapist, or clinical Pilates instructor here at Complete Pilates if you are worried about starting a new exercise regime.
We are more than happy to help anyone and point you in the right direction. Our biggest belief is that education is key. The more you understand about your injury, illness and movement, the more you are likely to improve.