By Miriam Pethania
You’ve got the first Soul Circus event under your belt already. How did you find your first experience of running a festival; especially a yoga festival?
It was as close to having a baby as you can get ... without actually having a baby! It was like labour - painful, terrifying, amazing and phenomenal; all at the same time.
You’ve just had your second baby not too long ago and you’re gearing up for your second festival now. You didn’t get put off by the first time then?!
It was the feeling afterwards that made it all worthwhile! The concept of bringing everyone together - family, friends and like-minded people celebrating yoga, well-being and friendship. It’s not very often that that happens and when you get that feeling you realise how many amazing people you’re surrounded by. We created something really unique last year and owe everything to all the teachers, the team and everyone who supported us.
How did you think the experience was for the festival guests?
The feedback we got afterwards was fantastic. Managing a festival, when you’re in the field, can feel like a war zone at times! This was evident throughout the weekend as we spent most of time running around resolving issues such as fencing blowing over and pitching tents that had fallen foul of the weather! We were so busy taking care of everything else that we didn’t really get to see all the things that were going right. It all calmed down a bit on Sunday and the sun even made an appearance! It was so nice to take a step back and actually enjoy it. People were having a great time and it was a really successful weekend. I even managed to do a class with Taylor Harkness and managed to step into the role of a guest rather than the festival organiser; I couldn’t believe what an amazing experience it actually was.
It was good that you got to experience the festival, rather than just being behind the scenes the whole time; can you elaborate some more?
I’m so glad that I did. It would have been easy to get caught up with the festival and taking care of things, but I forced myself out of that role. Having run a yoga studio, I know what it’s like to not practice yoga and just run the business. Sometimes you can lose that magic, especially if all you do is work, work, work, work, work! You have to do the fun stuff too, so you can feel what other people are feeling; otherwise you can end up losing your way. I’m glad that I convinced myself to participate, as sometimes you just have to force yourself to just do some f**ing yoga!
That could be the tagline for the festival! So what’s your vision for Soul Circus 2017?
I think what makes it work so well is bringing together teachers that we really believe in and love, whilst working more with people from the local area. We want to bring yoga and wellness into the modern lifestyle through diverse, creative and at times, luxury experiences.
Sustainability has been an important part of the manifesto for Soul Circus, will that be influencing this year’s festival experience?
Yes, that is something we really want to focus on. Being a yoga festival, sustainability and working with the land is really important. We also aim to bring in more brands from the local area and further afield to widen the experience that people have. In addition to this we are planning an increasing number of talks, workshops and events to help satisfy the increasing demand. There will be lots more going on and every year it will be growing and changing. We’ve found that there isn’t anything else like this happening in the UK, so we’ll be evolving more in the future to keep everyone on their toes!
So whilst there will be lots of yogis coming, what will there be for their friends, partners and families who might not be such yoga fanatics?
We’ve been working on that, as we don’t want it to be too heavy on just yoga and well-being; it is a festival after all, so it has to be fun! We want to create a festival that incorporates yoga, but isn’t hard-core 'yoga'. We’ve got great chefs coming on board with amazing dining experiences and a new look 'Circus Kitchen Café' and a comprehensive bar (and champagne bar) so you can sit and have a drink. We'll have a 'spin tipi', so people can try out more fitness experiences with a nightclub-esque spin work out. There will be some great music running throughout the festival, with acoustic tunes during the day and more of a party vibe at night. With all this going on we'll be working extra hard to make it all as harmonious as possible. Our latest idea is to have a 'man cave' for any chaps that want to escape to “safe place”.
One of my favourite things about Soul Circus last year was that it was quite an intimate vibe. Even though there were lots of people, it still felt friendly and cosy. As you grow and get bigger how will that change?
We don’t want to spoil that experience, where it becomes quite faceless. We will be capping numbers each year to make sure we don't stretch ourselves too far and lose the whole point of the festival. One of the things people really enjoyed about last year was that everyone knew who we were, they knew who was managing things and everyone really appreciated that. A lot of people felt comfortable coming on their own, which you wouldn’t normally get at a mainstream festival, because they knew they’d be looked after and have a great time. We're working incredibly hard to keep that vibe and maintain that sense of community.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m looking forward to enjoying the festival a bit more, knowing that we created something fantastic and being safe in that knowledge. Last year we knew it was a great idea, but weren’t sure how it would work; It was like a tsunami coming! This year we’ll be bolder and braver, enjoy it all and relax a bit more, whilst doing more yoga in the process!
Tickets are still available via our website here: