Temperatures soared into the mid-90s in the High Sierra last weekend at the Squaw Valley installment of the Wanderlust Festival, the original site of the franchise yoga summit that happens now in several cities around the world. For the yoga types in attendance, this was no big deal, many of whom are accustomed to practicing in rooms that exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If anything, the temperatures fueled the party--which was in turn helped along by a rich and varied soundtrack of (mostly) trip-hop infused with a lot of tabla, harmonium, and dijeridoo.
While nobody really attends Wanderlust for the music per se--this is a yoga festival through and through--music intrinsically complements the practice, and the festival does a nice job of putting Coachella-level artists on the bill. So naturally, there are some great moments of music to take part in. Here are the five best from Wanderlust at Squaw Valley 2013.
5. Bob Marley yoga session Sure, it might seem like a cliche mixing yoga with reggae music as the two are such compatible bedfellows, which is why the lyrics to "Redemption Song" are painted on the walls of many yoga studios. Nonetheless, instructor Chris Calarco's session spoke directly to honor Bob's music--and he threw in some deep cuts, too. For example, during "Small Axe," he dissected Marley's lyric: If you are the big tree / We are the small axe / Sharpened to cut you down / Ready to cut you down, likening one's yoga practice to the small axe, and big tree is all that we overcome. It might have been the hip-openers, but damn, it was emotionally uplifting.
4. Beastie Yogi with MC Yogi & DJ Drez This session was about as bangin' as anything yoga-related could possibly get. This was due in large part to LA hip-hop beatmaker DJ Drez's turntable work that mixed-and-mashed Beastie Boys instrumentals while MC-turned-yoga instructor MC Yogi--perhaps the essential embodiment of what Wanderlust is--led the session through a dance-y vinyasa workout that climaxed in a 30-second Flash Dance-style freak out during "Intergalactic Planetary." It basically blew off everyone's Lululemons right then and there.
3. Saturday Pool Party with DJ HyFi & DJ Dragonfly At 8,200 feet above sea level, the High Camp pool party was the place to rage during daylight hours. Acroyogis putting on impromptu tandem shows in line for the tram up the mountain; hard-bodies congregating poolside riding waves of endorphins and mild beer buzz; a stunning panoramic view of the High Sierras; actressTia Carrere still looking hot (schwiiing!); all set to a pumping soundtrack of wobble bass electro with occasional classic rock cuts, courtesy of DJs HyFi and Dragonfly. OK, typically, that isn't all that cool, but in this kind of setting, one loses the ability to be a genre snob.
2. Quixotic File this show under "WTF Did I Just See?" Think of this ensemble as a raver Cirque de Soliel; acrobatic dancing infused with laser lights, set to fuzzed-out progressive trip-hop plus a live violin and some gothic appeal. Quixotic took the stage Saturday night at sundown, the decidedly go-hard party night of the festival; they were a perfect match for the yoga set looking to bend their minds a little bit sans the traditional party chemicals. High art in a party atmosphere, an intriguing surprise for a mostly-unfamiliar audience.
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1. Moby's acoustic set The festival's Savasana set, a nice chill-out after a long, hot weekend of hard work and hard play. Moby's guitar skills are sufficient albeit rudimentary, and this set was anchored by the powerful female vocalist, Kelli Scar. The set comprised of songs from Moby's Wait for Me record, older hits like "Natural Blues," and "We Are All Made of Stars," (great tune for a yoga high) and standby classic rock covers, like "A Whole Lotta Love," and "Me and Bobby McGee," which Moby dutifully noted is a Kris Kristofferson song, not a Janis Joplin song. Cred points right there. Everyone sat down for the show so that all in attendance could see, and it was thankfully organic--no electronic trip-hop tabla to be heard. Ahhh.
Additional reporting by Lilledeshan Bose