(Main image by David Savill Photography: www.davidsavillphotography.co.uk)
Based in the glorious Cotswolds, Soul Circus is the brainchild of husband and wife team Ella and Roman Wroath who created the festival to offer a new take on the increasingly popular yoga lifestyle.
Yoga. Pilates. Mindfulness. Wellness. Eat Clean. Fitspo. Words that are bounded around on social media by glossy haired beauties with envy inducing glowing skin, but what is it all actually about? Fashionable healthy living has been gaining traction over the last few years, but despite dipping in and out of pilates classes, running occasionally and knowing how to pronounce quinoa properly, I’ve not quite been bitten by the wellness bug as yet.
My normal festival experiences are rather on the hedonistic side and normally require a week off post festival to recover, so I wasn’t quite sure what I would make of Soul Circus. Now in its second year, the yoga and wellness festival claims to be the definition of balance, offering something for everyone and caring for mind, body and soul. Despite the cynic in me, the experience definitely didn’t disappoint.
Set in the always appealing Cotswolds, surrounded by rolling hills and even boasting its own lake, you really couldn’t have picked a more idyllic spot for a festival. Perfect for the first time festival goer or those on their own, the site is deliciously intimate so you don’t spend your entire time running between different fields to see everything. The car park was only a minute’s walk to the campsite, making the dreaded unpacking of the car a breeze and the pretty tipi filled main arena was only a five minute walk away.
As promised, Soul Circus really did offer something for everyone. A packed programme of yoga, pilates and spin classes every day catered for all abilities, as well as talks and workshops on everything from mindfulness to eating well. In addition to other brilliant speakers, I went to see the surprisingly inspiring Will Young of Pop Idol fame talk passionately about his battle with anxiety and Maxi Jazz from Faithless discuss his Buddhism journey. The team behind the festival’s commitment to locally sourced produce and sustainability was admirable and their passion for what they do was clear when talking to them about their vision.
After a relaxing day spent mostly eating offerings from the fabulous Solar Kitchen, Saturday took on a completely different vibe once the sun had disappeared. Despite assuming that the wholesome yogis at Soul Circus would be tucked up in their tents for an early night, bottles of organic Champagne and cans of well chosen craft beer were flowing and the main tent was full
of festival goers dancing to some frankly brilliant bands curated by Ben Guilding, Josh Dean from The Inexplicables and Ben Hockman. The cherry on top was an incredible headline set from the super friendly Maxi Jazz who didn’t disappoint, finishing with the classic anthem Insomnia.
I’ve never been one to enjoy waking up in a tent the morning after the night before but Soul Circus had a few tricks up its sleeve to ease my pain. Hot showers, fresh coffee, a selection of wholesome breakfasts almost too pretty to eat, a Thai massage in the festival’s own spa and then soaking in a wooden hot tub overlooking the lake really took the edge off. Utter bliss.
Soul Circus managed to achieve exactly what it set out to do, encouraging people to run away to the circus with them and invest a little time in themselves. Seeing so many people from different walks of life get together and support each other really was inspiring, despite my reservations. The overall vibe was friendly and relaxed, with absolutely no judgement. Without even knowing it, an escape from the daily grind and a bit of time to regroup my thoughts was just what I needed.
Early bird tickets for Soul Circus 2018 are onsale at www.soulcircus.yoga now.
Images by David Savill Photography: www.davidsavillphotography.co.uk