Summer is alive and well, and that means one thing: It's music festival season. While these weekends are fun-filled and touted by some as "the best weekend of my life!!" they can certainly wreak havoc on your body. When you think of Bonnarro and Lollapalooza you probably don't think of a healthy getaway. Well, think again.
This year, a SHAPE editor and I attended Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE, which is quickly living up to its claim as being "The East Coast's Premier Music Experience." Debuting last year, the attendance grew from 30,000 daily attendees to more than 65,000 this year, and headliners included Tom Petty and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Granted, I'd never been to a music festival before, but what my health-conscious eyes saw was not what I was expecting.
"Since Firefly's inception last year, we wanted to create an overall comfortable experience for our guests to listen to music, partake in other experiences, and also have multiple options to maintain their daily routines when it comes to eating healthy and being fit. We didn't want to have only typical festival food and have our guests undo their healthy ways when coming for the weekend," says Lauren Shield from Red Frog Events who organized the festival.
Other music festivals have been hopping on the healthy train in the past few years by offering everything from dietary restriction menus to early morning yoga classes, notably Bonarroo in Manchester, TN (June 13-16), Lollapalooza in Chicago (August 2-4), and Outside Lands in San Francisco, CA (August 9-11). Here are 10 reasons why you just might want to put a music festival on your summer to-do list:
1. Farmer's markets: Local farmers and produce providers are teaming up to offer wholesome, organic fare to festival goers. "The Lolla Farmers Market was introduced in 2010 not only to offer farm-to-festival fare but also to support small food producers and artisans from the Chicago area," says Emily Stengel, event services manager from C3 Presents, which is in charge of Lollapalooza's event organization.
2. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan fare: A highlight from Firefly's dietary restrictions menu is the moc and cheese (quinoa pasta with raw cashew cheddar). They even had gluten-free beer.
3. Pressed juices. Outside Lands offers Living Greens Juice, serving fresh pressed juices, Thai young coconuts, and hot detox tea.
4. Antioxidants: Forget the awful, sugary, brightly colored, watered-down mixed drinks. Festivals are offering wine and "vineyards." Biodynamic and organic wine to boot!
5. Yoga: Both Firefly and Bonnaroo offered early morning yoga this year.
6. Cardio: Bonnaroo held its first annual 5K race called "Roo-Run" this year. Also, you walk. Everywhere.
7. Water, water, and more water: Water stations are in abundance. You can even find filtered water stations, and Bonnaroo has water from the festival ground's own wells. (Although it's highly advisable to bring your own CamelBak.)
8. Bike valets: Outside Lands Festival encourages their attendees to stay active getting to and from the festival itself by providing bike valets.
9. Gardening: Outside Lands also features an Urban Gardening Workshop where festival goers can learn how to set up their own worm composting system at home.
10. Finally, some R&R: Firefly featured a wooded area called the "Hammock Hangout," where—you guessed it—hammocks were tied to trees and surrounded by TVs playing a Charlie Chaplin silent film. It felt like Narnia. Bonarroo offered mediation and breathing sessions in conjunction with its yoga program "Yoga-Roo."