THE Wanderlust festival will open for the second consecutive year at the Novotel Twin Waters resort tomorrow, bringing a four-day explosion in yoga tights and mindfulness to the Sunshine Coast.
The Sunshine Coast beat the home of hippie, Byron, to snag the event last year and festival director Jonnie Halstead said this year's event had grown in both ticket sales and physical size.
"We're 35% up on attendance numbers. We're just past 2500 and will probably get to 3000 by Saturday," he said.
Last year's event saw a trail of people wearing yoga tights and carrying water bottles into the resort from all directions, drawn by a program of yoga and meditation, music, leisure activities and good food.
Novotel Twin Waters has taken the unusual step of allocating space for camping this year so that more festival goers can stay on site and Mr Halstead said about 200 tent sites had already been booked.
"It means that once we sold out all the hotel rooms on site, we were able to get another 700-900 people camping, which is great," he said.
Mr Halstead said Novotel Twin Waters, along with the Sunshine Coast Council, Visit Sunshine Coast and Tourism Events Queensland had been supportive of the festival, which will be held for at least two more years at the resort.
"They are such friendly staff and that flows through to our attendees. They know we have a lot of happy, healthy, smiling people," he said.
The festival provides a shot in the arm to tourism in the region between the September school holidays and the busy Christmas period.
Mr Halstead said about 55% of ticket sales were to people from outside Queensland, with people coming from Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and other overseas locations.
He said the average Wanderlust-er was female, in her 30s, and "not too different from many of the girls on the Coast".
"They are people who are chasing a lifestyle of mindfulness. They are thinking about what they are doing with health and wellness, what they consume with food and diet," he said.
Mr Halstead said they were people seeking to give back to themselves in the company of like-minded people.
He said efforts had been made to get more locals involved in the festival this year with tickets that allowed them to experience parts of the festival and he welcomed people to wander through on Saturday for free to look at the markets and activities before perhaps buying a ticket.
Tickets range from $145 a day to $500 for four days but there are tickets can also be purchased separately for a Saturday night concert by Xavier Rudd, Deya Cova, Elija Ray and Tasha Blank for $48-$52, a vegan dinner, and "uncorked" Friday and Saturday evening sessions to sample craft beer and wine with live music.
Wanderlust is described in its own press release as a yoga lifestyle event but even Mr Halstead struggles to describe it to the uninitiated.
"It's a surprise and a delight. It's a really hard event for people to get their head around unless they've actually experienced it," he said.
"If you are inspired by wellness and yoga, I'd suggest buy a day ticket on the Friday or Saturday. You will not regret it. It's money well spent. We've got some of the best teachers globally - yoga teachers, celebrity chefs, green politicians."
For information, go to wanderlust.com/festivals/
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