The #1 Conscious Music Festival In The Country, BHAKTI FEST WEST Brings Music, Friends, Yoga and Love to Joshua Tree!
Posted On 10 Sep 2014
Tag: acro yoga, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Bhakti, Bhakti Fest, Bhakti Fest West, Bhakti Festival, Burning Man, conscious community, Deva Premal, Donna De L, Frank Lloyd Wright, indian music, InsightLA, Jai Uttal, Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree Retreat, kirtan, kirtan music, Krishna Das, Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe, Lloyd Wright, Madonna, Matisyahu, MC YOGI, Middle Eastern music, Music Festival, Ram Dass, sacred music, Salif Keita, Sean Johnson, Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band, Shiva Rea, Teeccino, Teeccino Herbal Coffee, TeeChia, TeeChia Gluten-Free cereal, Trudy Goodman, yoga
The #1 Conscious Music Festival In The Country Announces A Fresh New World Music Line-Up!
How does one describe a weekend filled with music, friends, delicious food, yoga, acro yoga and perhaps even a little rock climbing?
One word: Transcending
Bhakti Fest West, is not your usual festival of faux fur hip boots or oversized fluorescent sunglasses a la Burning Man, as my friend Tia explained. However, a few faux fur hip boots could be spotted but Bhakti is really for everyone. One can be embraced by the workshops, healing sanctuaries, chanting, and yoga.
It was a rather deeply personal weekend for me, as my Grandmother had just passed away. The location in the desert, could not have been better suited for healing and celebrating my Grandmother’s amazing 90 years on this beautiful earth. It was exactly where I should be and with an open mind, I was led to exactly what I needed.
Referred to as “The Spiritual Woodstock of The Millenium”, Bhakti Fest offers non-stop kirtan performances on two stages, with chanting in a wide of variety of musical genres ranging from blues, to rock, pop, gospel, traditional, and hip-hop. Bhakti Fest is a festival series that celebrates the devotional path that has its roots in yoga, kirtan, and meditation. It embraces ancient and modern sacred wisdom and traditional and non-traditional spiritual practices. All the artists, presenters, and vendors embody, practice, and share the spirit of Bhakti in a variety of ways, including continuous kirtan, yoga, meditations and prayer, workshops, fire ceremonies, an eco-friendly, holistic marketplace, healthy vegetarian cuisine, a wellness sanctuary including massage, bodywork, energy work, intuitive readings, and other unique life enhancing modalities. Bhakti Fest encourages the spirit of service and even offers a work exchange program. The festival donates monies to a variety of non-profit organizations that provide food, education, and environmental beautification programs around the world.
Bhakti Fest is the only festival of its kind. It returned to the Joshua Tree Retreat Center for the sixth year on Sept 4-7th, and was filled with a yoga and music line up like you’ve never seen (or heard) before. This high vibrational festival is a sacred gathering for friends, families, and community to come together in a safe and harmonious place.
You first have to understand something about the setting. Joshua Tree Retreat Center is a pretty special location uniquely located in Joshua Tree, California, only two hours from Los Angeles, San Diego, and 3 ½ hours from Las Vegas, Nevada, creating a distinctive vortex between three major (vital) cities. This land, though desert, rests upon an aquifer, a running river, producing an intriguing magnetic effect on those who enter this ancient and sacred space. Yogananda had walked this land in earlier times. It truly is a magical place. Most of the unique buildings on site were built by world-renowned architects, Frank Lloyd Wright and his son, Lloyd. Joshua Tree Retreat Center is unlike anything else with open spaces, sacred meditation locations, and serene vistas filled with native plants. It is very much a desert oasis but lucky for us campers, there were hidden gems of water fountains, a pool and showers to indulge in throughout the weekend.
We arrived on Thursday evening, the kick off to Bhakti Fest West by pitching our tent and heading right over to the outdoor amphitheater with earthen stage for a wonderful evening of events under the stars. Joining an already incredible festival line-up, was one of my favorites, American reggae rapper and alternative rock musician Matisyahu. Matisyahu is well known for his Top 40 hit “King Without a Crown” and #1 Billboard Digital Album “Youth”, which was nominated for the Best Reggae Album Grammy award. His two plus hour set felt like a living room performance.
The ground breaking afro-pop singer-songwriter from Mali, Salif Keïta (also known as “The Golden Voice of Africa”) and who was awarded Best World Music Grammy in 2010 for his piece “La Difference”also graced the stage with his presence. Returning headliners include Grammy nominated artists Krishna Das and Jai Uttal, Mantra masters Deva Premal and Miten, revolutionary hip-hop artist MC YOGI, long-time Madonna collaborator, Donna De Lory and so many more.
This year’s chant performer’s include, Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band, Prema Hara, Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe, Girish, Govind Das & Radha, DJ Drez, Fanna Fi Allah, David Newman, Amritakripa, Arjun Baba, Jaya Lakshmi & Ananda, Gina Sala, Karnamrita, and Brenda McMorrow.
Several thousand participants gained access to the world’s finest teachers of spiritual knowledge, yoga, dance, and breathwork. The festival featured twelve hours of daily yoga classes in 4 venues, facilitated by incomparable teachers Dharma Mittra (the founder of modern yoga), Shiva Rea, Saul David Raye, Bryan Kest, Mark Whitwell, Tim Miller, Sianna Sherman, Kia Miller, Sara Ivanhoe, Raghunath, Jules Febre, Govind Das & Radha, Bhava Ram & Laura Plumb, Mas Vidal, Sean Johnson, Saraswati Markus, Felicia Tomasko, Kristin Olson just to name a few.
The best part is that all levels were welcome. Beginner and advanced yogis alike were encouraged to join any class they desired. There was really something for everyone. Granted, I only lasted half way through in a very advanced Ashtanga yoga class, but it was so much fun regardless if I was able to fully complete each pose. I at least got a damn good stretch and my mind zenful.
The Bhakti Fest workshop offerings included the top Buddhist meditation teacher in the country, InsightLA’s Trudy Goodman, The Journey Home’s author and philanthropist Radhanath Swami, and breathwork phenomenon Michael Brian Baker. MBB’s class has been said “to provide a life changing experience.” As always Bhakti Fest brought an exclusive interview with Bhakti Elder, and conscious icon, Ram Dass, whose book “Be Here Now” brought Eastern philosophy to the West in the 1960s.
All of us “Bhaktas” as I called the attendees, feasted on a variety of delicious raw, vegan, vegetarian and high vibration food and beverage options. One of my most favorite vendors and discoveries at Bhakti was Teeccino Herbal Coffee who also makes a delicious TeeChia Gluten-Free Cereal too!
For those that may be curious about attending in the future, it is good to note that Bhakti Fest takes place in a family friendly safe environment, free of alcohol and drugs. Children 12 and under can attend for free and enjoy their own set of kid-oriented activities at the Bhakti Kidland area.
For more information please visit: