What is YogaFest?

YogaFest is a deeply nourishing four-day celebration of spirit, nature, community, service, and all things yoga. It is an immersive experience into your innermost bliss which offers ample, almost endless opportunities for exploring, experiencing, and living in attunement with your deeper spiritual nature. From quiet reflection in a serene natural environment to active movement in a vibrant and energetic atmosphere; from camping with friends and family to participating in a full and exciting slate of programs morning, day, and night - there is something for every sincere seeker of truth at YogaFest 2018. A partial list of what you can expect to encounter includes hatha, bhakti, jnana, kundalini, raja, and flow yoga classes; meditation, kirtan, workshops, hiking, camping, swimming, healing, art, music, dance, children’s programming, sacred ceremony, merchants, vendors, festivities, sustainability, mindfulness practices, spiritual discussions, and much, much more.

Where is YogaFest?

YogaFest is held at Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat in the northern woods of Michigan’s lower peninsula. To learn more about Song of the Morning, a year-round spiritual sanctuary for all truth thirsty souls, please visit our website. To get to the retreat, please follow these directions. It’s pretty straightforward to get here, but GPS will sometimes lead you astray so make sure to follow the directions on our website, and don’t turn on a dirt road unless you see the Song of the Morning sign (pictured top right).

When is YogaFest?

YogaFest 2018 will be held from Thurs. July 26 - Sun. July 29, 2018. Full festival passes and day passes are available at an extremely reasonable rate on our ticket purchase page.

Who is YogaFest for?

Everyone! Every sincere seeker of every age and ability is welcome at YogaFest 2018! From children through seniors, everyone will find specific programming suited to his or her constitution, not to mention plentiful opportunities to commune with like-minded and open-hearted people. YogaFest is a family-friendly event in which all are invited, and all are made to feel truly welcome. We have classes such as chair yoga and gentle movement for those who might be limited in motion, as well as vigorous acrobatic yoga and power yoga classes for the more adventurous among us. There are workshops and discussions of beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels covering subjects ranging from the esoteric to the universal. And YogaFest is an alcohol and drug free festival held at a year-round spiritual retreat, making it a wonderful opportunity for families to come closer together in a highly conscious environment. To foster this familial atmosphere and experience, teenagers are invited at half the adult price, and children 12 and under get in for free! We welcome all with love in their hearts to join us in celebrating the unity of divine spirit as it manifests through the vast diversity of all creations.

What will there be for kids to do at YogaFest?

We are in the process now of planning youth activities for YogaFest 2018, and will announce the specific details as the festival draws closer; but suffice it to say that YogaFest offers an immersive, exciting, and bountiful experience for kids of all ages. We will have a Youth Tent with programming geared towards all youth - from toddlers through teenagers - and hope to bring back a very popular Family Forest Village program which invited children to participate in an engaging hands-on nature immersion. There are also 800 beautiful acres to explore, including the Pigeon River running through it all, as well as a hammock village and sound dome offering children's programming; and much more, all in a safe, family-friendly environment that is highly conscious, extremely friendly, and drug and alcohol free. We are happy to invite children 12 and under to attend the festival FREE with a paying adult; and offer teenagers 13 - 17 tickets at HALF PRICE. See our ticket page for more, and to purchase your family festival passes.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: while we look forward to creating and upholding a positive, safe space for all who attend, your children are your responsibility. It is imperative that parents chaperone their children at all times unless the young ones are enrolled in a supervised activity where it is clearly communicated to all involved parties that the kids will be looked after by the facilitator(s). We will have a waiver for you to sign, and some basic safety protocol in place when you arrive on site with your young one(s).

Where will I sleep?

All full festival passes include complimentary camping for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights on Song of the Morning’s property. Camping is rustic - meaning you will get a cleared space in the woods a short walk from the central festival grounds - but there are porta-potties, solar showers, and water stations on site. Please note that festival day passes DO NOT include camping privileges. If you are coming up for the day, or even if you have purchased multiple day passes, you will need to make arrangements to stay offsite. Camping privileges are for Full Festival Pass holders only. There is a public National Forest campground just down the road from Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat, a few accommodations which may be available in or around Vanderbilt (the nearest town, approximately ten miles down the road), and a number of hotels in Gaylord (about a half hour drive from festival grounds). If you need specific directions to the public campground, or are interested in the Vanderbilt sleeping options, please submit an inquiry on our contact page.

As for on-site accommodations, all private rooms have been booked for YogaFest 2018, as have all beds in the women's dormitory. There are still a few beds available in the men's dormitory at a cost of $60 + tax per night, for a total of $180 + tax for the festival (all on-site accommodations must be booked for all three nights of the festival, Thurs. - Sat.) If you are interested in booking one of these shared-space bunk-beds for YogaFest, please call Song of the Morning during office hours, which are Tues. - Sat. from 10-4 EST. The number here is 989.983.4107.

Can I bring my camper?

Yes. We can accommodate almost all campers and RVs, however we do not have water, electricity or sewage hookups available. Also, in order to maintain a reverential space conducive to peace, quiet, and a spiritual immersion in a serene natural environment, we ask that you do not run your generator during the festival. YogaFest is a rustic and peaceful event.

What will I eat?

There will be a wide variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food available from Michigan food vendors. You may also bring your own food to enjoy, however for reasons of safety we can not allow campfires on Song of the Morning grounds. Small camping stoves are permitted, but keep in mind that campsites are primitive and no electricity will be available. Ice can be purchased at the gas station in Vanderbilt on your way to the festival. Please do not bring glass, especially onto the central festival grounds. We strive to make this a barefoot-friendly event.

What if it rains?

Rain or shine, the festival is on!

How big is YogaFest?

We expect about 600 people on site for YogaFest 2018; which is big enough to feel like a vibrant community, but not so big as to feel impersonal. The 800 woodland acres of Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat absorb the influx of people gracefully. We have heard YogaFest described as a festival for people who don't like festivals, insomuch as there is a serenity to the experience that is rejuvenating rather than exhausting.

What are the things I should do, and not do, at this festival?

DO:

  • Bring a yoga mat!

  • Bring a re-usable water bottle, and extra water. Drinking water stations will be posted around the central festival grounds, but it is a good idea to bring your own modest water supply as well, as no water is provided in or around the campsites.

  • Bring a bicycle, if you want to. It’s by no means necessary, but can be nice in getting back and forth from your campsite to the Yoga Tent, and elsewhere. We are a bike-friendly event.

  • Bring a re-usable plate and utensils. To cut down on waste, we encourage everyone to bring reusable kitchenware. There will be wash stations for your use. Thank you for doing your part to keep our ecological footprint to a minimum through conscious efforts of reusing, reducing, and recycling.

  • Be self-sufficient. While we will do our best to provide a supportive atmosphere, we ask that you be self-initiating and self-reliant in all ways. For four days we are a community, and as a member of the YogaFest community you are empowered and encouraged to take ownership of it; to do what needs to be done in order to make it a home for yourself and for others.

DON'T:

  • Bring your pet. NO pets allowed on retreat grounds.

  • Start a fire. Because of risk of wildfire, NO open-flame campfires are permitted at YogaFest 2018. Small cookstoves are OK, but please be mindful of them at all times.

  • Bring or consume tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. NO intoxicants of any kind are permitted on Song of the Morning grounds (unless you include coffee, which will be available). This is a conscious celebration in line with traditional yogic values of health and wholeness. It is not an unconscious party. If that is what you desire, we humbly suggest you look elsewhere. Please respect the spirit and intent of our sacred devotional festival.

  • Run a generator. In order to maintain the integrity of a serene and reverential space, NO generators are allowed. YogaFest is a quiet and rustic festival which invites you to cozy up to mother nature in all her elemental glory.

Will my cell phone work?

Cell service has gotten better in recent years, however we are a rustic retreat in a remote location and cell phone coverage is still quite spotty. We cannot guarantee that your cell phone will receive service, but most of the time you will find pockets of modest coverage scattered here and there across festival grounds. That said: we invite you to unplug and re-connect with yourself and the immediate YogaFest community which surrounds you. Nine times out of ten the thing on your phone can wait, and we encourage you to view attending to your soul nature as the highest priority during your time at the festival.

What about WiFi?

There will be limited wireless internet available at select and centralized locations. Our top priority is to ensure connectivity for YogaFest vendors; with any remaining capacity then being made available for general use by festival attendees, presenters, and volunteers. This means that we cannot guarantee unlimited WiFi for general use - and again we invite you unplug from your device and reconnect with yourself and the greater YogaFest community - but we will do our best to keep the internet up and running.

Anything else I need to know?

  • YogaFest is a Pack-it-in Pack-it-out event. If it came in with you it should leave with you as well. 
  • YogaFest is a deeply spiritual festival and we are serious about honoring yogic principles. No alcohol. No drugs. No tobacco. Period. We ask that while you are here you respect your body, your heart, your mind, your spirit, and your neighbor - equally.
  • YogaFest belongs to all of us and is what we make of it. Please approach every element of the festival, including everyone you meet, in a spirit of compassionate kindness, thinking about how you yourself would like to be treated. Kindness goes a long way, and if you see something that needs doing, do it.

Sounds great. How do I get involved?

You can purchase a ticket to attend and enjoy all that the festival has to offer. Alternately, you can apply to be a vendor, healing practitionerpresent a program, sponsor our festival, or become a ticket exchange volunteer.

What if I can’t afford a ticket?

We are pleased to offer a volunteer ticket exchange program for YogaFest 2018. A ticket exchange volunteer receives a full festival pass in exchange for working 15 hours before, during, or after the festival. As with all full festival passes, camping access is included with the ticket, and it is a wonderful opportunity to be an appreciated member of the YogaFest team and experience the festival from the inside-out. If for any reason you are not able to fulfill the ticket exchange volunteer requirements, we also have scholarships available on an as-needed basis. Please call or email us if you are interested in applying for a scholarship. To apply to serve and enjoy the festival as a ticket exchange volunteer, fill out this form.

Is there anything I can do to help make this festival green and sustainable?

Yes! You can bring a reusable plate and utensils, and a reusable water bottle, in order to help cut down on waste. There will be wash stations conveniently located near the food court for your use. You can also help us by keeping track of your - and any other - garbage, compost and recyclables you see; and make sure everything gets sorted as it should. We will have designated stations to use, but you will likely want something to transport waste generated from your campsite. Thank you for doing your part in keeping our ecological footprint to a minimum through conscious efforts of reusing, reducing, and recycling.

Is there a refund policy?

Once purchased, tickets are non-refundable. However, if something comes up and you cannot make it, you are able to transfer the name on your ticket to someone else up until July 1st. To transfer ticket ownership, please email yogafest@songofthemorning.org, or call Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat at 989.983.4107.
 

There is something I still don’t understand. Where can I get more information?

If you have a question that has not been answered on this page, you can email YogaFest Coordinator Brian Clark by using the form at the right, or by clicking here. You can also call Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat at 989.983.4107. We try to answer the phones during office hours, which are Tuesday through Saturday from 10-4 Eastern Time.

 
 
 The Song of the Morning sign (in brown) is up all year round, welcoming you to our "yoga retreat of excellence." The blue YogaFest sign will be up during the week of the festival to help notify and guide you in the right direction. Both signs will be on your right as you are driving on Sturgeon Valley Road, about ten miles east of Vanderbilt.

The Song of the Morning sign (in brown) is up all year round, welcoming you to our "yoga retreat of excellence." The blue YogaFest sign will be up during the week of the festival to help notify and guide you in the right direction. Both signs will be on your right as you are driving on Sturgeon Valley Road, about ten miles east of Vanderbilt.

 
 Roy Thibodeau, a longtime member of the Song of the Morning community, and leader within Song of the Morning's own school of yoga, the Golden Lotus Yoga Teachers Association, presents a meditation program in the Lodge during YogaFest 2017.

Roy Thibodeau, a longtime member of the Song of the Morning community, and leader within Song of the Morning's own school of yoga, the Golden Lotus Yoga Teachers Association, presents a meditation program in the Lodge during YogaFest 2017.

 
 Rowena Conahan leads a pack of children across a bridge spanning the Pigeon River, as part of the interactive Family Forest Village program at YogaFest 2017.

Rowena Conahan leads a pack of children across a bridge spanning the Pigeon River, as part of the interactive Family Forest Village program at YogaFest 2017.

 
 Happy campers enjoying the beautiful summer weather at YogaFest 2017.

Happy campers enjoying the beautiful summer weather at YogaFest 2017.

 
 A young volunteer helps out at Krishna's Kitchen, a YogaFest staple eatery providing delicious vegetarian food that has been lovingly prepared by  Harmony Collective Ypsilanti .

A young volunteer helps out at Krishna's Kitchen, a YogaFest staple eatery providing delicious vegetarian food that has been lovingly prepared by Harmony Collective Ypsilanti.

 
 Ria Nieboer leads an Open Heart Power Yoga class in the Yoga Tent at YogaFest 2017.

Ria Nieboer leads an Open Heart Power Yoga class in the Yoga Tent at YogaFest 2017.

 
 A spirited and soulful evening of Community Kirtan headlines the YogaFest Main Stage during opening night of YogaFest 2017.

A spirited and soulful evening of Community Kirtan headlines the YogaFest Main Stage during opening night of YogaFest 2017.

 
 Naren Schreiner (foreground) and Swami Sankarananda (background) offer devotional prayers of gratitude and praise during YogaFest 2017. We are blessed to have these two sincere souls infuse the festival atmosphere with their deeply peaceful and supremely loving spirits, and are pleased to announce plans for both Naren and Swami to return for YogaFest 2018.

Naren Schreiner (foreground) and Swami Sankarananda (background) offer devotional prayers of gratitude and praise during YogaFest 2017. We are blessed to have these two sincere souls infuse the festival atmosphere with their deeply peaceful and supremely loving spirits, and are pleased to announce plans for both Naren and Swami to return for YogaFest 2018.

 
 YogaFest Coordinator Brian Clark (barefoot at the microphone) shares a laugh with Assistant Coordinator Justine Markey (standing), Mohinder Singh (in white) and Trevor Chaitanya (partially obscured) during a morning Seva Meeting at YogaFest 2017.

YogaFest Coordinator Brian Clark (barefoot at the microphone) shares a laugh with Assistant Coordinator Justine Markey (standing), Mohinder Singh (in white) and Trevor Chaitanya (partially obscured) during a morning Seva Meeting at YogaFest 2017.

 
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