What is YogaFest?
YogaFest is a deeply nourishing, highly joyful, and spiritually authentic 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 at Song of the Morning. A partial list of what you can expect to encounter includes hatha, bhakti, jnana, kundalini, raja, and flow yoga classes; meditation, kirtan (sacred music), 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. It is a deeply inclusive, deeply devotional, deeply authentic celebration of spiritual truth.
Where is YogaFest?
YogaFest is held at Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat in the northern woods of Michigan’s lower peninsula (12 miles east of Vanderbilt off I-75 exit 290). 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 2020 - the tenth anniversary of our sacred festival celebration - will be held from Thurs. July 23 - Sun. July 26, 2020.
When do tickets go on sale?
Tickets will be made available at a discounted Early Bird rate starting Jan. 1, 2020. Early bird tickets available until March 15, 2020.
When do applications open?
Applications to co-create the festival as a program leader (presenter), vendor, sponsor, healer, or ticket exchange volunteer will open sometime over the winter. Likely this will be in December, and at the latest the first of the year. We will activate the links on our website at that time, and announce that we are accepting submissions on our facebook page (the latter of which is a good place to keep up to date with the latest YogaFest info).
Who is YogaFest for?
Everyone! Every sincere seeker of truth of every age and ability is welcome at YogaFest at Song of the Morning! From children through seniors, all will find specific programming suited to his or her constitution, not to mention plentiful opportunities to commune with like-minded and open-hearted people in a joyous and uplifting environment. 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 more vigorous hatha yoga programs to get the blood flowing and the breath moving. 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?
Lots! YogaFest offers an immersive, exciting, and bountiful experience for kids of all ages, with 800 woodland acres to explore on and around the Pigeon River, and family programming throughout the weekend! This includes the popular, transformational, and downright amazing Forest Village nature immersion program, and a slew of programs in our Youth Tent. View the 2019 schedule here to see a representative example of what you can expect to encounter at YogaFest 2020. Ask any family who has been to YogaFest at Song of the Morning and they are sure to tell you that it is a magical and beautiful way to come together and enjoy the dance of spirit and nature.
All of this is offered 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.
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 be taking further steps in the coming years to foster a safe and contained space for children at YogaFest, one that promotes family togetherness, not drop your kid off for free babysitting or wild roaming while you enjoy a yoga class. YOUR CHILDREN ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! 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. However, 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. Additional options if you prefer not to camp include:
Limited indoor accommodations onsite at Song of the Morning, available at an additional charge. These can be reserved on a first-come first-served basis starting Jan. 8, 2020. Rooms do not include meals, and must be booked to capacity for all three nights of the festival (Thurs. - Sat.). We will post a booking link on this website at 10 a.m. on Jan. 8, and announce that we are accepting room reservations on our facebook page at that time.
There are also a few accommodations which may be available in or around Vanderbilt (the nearest town, approximately ten miles down the road), including this lovely stone house offered by a friend of the retreat, and a number of hotels in Gaylord, about a half hour drive from festival grounds. Finally, there are a number of public campgrounds in the area, including this one, which is in fact in walking distance to the festival. This page gives you a pretty good overview of your camping options in the Pigeon River Country State Forest surrounding YogaFest and Song of the Morning.
How does camping work?
As you arrive, our friendly campground staff will direct you to a campsite, which will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis (taking into account your needs, preferences, party size, etc.) We do not have the capacity to take campsite reservations, so if you want to camp with someone, please arrive with them.
After you have unloaded your belongings at your campsite, you will be directed to where to park your vehicle. For safety, environmental concerns, organizational capacity, fairness, to comply with health department requirements and state law, and for the overall good of the festival - including serenity and spiritual integrity - you will not be allowed to park your car at your campsite, but rather in designated parking lots. Most parking will be a comfortable walking distance to the festival, but a shuttle will be available to assist as needed with transportation to and from the parking areas.
Because you will not be parking next to your campsite, we recommend bringing a cooler with an airtight lid to store food. Animals should not be too much of a problem, but we are a rustic festival out in the woods, so we can make no guarantees regarding wildlife. Please NO CAMPFIRES. Small cookstoves are OK, but please be mindful of them at all times.
Camping is rustic - meaning you will get a cleared space in the woods a short walk from the central festival grounds. There are no campsite amenities, however there is a nice warm-water shower pavilion free to all, as well as porta-potties and a central water station for refilling your water bottle.
You are welcome to bring your camper. We can accommodate almost all campers and RVs, however no water, electricity, or sewage hookups will be available. We can also accommodate “car campers,” i.e. those who sleep in their vehicles, or have a tent which attaches to your vehicle. Simply tell the camping director your intentions as you pull in, and they will help you find a suitable campsite.
Finally, 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.
Can I bring my pet?
No. Sorry. No pets allowed.
What will I eat?
There will be vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food on-site. It is too early to say exactly who will be back for YogaFest 2020, but our hope is that all the delicious, nutritious vendors from YogaFest 2019 return. This includes food options from the Song of the Morning Ranch Kitchen, the Harmony Collective of Ypsilanti, who have been graciously serving YogaFest at Song of the Morning with their delicious Krishna prasadam for many years, and Michigan vendors My Little Honey Pot, FestiBowl, and Sacred Springs Kombucha. There is plenty to choose from - including coffee, tea, smoothies, chai, salads, baked goods, and full, hearty and healthy vegetarian meals. Additionally, you are welcome to 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. The last chance to pick up ice is in Vanderbilt, about 12 miles down the road. 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?
YogaFest 2019 drew over 600 people, and we expect slightly more for YogaFest 2020. This creates an atmosphere 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 depleting.
What are the things I should do, and not do, at this festival?
Bring a yoga mat!
Bring a flashlight or headlight for getting around at night. There are few lights in and around the rustic camping areas, but you will want a light of your own.
Bring a re-usable water bottle, and extra water. There is a drinking water station in the main dining area of the central festival grounds, but it is a good idea to bring your own modest water supply as well, since there is no water available in or around the campsites.
Bring a bicycle, if you’d like. It is 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 a central wash station 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 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, or a place to get artificially high. If that is what you are looking for, there are numerous options at your disposal and we humbly suggest you look elsewhere. Please respect the spirit and intent of our sacred devotional festival.
DON’T start a fire. Because of risk of wildfire, NO open-flame campfires are permitted at YogaFest. Small cookstoves are OK, but please be mindful of them at all times.
DON’T bring your pet. NO pets allowed on retreat grounds.
DON’T 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 of 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 so we cannot guarantee that your cell phone will receive service. Most of the time you will be able to find pockets of modest coverage across festival grounds, and there will be a charging station for your personal devices located near the Main Tent (use at your own risk). But again we do not guarantee coverage, and whether you have service or not we invite you to unplug and re-connect with yourself and the immediate YogaFest community which surrounds you. We encourage you to view attending to your soul nature - and not to the pull of the world - 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.
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 with equal reverence, love and joy.
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 when it goes on sale at the first of the year. Early bird tickets will be offered at a discounted rate through March 15th. You can also fill out an application to join the YogaFest team as a presenter, vendor, healer, sponsor, or ticket exchange volunteer. Applications will be made live by Jan. 1 at the latest. Please check back to this website over the coming winter, or stay up-to-date with announcements via our frequently updated facebook page.
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 a wash station in the central food court area 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 a designated compost/trash/recycling station to use, but you will likely want something to transport waste generated from your campsite. Pack it in; pack it out! Thank you for doing your part in keeping our ecological footprint to a minimum through conscious efforts of reusing, reducing, and recycling.
What if I can’t afford a ticket?
We are pleased to offer a volunteer ticket exchange program for YogaFest at Song of the Morning, in which you receive a full festival pass in exchange for working 15 hours during (or in some cases before 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 a part of the YogaFest team, to connect with the heart of selfless service, and to 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. Scholarships will go live when tickets are made available at the first of the year.
Is there a refund policy?
Sorry, no. Once purchased, tickets are non-refundable.
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. We also try to keep our facebook page current with regular updates.