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We’re in the midst of a wellbeing awakening. Everyone - from the influencers that flood our feeds to the brands that flood our baskets – is in pursuit of wellness. But what exactly is this 'wellness' that we’re all striving for? Whilst influencers and lifestyle retailers often package up ‘wellness’ into the latest pricey product, or idyllic yoga images enhanced with Instagram filters, a new Manchester-based event says there’s more to the lifestyle trend then fickle aesthetics.
“The term 'wellness' tends to be associated more with smugness, perfection and clean living - whatever that means,” explains Laura Bamber, a personal and business development coach. Bamber is the co-founder of Float Festival, Manchester’s first ever wellness festival that will arrive in the city centre on 22 September.
“…self-loving, experiencing joy and connecting to whatever makes you feel better, is what we feel wellness is all about.”
Wellness is trial and error, buoyancy in stormy seas and anything that feels liberating
Whilst previous wellness-oriented events in Manchester have centred around yoga and fitness, Float promises to offer a more rounded approach to the lifestyle movement. The event will celebrate the roles that creativity, learning, listening, talking, recharging and having fun play in the path to wellness, rather than focusing solely on diet and exercise. A community of wellness experts will inspire visitors to “open their eyes and quiet their mind,” through a variety of interactive workshops, talks and masterclasses.
“Wellness is not perfection in body or mind, string-chasing or self-hating. Wellness is trial and error, buoyancy in stormy seas and anything that feels liberating,” continues co-founder Daisy Barnes, of culture marketing agency Yolk. “The wellness industry didn’t seem to be making many people feel very ‘well’. So we made Float.”
The one-day festival will be hosted at Five Four Studios, an intimate venue that will enhance the community feel of the event with a central hub surrounded by breakout areas.
Split into morning and afternoon sessions, the day will bring together mindfulness practitioners, yoga teachers and personal development gurus, foodies, speakers, entrepreneurs, artists and makers to provide guests with a wide range of activities that celebrate wellness through the festival’s six core pillars of Movement, Inspiration, Nourishment, Engagement, Restoration and Play.
Over 500 health and wellness enthusiasts are anticipated to attend the sessions across the day.
“Happiness, feeling good, contentment - it doesn’t care about your size, your hair colour, if you do or don’t have a thigh gap. We’re seeing the winds change; people are wanting to embrace kinder, slower, more honest and achievable ways of living,” says Barnes, “We see Float as a springboard - a playground - for people to explore what makes them feel good, in any - and every way that they can. In a world of sink or swim, let us be your Float.”
The festival’s six core pillars incorporate:
MOVE: Bringing together a mix of yoga, dance and exercise, the festival will encourage movement and celebrate its importance in achieving wellness through various group activations and exercise sessions for guests to enjoy.
INSPIRE: To encourage conversation, connection and personal development, the festival will boast a variety of inspiring talks, workshops and masterclasses.
NOURISH: The festival will tantalise the senses through a number of food stations and refreshments.
ENGAGE: local wellness brands will display at experiential stations to engage festival members and encourage conversation.
RESTORE: Recognising the importance of recharging, restoring and repairing, the restore area will play host to a chill-out area, meditation and bijou Float library.
PLAY: Float will ignite fun and play by inviting festival attendees to embrace their inner-child through numerous creative workshops and playful activations.
Workshop partners include women's hormone expert Nikki Hill, animalistic movement coach We Are Fera, multi-discipline coach Leo Oppenheim, modern calligraphy studio Artsynibs, Manchester-based yoga studio Cariad, kids yoga and mindfulness practitioners The Sea Within, mindful arts organisation The Owl and the Coconut and tea mixologists Bird and Blend, with many more to be announced in due course. Main stage panellists will also be announced shortly.
Float Festival morning (10.00-14.00) and afternoon (14.00-18.00) session tickets are now available via the website. Tickets start from £40 and include entry to the festival, 1 workshop, 1 main stage talk and a meal voucher. £5 from every ticket sale will go to Forever Manchester, raising money to fund and support community activity across Greater Manchester.