Asheville Yoga Festival is heading into its fourth year with an expanded lineup of presenters, artists, musicians and activities, along with a larger footprint at venues throughout downtown Asheville. Formerly Asheville YogaFest, the festival is now under the ownership and direction of Asheville residents and veteran yoga practitioners Amanda Hale and Sara Levine LaStella. The festival will feature over 30 presenters and 70+ offerings, including yoga, music, outdoor activities, and unique health & wellness vendors.
Additionally, the Festival is adding live music on both Friday and Saturday nights in partnership with New Mountain AVL. On Friday night, Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd will take the stage for one of only two shows in the Southeast. Rudd’s music and live shows incorporate his message of global togetherness, acceptance and respect. Saturday night, MC YOGI brings his yoga-inspired hip hop, performing live with DJ Sol Rising. Tickets for both shows are available to both festival goers and the public.
Offering another unique experience, artist and yoga instructor Amanda Giacomini will be painting one of her 10,000 Buddhas murals during the festival. A passion project, Giacomini’s initial goal was to paint 10,000 Buddhas in murals across the world. She has
thus far painted in a wide variety of locales, including Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C, abroad in Panama and Germany, and has two mobile murals traveling with the Wanderlust Festival.
“The Ten Thousand Buddha project to me is about spreading a message of peace, connectedness, and enlightenment. My hope is that the artwork gives a moment of joy or upliftment to those who see it,” said Giacomini. “I am so grateful to have the support of the local community, Chef Anthony Cerrato and the Asheville Yoga Festival for bringing the project to Asheville. When my husband MC YOGI and I are on tour, we love coming to Asheville because it is such a cool, artistic town. It will be wonderful to have a mural here!”
Giacomini plans to continue painting her murals beyond 10,000. “The number was just an initial goal to get me immersed in the practice,” she said. “Sort of like having a goal of practicing yoga every day for a year. Once we achieve those goals, it’s not usual that we would never practice yoga again. Same is true for me and the Buddhas.”
Giacomini will be painting her 10,000 Buddhas mural on the wall outside of The Social Lounge on Wednesday and Thursday, July 26th and 27th and the public is welcome to watch and take photos. She and her husband, MC Yogi, will also be teaching a yoga class at the festival.
The vendors and many of the activities at Pack Square Park will be free and open to the public, including a morning meditation daily and a limited number of yoga classes. There will also be live music in the park throughout the festival for the community to enjoy as well as an exceptional mix of local and national health and wellness vendors. Festival organizers hope locals and tourists will take advantage of the opportunity to explore these free offerings.
“People are traveling from all over the country to attend the festival and Amanda & I want them to experience everything that Asheville embodies – beautiful views, amazing food, and
a bountiful wellness community,” said festival co-organizer Sara LaStella. “We also want to celebrate with locals by offering events and activities that are free and open to the public – movement classes, live music, a slackline park, and our Mountain Market at Pack Square. There is really something for everyone from advanced yogi to curious dabbler.”
Giving back to the community is also an important component of Asheville Yoga Festival’s guiding philosophy. A portion of the Festival’s proceeds will be donated to local non-profit Light a Path. Conceived as an “expression of service” by a group of Asheville-based yogis and other practitioners, Light a Path’s mission is to create community and resilience in underserved populations of WNC through offering yoga, mindfulness, and other somatic therapies at no cost. For more information visit lightapath.org.
Limited tickets for Asheville Yoga Festival are still on sale. Full information is available at ashevilleyogafestival.com. Follow @AshevilleYogaFestival on Facebook and Instagram.