Acro Yoga Festivals & Conventions All Around the World
Acroyoga and acrobatic festivals are unique creations. Different from the familiar form of a music festival where folks come to watch a series of performances, in acroyoga and acrobatic festivals there are no performances or more like it, the festival goers are the performance.
Think of an acroyoga festival (or an acroyoga convention) as a combination of workshops and jams. There are plenty of classes and practice sessions during the festival days and lots of community activities in between. Maybe community is the keyword to understand what acroyoga festivals are all about - strengthen and expand human connections through intensive trainings.
If that’s not elusive enough, some of these events are called “conventions”, which is even further removed from what the rest of the world defines as a “convention”. Acro yoga conventions and festivals are one and the same - two or more days where dozens to hundreds of acro enthusiasts and professionals come together to get a condensed dose of the acrobatic kool aid while mixing with other community members.
So Many Types of Acro Festivals Out There
The festival can vary in size and focus. Usually, when organized by larger, well known organizers, they take the form of a mega workshop, well structured according to skill level and teachers’ specialty; let's say, focus on L-basing acro or standing acro, have specialty sessions for handstands and so on. These larger festivals can attract hundreds of participants.
There are also many smaller acro yoga festivals organized by either individuals, producers or smaller acro outfits. These are less-structured events that tend to offer a more social experience than a elevate-your-skills type of event.
So when thinking of an acro-yoga festival don’t be held by conventional constraints - it’s a festival if you want it to be. That’s actually how many organizers look at it, the “fest” designation is meant to signal potential participants that the event is going to be a community-driven, happy and flowing gathering of acro enthusiasts.
Ground rule number one is, there are no ground rules. Seriously, every event sets its own rules and so it’s practically impossible to report on common guidelines.
For example, accommodation. Festivals & acroyoga conventions run the entire spectrum from BYOT & BYONSB (bring your own tent & bring your sleeping bag) to a private room, with a view; practically touching the threshold of an acro yoga retreat. In some cases you can choose the type of accommodation that suits you, in others you are given just a single option; sleeping in your car is always an option as well as booking an AirBNB or a hotel room nearby. It’s basically up to you, how you wish to experience the festival.
What You Need to Consider Before Booking an Acroyoga Convention
So how could you know what are you up against? How to make sense of the blurry lines of acroyoga conventions and festivals??
Here are a few things to consider before booking to better understand the nature of the event:
Number of participants
This is obviously a great ballpark to get you started. Sixty or three-hundreds make up two very different events.
Number of teachers
This is a sure indicator for the ‘seriousness’ and scope of the event. A more diverse team of teachers will allow you a more diverse experience. Obviously it would be a good idea to check the background of the teachers themselves since each teacher has his or hers expertise; some teachers focus on washing machines, others prefer the playful whips and pops of Icarian, while still others are all about the flow of transitions or the art of spotting. Sometimes one or two teachers that you’ve been ‘dying’ to take a lesson with will close the deal for you.
Room & Board
This is a tricky one. As we’ve mentioned above, this can go to many different directions but on the other hand, a strong indicator for whether this is the right event for you. A festival in the middle of a forest that the only sleeping option is tents and running water isn’t even an option, will automatically rule out at least a certain portion of the potential audience. With that said, most festivals go for the tent-style accommodation.
Food is also an important consideration as most of us have at least some restrictions or, on the other hand, some red lines we’re just not interested to cross. Some organizers will take care of the food, which will be included in the cost; it would be wise to find out what exactly is entailed as you might want to supplement it. Others will leave it to participants to take care of this on their own entirely.
Some acroyoga festivals and conventions aim for the broadest common denominator, offering workshops in a wide range of specific niches for all levels while others would rather focus their curriculum more, like standing acro, unique sessions for flyers or bases, whole workshops on static poses on the one hand, to dynamic inversions and transitions on the other.
Pre & Post Events
The bigger acro yoga conventions and festivals will sometime have pre and post events. (Speaking of, the AcroFest is a post-event of Acroyoga teacher training.) This is a great opportunity to make the most of your trip and explore practices like therapeutic flying, circus acrobatics, group acro, balance, flexibility and of course Thai massage. So even if the event itself doesn’t advertise these you should do a little research to find out what’s happening in the days leading or the ones right after. These smaller events can really help you deepening your skills and grasp of more nuanced aspects of acro, partner acrobatics, acroyoga - which ever is your phrasing of choice.