TWIN FALLS — The Sun Valley Wellness Festival prides itself on being the longest-running festival wellness in the world. It offers a chance for Idahoans to listen to some of the country's greatest thought leaders and doctors discuss a wide range of topics to better oneself mentally and physically.
This year marks the 23rd Wellness Festival and was going to be the first one ever to be held outside at Ketchum's Forest Service Park. There was going to be vendors, music, discussion boards, activities, and other events to make this year special. Unfortunately, like many other festivals and events, the Sun Valley had to adapt and shift to digital means due to COVID-19. The decision was made within the past week to prevent anyone from potential exposure.
There is still a price to attend the virtual festival, $175 is the cost for an all-access pass, which allows people to view all speakers. However, organizers are aware of the current financial strain on members of the public at this time. So they have arranged a "scholarship" tab which allows people to submit a payment that they can afford with a brief explanation as to why attending would be meaningful to them.
Despite the setback, hard work was put in by organizers to make this happen no matter what. The virtual meeting still gives people the chance to heed advice from notable speakers who will shed light on ways for residents to try and be healthier.
In previous years, the speakers would discuss topics such as sleeping habits, depression, meditation, addiction, and plenty of other subjects. On account of the current situation, many speakers in attendance will be discussing the Coronavirus and how people can cope with the pandemic.
"The speakers have all pivoted within their field, but to all provide a nugget, or more wisdom, tips, information toward how to deal with our new normal," said Andria Friesen Board President of Sun Valley Wellness Virtual.
This year also seemed like one of, if not the most essential wellness festival the organization has ever hosted. The pandemic is entirely new to our country, and loads of people struggle to come to terms with how to handle isolation, quarantine, new safety measures, unemployment, and so much more. Organizers feel it is the time for the festival to shine and offer a sense of relief for people dealing with hardships.
Organizers of the festival are also looking at the silver lining of going virtual. Despite not being able to interact in-person, this is an entirely new platform the festival has never done before. The festival now has the opportunity to reach even further than local Idaho and offer the country knowledge and reassurance from world-class speakers that specialize in their fields of study. Typically the festival draws in around 1,500 people; there are hopes that it will reach far beyond that number.
Board President, Andria Friesen also views the digital shift as a way to continue to reach people through the future, including post-COVID. Friesen said, "I think this is the first year of every year in the future to have this opportunity to offer this content nationally and internationally. Even though it wasn't the plan, it's the way its unfolded. Why would we stop?"
There will even be a Q and A segment that attendees can utilize. However, the organizers are still in the process of finalizing the details of how it will work. The Festival will take place on August 22nd and 23rd and will remain posted on the website until September 7th for those unable to attend the virtual meet up. For those looking for more information about the festival and speakers attending head over to the festivals website.