Wanderlust cancels 2020 festivals

Courtesy Wanderlust Festival

Wanderlust announced on March 1 that it was cancelled all of its 2020 festivals, including its festival at Squaw Valley where the festival originated, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Some of its smaller events are still moving forward, its CEO announced, with no impact on its studios, including the one at Squaw Valley, or on Wanderlust TV.

“Like me, I’m sure many of you have been glued to your newsfeeds, hoping (along with the rest of humanity) that the coronavirus outbreak turns out to be containable, or at least no more intense than the flu we’ve all suffered through for millennia,” wrote CEO Sean Hoess in an email. “We offer our condolences to its many victims, and our gratitude to the thousands of health care workers fighting its spread.

“Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak is already having a significant effect on Wanderlust. While those of you on this list probably know us from our U.S. and Canada events, we also work with trusted international partners to produce annual Wanderlust events in more than 20 countries across Asia, Europe, Australia and Latin America. Putting the “wanderlust” in Wanderlust has been a foundational goal of ours — we believe that spreading mindfulness, yoga, fitness and wellness around the world is a genuinely good thing for humanity. Operating globally, however, makes us more vulnerable to unusual and unexpected disruptions, and this is one such example.

“Last week, our partners in Asia were forced to cancel planned events in China, Singapore and several other Asian countries due to coronavirus. Those cancellations have had a significant impact on the financial position of our parent company here in the U.S. and raise the question of whether it would be prudent to put our three planned U.S. events on sale in the coming weeks. After careful consideration of our options and weighing the real possibility of future corona-related disruptions here, we have come to the very difficult decision that we will not continue with our 2020 events in the United States.

“Wanderlust is a large-scale wellness gathering involving thousands of participants, and we would never want to take the chance that any of our events would make our guests less well. In addition, cancelling an event once it is on sale negatively impacts our talent, partners, venues, and guests. Both Wellspring and our Festivals have an extremely long planning cycle, and we don’t have the luxury of waiting for the epidemic to run its course.

“Like all of you, we have no specific information about coronavirus in North America that would require this step. This is simply a decision made out of an abundance of caution. Many of our event partners, particularly those producing Wanderlust 108, have more flexibility, and at this time Wanderlust events in Europe, Latin America and South Korea are still planned and moving forward. Our studios in Hollywood, Austin, Montreal and Squaw Valley also are unaffected by this decision, as is our Wanderlust TV service.

“Events are in Wanderlust’s DNA, and this is an unbelievably disappointing outcome to all our imagination and hard work. We apologize to our venue partners, talent, sponsors, and guests for any disruption this decision might cause. Where there is hardship, however, there also is an opportunity for innovation. We’re going to take the rest of 2020 to consider how we might continue to serve our community in the digital sphere. We’ve been ruminating on how an “online” version of Wanderlust might look and hope to share some details on that in the near future. | wanderlust.com