Prairie Love Festival is this weekend and Founder Rachelle Taylor is telling us how to prep, what to bring, and how to get the most out of a yoga festival.
Who founded the Prairie Love Festival and where did the idea come from?
My former partner, Monique Pantel, and I (Rachelle Taylor) began an online publication called Prairie Yogi in 2012 as part of a college thesis project. This lead to an opportunity to attend Wanderlust festival in Colorado and be a part of the Wanderlust Journal Blog Team in 2013. That experience gave us a chance to see the behind the scenes inner-workings of a yoga festival, and we were inspired to bring something similar home to the prairies. It was at Wanderlust that we also got to meet yoga super-star Eoin Finn, who would go on to be our headliner for the inaugural Prairie Love in 2014.
Monique and I amicably ended our partnership shortly after that first festival. She had dreams of pursing photography full time, and I wanted to continue to grow this celebration and more like it for my community. We are fortunate that we were able to stay great friends ‘post-breakup’. She is still involved with Prairie Love - she takes all the promo photos for the festival marketing materials and website, and offers photography workshops at the festival. Whenever I need someone to run an idea by, she is the first one I call.
What is the vision driving the Prairie Love Festival?
We are a self-deprecating bunch here in the heart of the country, and we've been conditioned to believe that to experience anything amazing, we have to travel to the mountains, the ocean, or a concrete jungle. My vision for the festival is to create something world-class right here at home that celebrates all the things that make this place so special: the big skies, the community vibes, and our amazing people.
Hosting a festival is a big deal! Can you give us the quick and dirty about how you turned your vision into reality?
Ha ha – yeah, I suppose it is! I see putting PL together similar to assembling a big puzzle. First you get the big pieces into place (venue, date, structures, lighting) and then progressively start to work on the next most important pieces (website, workshop schedule, marketing strategies) and so on and so on, until all the pieces are complete for it to come together comes together. It feels like magic when it all does, but really it's just a lot of pieces that come together over time, with a lot of hard work and dedication.
I also never let money stand in the way. When we started, we didn't have any money to bring the festival we wanted to life, but I didn't let that stop us. I just believed that we would sell the tickets and sponsorships required to least be able to break even, and we found creative solutions to spend every dollar wisely without sacrificing the attendee experience. It's the ol' ‘Field of Dreams’ notion and it's worked: if you build it, they will come.
What should people do to prepare for the festival?
A little self-inquiry into what they would like to get out of the festival is a good idea so that they can attend workshops that align with that. And get a good sleep the few nights' prior to the festival so you have lots of energy to take it all in.
Do you have any tips for yoga festival first-timers?
This response came from festival veteran Jane Anne Lois Munro in the Facebook event group that I think is great advice for first timers: Be mindful when choosing your workshops, plan for some variety (trust me, your muscles will thank you)! If you find yourself in a class that's maybe a little advanced, don't push yourself to the point of pain or not being able to enjoy yourself; take a child's pose, a few breaths, and know that you're surrounded by loving, encouraging souls - you are in a 100% judgment free zone throughout the weekend. Take in all the prairie lovin' you can handle!
What's on your 'must-pack' list for the festival?
Nutritious snacks, scarf, yoga mat, journal, socks for savasana water bottle, and your wallet to support all the amazing vendors :)
What is your go-to festival style?
- High-waisted tights (a 7/8 length is my fave)
- Prairie Love tank
- Loose fitting long sleeve tee
- Blanket scarf
- Mala necklace and bracelets
- Backpack stocked with all the necessities
Do you have any favourite snacks that you rely on to get you through the day?
Bananas, apples, and granola bars.
A good trail mix is always a hit and easy to share with your festival friends. I make my own full of seeds and dried fruit as I have nut allergies and it's hard to find good ones that I can eat.
What are your top tips for navigating the Prairie Love Festival and getting the most out of it?
Strive for a balanced experience. Don't overload yourself with workshops. People sometimes feel the need to get their money's worth and attend as many workshops as possible, and sacrifice their bodies as a result. Take some time. Skip a session.
There is so much more to take in outside of the workshops that you'll miss out on if you overload your schedule. Take some time to integrate the teachings that resonate with you - sit under a tree with your journal and breathe. Take it easy, take it slow, and take big breaths to take it all in!
Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy sprit searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty, and bliss only to return home to Winnipeg where she co-founded Prairie Yogi Inc + Prairie Love Festival as expressions of her love for creativity, yoga, and community.
See You There?
We are so excited to travel eastward out to Winnipeg to spend the weekend as a vendor at the Prairie Love Festival ♡. We are bringing with us a suprise in every swag bag being given to each participant as well as our most coveted Yoga Brands! Shop Teeki Alo Yoga Onzie Spiritual Gangster and more. Find us in Vendor Village on site! We will be open Saturday from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
FortWhyte Alive is opne to the public with free admission for all attendees to the park (festival tickets required for workshops once inside the park).