Barking studio to host its first online wellness festival after plug pulled on UK summer of events

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 07 August 2020

The Boathouse set up for the festival. Picture: Carole Pluckrose

The Boathouse set up for the festival. Picture: Carole Pluckrose

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An events organiser and arts studio have teamed up so people can still tune in and drop out after the plug was pulled on festivals across the country this summer.

Ria Butler is director of Soul Stretch Events. Picture: Jake KnowlesRia Butler is director of Soul Stretch Events. Picture: Jake Knowles

The team at The Boathouse Creative Studios in Abbey Road, Barking, is set to host its first virtual wellness festival.

Meditation is among the 27 activities organised by Soul Stretch Events, which usually provides wellbeing experiences at mass gatherings including the Green Man Festival and Chris Evans’s CarFest.

People of all ages are invited to join a range of events including workshops, a funky family workout, chair, hip hop or sunrise yoga and a performance by closing act Mess of Blues.

Soul Stretch Events director, Ria Butler, said: “Usually we would be setting up in a field with a yurt with individual therapists.

Carole Pluckrose is artistic director at The Boathouse. Picture: Carole PluckroseCarole Pluckrose is artistic director at The Boathouse. Picture: Carole Pluckrose

“That experience can’t happen in this current Covid-19 climate. But we will try as best as possible to create that feeling within The Boathouse.”

That includes transforming the space to resemble a festival tent.

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“When you go to a music festival, people will try things and do things they would not necessarily do in their everyday lives. We want to recreate that online,” Ria said.

Writer Claire Steele is running the story tent. Picture: Ruby SteeleWriter Claire Steele is running the story tent. Picture: Ruby Steele

Carole Pluckrose, director of The Boathouse, added the focus is on encouraging people to travel in their imaginations.

And she predicted online events along the lines of the wellness festival have a lot of future potential in the midst of continued restrictions on venues reopening.

Ria added: “Wellness as a concept is really going to grow. Even before lockdown, but definitely during, people’s mental and physical health is really vital.

“People are dealing with isolation, anxiety and mental health problems. Wellness is coming to the fore.”

The two day festival spans the last weekend in August and will see a total of 24 hours worth of events.

But without the backing of Barking and Dagenham Renew, an organisation enabling people from the borough to carry out projects, the festival might not have got off the ground.

However, a team of therapists, teachers and performers are looking forward to soothing the soul, helping people centre and bringing joy to the summer of 2020.

The tickets are pay what you can donations. For more information visit soulstretchwellnessfestival.eventbritestudio.com/


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