National Fitness Day: The festivals and raves aimed at getting healthy, not hammered

Why the new festival sets are more green juice than Dutch Gold

Siobhan Norton
Friday 26 September 2014 17:08
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Well, it's finally happened. We've heard plenty about how this generation is the most sensible in decades. When the biggest form of rebellion is a Justin Bieber fringe and a few controversial Instagram memes, parents everywhere must be breathing a sigh of relief (or was that mild disappointment?). Kids choose to play Minecraft rather than hang out on street corners, and would prefer to save up for the latest covetable high street fashions rather than than a fake ID.

And it has never been so stylish to be sporty. Whereas a few years ago sportswear was the preserve of pro athletes and… um… chavs, now women in particular are wearing their fluoro trainers, patterned leggings and swishy ponytails like badges of honour. It even graced the London Fashion Week catwalks, from Alexander Wang’s very deliberate nod to sporty in deconstructed-sneaker-style dresses to full on gym-gear from Richard Nicoll for Sweaty Betty and Charli Cohen’s new collection.

Generation Sensible, it seems, has even caused the evolution of the youth stalwart - the festival. For years, festivals have been edging towards the eco-friendly and spiritual, and healthy gourmet food stalls are beginning to edge out the greasy burger vans. But a new one-day festival due to hit London on October 4 has taken the final leap from Glasto grunge to goodness.

The Well-Fit Festival is the surprise hot ticket of the season - with not a drop of booze in sight. Or muddy wellies, nasty portaloos or leaky tents, come to think of it - the appeal is already becoming clear. Fitness classes are the main form of entertainment, ranging from yoga to ballet barre and a taste of the exclusive, achingly hip Skinny B**** Collective. And instead of lukewarm beer and questionable kebabs, festival-goers will be tucking into green juices, superfood salads and virtuous treats from the likes of The Good Life Eatery and The Pressery.

There are also talks and lectures from some of the health and fitness industry's most popular ambassadors, including Honestly Healthy's Natasha Corrett, nutritional health coach Madeleine Shaw and former Made in Chelsea star turned all-round healthy person Millie Mackintosh. Never heard of them? Well, you’re out of a very expansive loop then - Corrett has 18,000 followers on Twitter thanks to the popularity of her two alkaline-living cookbooks and fridge-fill plan; and Mackintosh can boast a staggering 774,000 fans of her fitspirational Instagram page. This lot are practically the One Direction of the clean-living world.

Tickets are not cheap at £100 for the day - although you could argue that you would spend plenty more between tickets and refreshments at your average festival. Joan Murphy, the director of Frame dance company, one of the organisers of the event, says it’s money well spent.

“2014 has seen the rise of fitness and health foods,” she explains. “From media to supermarkets to fitness offerings it has become more accessible and more enjoyable. At this festival we want to showcase the London leaders in the health and fitness world. Everyone loves a festival and this festival aims to inspire people through our three main passions - Eat, Train, Learn.”

But this healthy movement is not just the preserve of affluent yoga bunnies. A series of early-morning raves are taking Europe - and the UK - by storm. Morning Gloryville is not for the 'haven't been to bed yet' crew, but the fresh-faced early risers. And they are indeed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, decked out in anything from their finest sleepwear to day-glo 90s rave gear as they join the queues from 6.30am. Inside, healthy smoothies are downed in between throwing serious shapes on the dancefloor, or limbering up with some yoga or massage. It's a hedonistic sweat-fest with no drugs, no drink, but some serious raving.

Others who like their beats pumping and workouts wild are flocking to crack-of-dawn classes like Edge Cycle, where the nightclub-esque lighting and music take the edge off a seriously intense bootcamp-style workout.

Ariana Gernet, 27, who runs the blog NaturallyAriana.com, is one Londoner embracing the new trend - and the Well-Fit Festival is high on her agenda. “I struggled with an eating disorder at university. It was only when I moved to the UK and was introduced to so many inspiring health advocates that I began to change my lifestyle for the better. An event like this brings like-minded people together, and I’m excited to meet my healthy eating gurus.”

While some may lament the lack of rule-breaking and rebellion, the advantages of a clean-living caper are undeniable. No hangover, a good workout, a (slightly) heavier wallet, and the feeling of utter smugness. And, quite possibly, even more hipster sightings than Coachella. Now, where did I leave that flowery headband?

The Well-Fit Festival hits Shoreditch, London, on October 4. www.well-fit.co

Morning Glory events are held in various locations around the country, http://morninggloryville.com/

For timetables and class prices, visit www.edgecycle.co.uk

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