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Wanderlust at Squaw Valley, Nevada Colorado, July 26-29, 2012, Reviewed

There is a lot to offer at Squaw whether you love to ski and ride in the winter or enjoy any of the plethora of summer activities to experience while exploring the valley and Lake Tahoe. Wanderlust, though, is arguably the best time of year for locals and vacationers alike. With yoga all day and music all night there is plenty to get caught up in this four day love fest. Besides, if you are a single male living in the Sierras you are all too familiar with the 8 to 1 ratio of guys to girls, and there is nothing like a Yoga festival to turn that ratio right around. Coupled with music acts like Beats Antique, Shpongle, Ziggy Marley and late night sets by Eskimo, this is a hard event to top in Squaw.

            Let’s start with the day time. It’s these yoga events that truly brings the beauty and femininity to the valley, which in this zip code can be few and far between. From 8:00 am to 7:30 pm many of the enthusiasts, and most of who paid the $475 for their all-access four day pass are in yoga classes taught by some of the most famous instructors on the continent(not that I could recall any of their names without some research.) However, if you are a fanatic, Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Baron Baptiste and Wayne Dyer are all names you will recognize and might even get excited about. But, if you aren’t as excited about the yoga part and maybe doesn’t fit into your budget there is still plenty of fun activities to do during the day. Whether it’s slacklining, swimming at a pool at 8200 ft or just simply people watching some of the most beautiful people you will see, there’s plenty to with little or no money at all.

            For myself, though, it is what happens after 7:30 that makes this festival worth going to. Thursday night opened the festival with Beats Antique. This unconventional group of musicians and dancers delivers an inspiring trance performance every time they come out. This combination of heavy bass, live drums & percussion and excellent string and wind instrument work can quickly send you into a melodic trance that the genre’s name would suggest. A couple hours of this would turn out to be the perfect way to ease into what would turn out to be a very long weekend.

            After another full day of festivities, Friday night kicked off the party. Shpongle performing The Masquerade would turn out to definitely turn out to be a top highlight of the weekend. The Masquerade is the name for Shpongle’s stage, which may be one of the more impressive video mapping stages in electronic music. While Shpongle also fits into the category of trance, he seems to do it in a way that caters to the high energy world of dance music as well. He pieced together a magnificent live set mixing his know production with improvisational live music seamlessly. Shpongle can get a bit weird for people looking for a wild party, however, I found his talent and his energy to be quite impressive.

            It wasn’t until the final night, however, where Ziggy Marley would singularly steal the show. He is truly the current champion when it comes to roots reggae music. Of all the talent in the Marley family, Ziggy is the one that most directly followed his father’s simple template of revolution. Unfortunately, I never had such luck too see his father, the godfather, perform. However, I can say that Ziggy sounds and looks a lot like the leader of the Wailers. Accordingly, he carries the same message of peace and happiness that everyone that listens to Legend loves. He performed a meaningful set composed of mostly his originals, but, as we all hoped, worked in a few Bob tracks as well. Playing up to the second the noise ordinance kicked in, Ziggy Marley captured all the love in the Olympic Valley that night.

Though the mainstage shut down at  midnight, this was not at all the end of the musical experience of Wanderlust. Eskimo played two nights in the Olympic Plaza, which is an electronic show that you must see if you are at all into the live production in the electronic world. In a way not many others do, Eskimo uses his microphone and live looping technology to create genius bass music. Loud bass along with ripping of paper and unheard vocal lines he played two sets that were exceptionally creative and fresh. In a world that most djs play music you can just as easily hear on the radio Eskimo was a real change of pace.

            While the musical lineup may not compare to the bigger festivals of the summer, the Wanderlust experience is

certainly a festival to indulge in. While many of us get ourselves caught up in the culture of partying, it is nice to step

back, take a deep breath and allow yourself to get caught up in the trance environment and let your body and mind

become deeply moved. There are tons of fun, exciting music lineups to look 

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