In 1997, a group of wellness-minded community members in Sun Valley decided to host a small event over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, the annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival and Conference (SVWFC) has grown into a major event as well as the longest-running wellness festival in the world. Each year’s festival and conference draws roughly 1,500 people to see speakers such as Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, and Arianna Huffington, and to the festival portion which includes movement classes, vendors, and the experience park. This year’s 25th annual event will be held from June 10-13, and will focus on COMING HOME. It will explore how social health & well-being define the foundation of our collective wellness,
illuminating what it really means to be a community.
After its founding in 1997, the formative team behind the festival started the non-profit arm, the Sun Valley Wellness Institute (SVWI) in 2005. The festival is now run by the institute as well as a Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and current Executive Director Andria Friesen. Over the years, the date of the SVWFC has changed from taking place during the slack month of May to a busy summer event. Its location has varied over the years too, from the first year in the lobby of the Elkhorn Resort to the Community School Campus to the Sun Valley Resort. But even through those changes, one thing has remained the same: a dedication to booking the best and most relevant speakers in wellness.
And the popularity of this event is linked directly to its locale: Sun Valley, Idaho. This community embodies wellness in so many ways from the active lifestyles led by the people who live here to a focus on bettering one’s self mentally and spiritually.
“Mother nature is at its finest here,” says Friesen. “The air that we have the privilege to breathe, the scenery and the outdoor spaces, the quality of life; we’ve got it. I think everything that wellness represents is here on our trails, our vistas, and our people.”
The programming of each year’s Wellness Festival and Conference seeks to represent all four areas of wellness: mind, body, spirit, and environment. The roster of past speakers demonstrates just how significant the SVWFC is in the wellness sphere; from award-winning poet, J. Ivy speaking on living in your divine purpose, to Dr. Rick Doblin speaking on the future of psychedelic therapy. A variety of vendors provide products and services like massage, aura reading, and more in the event’s Experience Hall.
SVWellness Virtual Passes are now on sale.