A bell rang out over the music as lights danced across participants. With eyes closed, they lowered themselves into downward facing dog. The rhythmic yoga portion of Bellingham’s Urban Flow Fest was in full swing.
Urban Flow Fest took place on Wednesday, June 1, at the Bellingham Ferry Terminal. The event featured booths from local sponsors, such as Kombucha Town and Handshake Coffee. Rhythmic yoga lead was led by event coordinator Summer Huntington and local electronic dance music producers 49th Parallel, DJ Shadow Parallel and Safeword performed.
Huntington explained that the event was more than just a dance party, it was also encouraging social activism. Ten percent of overall ticket sales went to the Water is Life charity. This charity provides clean water to schools and villages in need and implements programs for future sanitation.
“We want to create an environment that’s different from other EDM shows that might be centered around drugs or alcohol or just focused on those artists,” Huntington said. “[The goal] is really to authentically connect with other humans and raise their vibrations or raise their mind spaces to be in a place that allows them to make that social change.”
The festival had about 100 attendees wearing everything from tutus to tie dye, one of which was junior Sarah Struyvenberg. She was volunteering at the event and said she had been involved in the flow community for four to five years.
Struyvenberg said she likes coming to events like this because people are very accepting, willing to teach, willing to be kind and have patience with others.
“Its also one of the most expressive communities I’ve ever been a part of,” she said.
Bethany Sanderson and Sarah Bourgeois, who were volunteering at the event as well, said they believe one of the most important aspects of this event is to give people the opportunity to express themselves.
Many people brought hula hoops and other props, wore interesting outfits and got their faces painted as a form of self-expression.
The rhythmic yoga portion of the night allowed participants to decompress prior to the dance party that was to come. Softer, more methodical music was played afterward. The music was accompanied by bells that were intended to bring the crowd to the same vibration to achieve the aforementioned flow.
After rhythmic yoga, things shifted into high gear. The EDM artists took over and got the crowd more rowdy. Light-up props and hula hoops were in full swing. Everyone was dancing, mostly in the Flow Zone. Across the terminal was the Chill Zone lined with pillows for people to relax.
At this point, the festival began to mirror other raves but Sanderson was sure to say, “It’s one of a kind, it really is.”
Urban Flow hopes to expand across the West Coast with events in Seattle and Los Angeles in coming years.