Music is force powerful enough to calm a baby, soothe a wild beast, or compel the two to dance with each other. Be overcome by this GrouponLive deal to Bhakti Fest Midwest at Alliant Energy Center’s Willow Island. For $150, you get a three-day general-admission adult festival pass, starting Friday, July 5, at 7 a.m. and running through Sunday, July 7, at 11:55 p.m. (up to a $300 value, including all fees). Tickets for ages 13–17 are $75, and children younger than 13 are admitted free.
A festival of love and limberness, Bhakti Fest Midwest invites one and all to three days of yoga demonstrations and thought-provoking workshops, soundtracked by the meditative mantras of spiritually grounded musicians. Throughout the weekend, the air will thrum with the sounds of kirtan, an Indian folk-music tradition of call-and-response chanting rich with intoxicating rhythms and melodies that build verse by verse. Performers from across the country add drums, harmonium, guitar, and strings to the waves of vocal sound, inducing an atmosphere ripe for spiritual awakening and making any birds overhead float to the ground in a blissful trance.
Govind Das and Radha, a married couple whose moniker means “servants of the Divine,” inspire trance-like meditations as they blend Western melodies and India's ancient mantras during their kirtan concert. Nineteen other kirtan artists perform throughout the weekend, including veteran sacred-music composer Jai Uttal and the vibrant Blue Spirit Wheel, a trio that mixes deep bass grooves with traditional Sanskrit rhythms and improvisational vocals to create a unique sound that invites listeners to dance or inappropriately crowd surf along to.
While the music fills the air, minds and bodies come together in 35 yoga classes and workshops on topics including spiritualism, nutrition, and eco-activism. A vendor village, meanwhile, attracts eco-friendly artisans purveying clothing, jewelry, and vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
Bhakti Fest West
The sprawling four-day Bhakti Fest West solemnizes emotional attachment and devotion toward a personal god with its 26 yoga demonstrations, workshops where advanced yogis share mystical truths, and healing sanctuaries that feature massage, reiki, and acupuncture. The deep, soulful voice of Krishna Das headlines the festival’s lineup of more than 40 musical acts. Originally from New York, Das has toured the globe with music that interweaves feverish cadences with traditional and modern instrumentation. The former rock ‘n' roller and Grammy nominee explains the atavistic appeal of chanting by saying that it "just hits you and you want to be a part of it . . . you don't have to know what it means."