Contrary to its name, the YAM Fest is not about loving on a starchy vegetable. Although, there will be plenty of plant-based foods and unique, inclusive elements as part of the first-year yoga, arts, and music celebration taking place from May 17-19 in St. Clair, Missouri, about an hour southwest of St. Louis.

“This is a thoughtful event that’s focused on inviting everyone to have fun and building community,” said Savanna DeLuca, co-founder of Adventure Tribe Retreats, producer of the festival. “Between the music and the art and the yoga, we want people to have a transformative experience where they can trust us and try something new.”

The music for the brand-new event speaks to the quality and character of what DeLuca and her business partner, Samantha Williford, hope to build. Friday night will showcase performers like JD Hughes and the Hillary Fitz Band, names familiar to fans of the St. Louis club scene. Hughes calls his music “happy funk jam jazz,” while Fitz describes her sound as a fusion of Americana, blues, and soul.

Saturday will see performances by the Sansang Duo as well as by Chase Makai from Nahko and Medicine for the People. These special sets will allow the artists, who normally play in larger bands, to show off the more personal, intimate sides of their craft.

Richard Vagner, a 19-year-old who mixes classical and modern music by live looping an electric/acoustic violin and other instruments, will also play on Saturday. DeLuca says Vagner’s set could include a performance art element, though plans are still being finalized.

“It’s all very conscious and eclectic music, good vibes music,” said DeLuca. “This really is our personality. Our values and what we care about are creating fun events that draw people to the same things we enjoy.”

Gong sound healing

Gong sounds healing is just one unique activity available at the YAM Fest.

The festival will take place at Lost Hill Lake, a scenic, 200-acre property on the Meramec River, with rolling hills, a private lake, shaded walnut grove, and hiking trails. Admission to the three-day, two-night event includes camping, access to several daily yoga classes and workshops, vegetarian and vegan food options, visual and interactive art displays, and a huge bonfire hangout each night.

“In just one day, you can take a yoga class in the walnut grove, experience gong sound healing, learn how to make fire in a fire workshop, and then listen to live music and dance under the stars,” DeLuca said. “And that doesn’t event touch on the swimming, hiking, kids’ activities. There’s just so much to do!

“In my experience, festivals can be life-changing places. You can meet people you would have never otherwise met and establish friendships that extend across boundaries,” she added. “We want everyone to enjoy the culture created by that experience, even if you’ve never done yoga before or aren’t a vegetarian. We’re not going to give anyone a hard time for bringing a cooler and eating a turkey sandwich.”

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine