Environment meets entertainment at Evolve

New focus for Festival of Opportunities

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 07:50 25/02/2013

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People lay prone at Founders Heritage Park, healers' hands worked on them, and the smell of incense wafted in the air.

Kids walked around on stilts, and a woman dressed in a fairy costume fluttered about.

The Nelson Reflexology Group had 20-minute sessions for $20 up for grabs, and a woman was offering belly dancing lessons.

A sign inside the Energy Centre read, "Free Stress Test", and there were crystals for sale.

Evolve Festival of Opportunities, held on Saturday and yesterday, featured more than 70 workshops, seminars, demonstrations, and performances.

The event is marketed as an annual celebration of health and wellbeing of individuals, the community, and the earth.

There were products for sale, therapists and healers on hand, food, a stage, and kids' zones.

Jim Yellowhawk from South Dakota, who has a partner from Nelson, was dressed in traditional Native American clothing.

Mr Yellowhawk is of the Lakota and Iroquois tribes, and said it took him an hour to get dressed each time he put his 20-kilogram traditional outfit on.

He performed a men's traditional dance, accompanied by Golden Bay-based musician Sika, on Saturday night.

The concert also featured New Zealand's Got Talent finalist Mihirangi Fleming and her band Resin Dogs.

Evolve started its life as the Festival of Possibilities, and then became the Festival of Opportunities.

The festival's organisers Chai and Bex Deva have taken it in a different direction in the last three years.

They sold 75 per cent of the stalls last year, and sold out the spaces completely this year.

The first year they spent 10 times as much on music as the previous budget had allowed for, a sum which has increased with each subsequent year. Tommy and the Fallen Horses headlined at Founders on Saturday, and folk artist Amiria Grenell played there yesterday.

Mrs Deva said the weekend went ‘‘really, really well’’, with about 2000 people through the gates, which was up on last year.

‘‘We got heaps of really good feedback from everyone. It felt like the vision of what we were trying to create came together. Mihirangi was awesome - people loved her,’’ she said.

‘‘We have already got stallholders and people enquiring about booking next year. It’s really exciting.’’

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