Jessica Rose Knowles Jessica Rose Knowles

My First Festival – Soul Circus

Seeing things through the eyes of a sceptic is sometimes one of the most eye opening ways of viewing an experience and so it was that I took my friend Andy to Soul Circus Festival this weekend. No sooner had we started driving towards the tipis, large and small, located in lush green fields and parked the car, Andy, rolled his eyes and piped up “I wondered how long it would be until we saw a white man with dreads,” and so, began the weekend at Soul Circus; a yoga and wellness festival in the heart of the Cotswolds.


I’ve never been to a festival but Soul Circus sounded like my kind of festival – where else could you spend your days doing yoga, Pilates and spinning, refresh yourself on wholesome food and fresh leaf teas then spend your evening at the rum shack followed by a live set from Maxi Jazz (Faithless).

Founded by Ella (from renowned Ella and Fleur Yoga in Cheltenham) and her husband Roman, Soul Circus provided the perfect excuse to run away to the circus and invest in ‘self’.


We started off by visiting Born Wild Teas for a reggae refresh tea. Despite drinking nothing but herbal teas (not a coffee fan) I never thought I’d wax lyrical about tea but the flavour achieved from fresh leaves and their use of whole dried fruit and herbs is incredible! After that we headed over to Shine Shack where I got glittered up and felt truly festival ready.

IMG_8905 IMG_8904Although a relatively small festival, Soul Circus immediately felt like a little community and there was a strong emphasis on sustainability and working with local suppliers. A completely guilt free festival.


There were also talks to suit everyone – from Will Young speaking about meditation, to nutrition talks, talks about finding happiness and wine tasting. I attended a fascinating talk about nutrition and left feeling educated and inspired about wholesome, happy eating.


There was an activity to suit every need and level and classes for the child in all of us – hula hoops with Hooper Dooper Duo and aerial hoops with Flying Fantastic. It was also family friendly and children were well catered too with mini yoga and mindfulness story time.


Watching so many people come together to practise yoga and meditate was inspiring. My favourite class was the Psycle London spinning class – set to fantastic music and disco lights in an intimate tent. An exploration of Soul Circus and its tipi’s revealed more hidden delights from a hot yoga tent to reflexology and Indian massage. A beautiful stroll around the lake, past the rum shack were situated outdoor hot tubs overlooking silvery water – they had thought of everything.


As the light fell and strings of fairy lights slowly connected the various circus tents and fire dancers seductively spun glowing flames, Soul Circus took on a mellow evening mood.

Watching Andy munch his ‘tandoori’ chicken wrap he took in the ever changing, unfolding festival, “It’s really chilled here isn’t it. I like it.”


Soul Circus encapsulates, in one weekend, what we are all looking for in life – companionship, balance, peace and fun and manages to convert even the most hardened sceptic.

To book tickets for next years festival

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