During these uncertain times, the concept of personal wellness is perhaps more prevalent than ever, which is why the 23rd annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival & Conference opted for a creative retooling, rather than an outright cancellation.

“Indeed, it’s a surreal time for our world, and if ever there was a time for wellness, it’s now,” festival board President Andria Friesen said. “We have worked diligently to produce our 2020 Sun Valley Wellness Festival & Conference with highly relevant content and options to experience the event that will meet a multitude of comfort levels.”

The event, which is widely recognized as the longest-running wellness festival in the world, will take place virtually and in person in Ketchum on Aug. 21-24.

Physical attendance will be greatly reduced this year, but the new Virtual Festival Experience Pass provides for complete remote attendance. In the event that the COVID-19 situation worsens before August, the festival is prepared to transition all of this year’s offerings to the digital format.

Regardless of what the future holds, the conference will kick off Aug. 21 with as robust a lineup as is usual. The 2020 festival features more than 30 presentations, workshops and movement classes, each led by a top wellness expert and tying into one or more of the organization’s key wellness pillars: mind, body, spirit and environment.

Sleep expert Matthew Walker, Ph.D., will act as this year’s keynote speaker. His research focuses on how sleep relates to disease—including, recently, the coronavirus. Walker’s talk will also illuminate ways in which sleep impacts physical, emotional and mental health.

Other top featured speakers include Dr. Zach Bush, one of few triple board-certified physicians in the world; Nora McInerny, grief expert and best-selling author of “Terrible, Thanks for Asking”; Dr. Eben Alexander, neurosurgeon; Austyn Wells, spiritual medium; and many other doctors, astrologers, authors, scientists and yogis.

“Our roster of speakers is unprecedented for SVWFC, and a number of them will pivot their presentation to address the pandemic crisis at hand,” Friesen said. “The diverse subject matter our speakers will cover on the wellness pillars of mind, body, soul and environment is progressive and involved the latest research in other areas, including Alzheimer’s prevention, depression, heart disease, cancer and neuroscience.”

The restructured program will adhere to a number of new health-conscious protocols, including social distancing, extra sanitation and restrictions on crowds.

Festival passes are now available at sunvalleywellness.org.

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