Recognized as the longest-running wellness festival in the world, this keystone event for our community enters its 22nd year with a long-overdue addition to its name: The Sun Valley Wellness Festival & Conference. Our programming this year, as a whole, is the most exciting and powerful in the history of this multifaceted and always compelling four-day event, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to SVWFC 2019.
Last year was pivotal for SVWFC. Historically presented on Memorial Day weekend, the event shifted into the last week of June and we partnered with the Sun Valley Community School, allowing its award-winning campus to be the new SVWFC venue. These exciting moves remain in place for 2019 and beyond. Another important change: We have a new and enthusiastic board of directors. Our Opening Night Presentation and Keynote Address will be delivered at the Argyros Performing Arts Center. The board is pleased to achieve this important goal of bringing a portion of SVWFC into Ketchum. Also noteworthy, the scholarship program we introduced in January has been well received and utilized. We are grateful for the donations that have provided these scholarships.
Topics deemed relevant today are medical cannabis, microbiome, longevity and trauma—these subjects are well-represented amid our content-rich program with more than 30 presentations and workshops by experts addressing diverse aspects of body, mind, spirit and environmental wellness. Additionally, the SVWFC Movement Studio offers a seriously impressive variety of ongoing yoga classes taught by outstanding instructors.
It matters to me that people know we are listening. This year, throughout the festival, we have more offerings free and open to the public than ever before. Music and movement in the Quad on Campus, sunrise guided meditations and mindful-morning hikes. And, this year the Experience Hall has been greatly modified, both in concept and quality of vendors and offerings.
The hall features a host of top wellness products, the latest in wellness technology, hands-on sessions with wellness practitioners and much more. Chapter One Bookstore has a more extensive selection of books and we now have the Lotus Lounge in close proximity.
As a centerpiece and new to the conference this year, we have the Insight Stage. It is in the Experience Hall and offers scheduled presentations by exhibitors and workshop presenters. The Insight Stage also serves as a Q&A platform for a number of principal speakers. All of this is free to the public.
I am herein requesting a favor from visitors and passholders: Please stand in front of the vast array of sunflowers at the Sun Valley Community School and post your photo on social media. Upon being on campus, you will easily recognize the array to which I refer!
Concluding with a staggering fact and our truth: The Global Wellness Institute in 2018 placed a value on the worldwide wellness industry at $4.2 trillion (this is worth more than three times the global pharmaceutical market). This colossal number demonstrates the importance of wellness worldwide, and the true significance of SVWFC. While most wellness events are now for-profit, Sun Valley Wellness Festival & Conference is rare in holding a 501(c)(3) status. The cost of annually presenting this event greatly exceeds the ticket revenue. Personally and as board president, I am grateful beyond words for the generosity that has allowed this 2019 SVWFC to be all that it is, and I am eager for all the appreciated attendees and presenters, and the wonderful volunteers, to have a fascinating and memorable experience.