Best Bets: Ohmfest combines music, yoga this weekend

Johnathan Plummer and Ruby Zulkowski are co-organizers of the first Ohmfest, a yoga and music festival set for Saturday and Sunday at the at the Akridge Scout Reservation, 1910 Baden Powell Way in Dover. (Submitted photo)

This weekend’s inaugural Ohmfest combines two of Ruby Zulkowski’s passions — music and yoga.

Ms. Zulkowski, the owner of Shakti Yoga LLC in west Dover, is co-organizer with her boyfriend, Johnathan Plummer, of the first music and yoga festival in the area, set for Saturday and Sunday at the Akridge Scout Reservation, 1910 Baden Powell Way in Dover.

The event combines live music from local bands, various yoga classes, live art, kids’ activities, craft and food vendors and a “no bad vibes” environment with a coronavirus-safe experience.

A regular at music festivals across the area, including Firefly, Ms. Zulkowski said something always seemed to be missing.

“For a really large portion of our 20s, my boyfriend and I would travel to different music festivals and yoga festivals and different types of festivals, and we were really inspired by that, and we wanted to bring that home to us and to our community,” she said.

“And we were really excited about Firefly, and we’ve attended Firefly every year except for the last year, and we didn’t really get the same feeling at Firefly that we would get at the other festivals that we would attend,” she added. “We just had our daughter a year and a half ago. And so, of course, we can’t travel as much as we used to, so we decided to bring a music festival to the area, and let’s incorporate more of the yoga and the body movement.

“I do know that Firefly has offered yoga, but there wasn’t a wellness aspect that was promoted by Firefly. And I think that’s something that we are trying to bring to the community. You can reach out and have a good time. But then, you can also go over here and have a yoga practice or meditate or have some breath work before you go to your next show. So that’s kind of what we want to promote — that wellness and get people up and moving and not just go there to like rave out and have a good time.”

Ms. Zulkowski has been involved in yoga since 2014.

“I had no interest in yoga. I wasn’t an athlete. I wasn’t really much into fitness. But I was not really in a great place in my life, and physically, I could have been doing a lot better. And somebody invited me to a class, and I just happened to go. I had been exposed to these things through going to different festivals because they would have a meditation class but I never really involved myself in it,” she said.

Jim Rezac will perform at Ohmfest Saturday night at 7.

“But I went to a class here in Dover with a friend of mine, and I just fell in love. It was a different type of yoga than I had ever done before. And it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I was in a room full of people, but I only had to worry about myself, and I think that’s what really got me, was this community of people who were all there to support each other and hold space for each other. We’re all collectively and individually working on ourselves. And that really empowered me,” she said.

“And I just, slowly but surely, kept going back and going to classes, and then I started going to lectures and learning about the philosophy. And then I got fired from my job. And I was like, ‘You know what, I am going to go to teacher training’ and went down to Mexico for a week and, during that training, I knew this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”

Shakti Yoga, in the Gateway West Shopping Center, was opened in 2018.

The festival was originally scheduled for April but coronavirus regulations put a halt to that. Undaunted, the festival will take place this weekend with restrictions.

“It might even be somewhat selfish of us because we love music festivals, and we used to go to a music festival at least every month or every other month, and we haven’t been able to do that. And of course, being locked down with COVID, I think even just for us, for our own mental health, I think it’s important for us to have this,” Ms. Zulkowski said.

“It’s been a really, really challenging year and experience. I also will say that I think because of this, we have learned a lot more about the production of this festival than we would have learned had we not had all these restrictions and guidelines in place. So, you know, there is a silver lining, though it’s been really challenging. It’s also been really empowering because I feel like now, we’re like five steps ahead for next year.”

The event is a no-trace festival. Everything attendees bring to the festival, they will take with them when leaving. Camping attendees will be provided trash bags and recycle bags upon arrival. There will be landfill and sanitation stations.

All patrons must wear a mask when walking the festival grounds and will have their temperatures taken upon entering the festival. Those whose temperature is over 100 degrees will not be able to enter the grounds. Social distancing will also be strictly enforced.

Because the grounds of the festival are considered private property, organizers of Ohmfest did not have to submit a plan for approval. But Ms. Zulkowski said there has been extensive consultation with the Delaware Division of Public Health.

“I didn’t have to submit any plans, necessarily, but I did have to speak with somebody in the state of Delaware’s Division of Public Health, and they are going to be sending somebody out over the weekend multiple times to verify that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. But I did, I wouldn’t really call it a phone interview, but I did have to have a phone conversation with somebody from the Division of Public Health about exactly what we were doing,” she said.

There is a 250-person maximum for the event. Tickets will not be sold at the gate per se. However, if, upon arrival, there are less than 250 people on site, attendees can order the tickets on their phones and obtain admission that way.

Gates open Saturday at 7:30 a.m. for weekend campers and vendors and will open Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. for day-pass holders. Music and yoga begin at 10 each day.

Saturday’s music session will last until 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Bands also will be on stage 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Local musicians will include Muskrat Flats, The Mad Dabbers Band, Disco Risque, Fragments of Greatness, Under The Sun, Jim Rezac, Funhouse, Pristine Raeign, Rivers & Rhodes, LandEye and Bad Praxis.

Activities will include Vinyasa yoga, Aryuvedic yoga, a flow and fly yoga arm-balance workshop, aroma yoga, sunrise sound meditation and SUP yoga and will be led by local yoga instructors Ms. Zulkowski, Kristy Short, Ali Bednarik, Alexis Gatti, Tamara Lang, Meaghan Kelley Gwinn and Angie Hall.

For full details and ticket information, visit shaktiyogallc.com/ohmfest.

Delmarva Folk Fest

Another festival hoping to be able to go later this year is the Delmarva Folk Fest.

Delaware Friends of Folk’s 29th annual event will be held Oct. 2 and 3 on the festival grounds of Downs Chapel Road, near Hartly.

Friday will feature the finals of the 14th annual Delmarva Folk Heroes Contest, and Saturday provides a lineup of folk, blues, old-time and bluegrass music, along with special kids’ activities and craft and food vendors featuring beer from local brewers. Weekend tent and RV camping sites will be available, too.

Current Delmarva Folk Hero Rick Hudson will open the festival as he hosts the finals of the contest beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 2. Eight acts who sign up for the evening’s open mic will perform, and the audience that evening will vote to select the new Delmarva Folk Hero.

The music resumes Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. with a set from the newly minted Delmarva Folk Hero. Local favorite Crabmeat Thompson will take the stage at 2, and the afternoon continues with a set of folk, blues and Americana from Mother’s Highway Junction at 3.

The festival’s 4 p.m. artist is multi-instrumentalist and avid songwriter Tyler Sjöström, a Chicago native who recently relocated to central Virginia. At 5, Baltimore-based and Emmy-nominated singer-songwriter ellen cherry takes the stage, mixing equal parts of pathos and humor throughout her songs. At 6, local jam band Stone Jack Ballers will take the stage.

Local blues band Judy Sings the Blues performs at 7, while the set at 8 belongs to the Nate Clendenen Steel Trio, an American roots-rock band based on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Closing the 2020 festival at 9 will be the return of Eastern Shore legends the Swamp Weasels. Playing together for over 30 years, Billy Breslin, Ed Solomon, George Harvey and Ossi Becke bring their classic mix of originals and covers to close the curtain on another Delmarva Folk Festival.

Everyone admitted to the festival grounds will follow physical distancing practices, wear masks and adhere to other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended measures. Total attendance will be limited to no more than 250.

Advance tickets can be purchased in person at Howard’s Guitars in Magnolia, If Heaven Had a Flavor coffee shop in Clayton or online at delfolk.org. Before Oct. 1, tickets are $20 for members of Delaware Friends of Folk ($5 voucher included) and $20 for nonmembers.

Tickets at the gate Saturday will be $30 for everyone, and admission for the Friday night Delmarva Folk Heroes contest will be $7 for all. In the event of cancellation, refunds will be offered by request.

Del Shakes grant

The National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded Delaware Shakespeare a $50,000 grant through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Delaware Shakespeare is one of 855 nonprofit organizations across the nation selected for funding to support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractual personnel and facilities costs.

A portion of the NEA CARES Act award is being allocated to hire four associate artists to join Delaware Shakespeare through the end of the year. Newton Buchanan, Bi Jean Ngo and Emily Schuman, three theater artists with a combined 10 Del Shakes productions between them, will work with a producing artistic director to develop new online and, potentially, small-scale, in-person programming for Del Shakes to offer to the community.

An introductory associate artist event, titled “Three Artists, Four Humors & Food!” is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The women will share their love of food, Shakespeare and Elizabethan history by introducing recipes that connect to various Shakespeare characters. The event is pay-what-you-decide. Patrons can register for this Zoom program for free through the Delaware Shakespeare website and will be sent a link immediately after the event, inviting guests to pay what they believe the program was worth.

Due to the ongoing public health concerns related to COVID-19 and feedback from Community Tour partners, Delaware Shakespeare has postponed its world premiere bilingual musical adaptation of “Twelfth Night,” originally planned for October, until fall 2021. The Community Tour brings professional Shakespeare to audiences who may not have easy access to professional arts experiences. The productions travel throughout the state and play in nontheatrical settings, such as multipurpose rooms, cafeterias and gymnasiums, and are scaled for those spaces, with live music, minimal sets and whatever lighting is available.

The writing team of the new musical will use the additional year to further refine the script and score, which re-imagines Shakespeare’s characters of Viola and Sebastian as Latinx immigrants whose shipwreck brings them ashore in Illyria.

The Del Shakes associate artists will work to develop virtual programming to connect with audiences at many long-standing Community Tour partners to build on a four-year history of increasing access to high-quality arts experiences.

Now Showing

New in theaters this weekend is “Bill and Ted Face the Music,” “The New Mutants” and “The Personal History of David Copperfield.”