SHERMAN - For area residents who march to the beat of their own drum, Jim Donovan's Great Rhythm Revival may be just the way to spend the weekend.
The annual retreat will kick off for the fifth consecutive year at 8 a.m. Friday, and will run through the afternoon hours on Sunday, at the Great Blue Heron grounds in Sherman.
The Great Rhythm Revival is a three-day retreat aimed at providing participants with a number of relaxing and rejuvenating activities and workshops. Donovan - an award-winning educator and founding member of the multi-platinum selling band Rusted Root - along with a host of world-class musicians and teachers will lead participants in a series of musical and personal development workshops including: drum and chant meditation, African djembe drum and dance, Hatha yoga, shamanic journey, sacred intimacy, transformative writing, all-percussion, energy medicine, women's sacred circles, an introduction to men's work, Afro-Cuban drumming, sound healing and Kundalini yoga.
Attendees of a previous installation of the annual Great Rhythm Revival, held every year at the Great Blue Heron grounds in Sherman, are pictured participating in a group dance workshop.
Instructor Mike Deaton is pictured with students at a percussion workshop during a previous Great Rhythm Revival.
Since leaving Rusted Root in 2005, Donovan said he has been developing himself as a teacher in many different life areas. It was his flair for event hosting that ultimately led to the genesis of the Great Rhythm Revival as a nature-focused retreat. He said the event has been well-attended in recent years while presenting participants with a different perspective on life and the Great Blue Heron grounds themselves.
"The Blue Heron was one of the first out-of-town shows Rusted Root ever played, and not only was the festival special, but the land itself," Donovan said. "As a young person, I couldn't ever put my finger on what it was but, for me personally, I always feel better after I've been there. It's a perfect location, and a natural fit for the revival. And, for people who have been to the (Great Blue Heron Festival), it's a pretty opposite experience. It's very, very low-key, and it's a nice contrast to the music festival."
The retreat has also become known for its healthy food options. For an $89 meal plan, which is not included in the price of admission, attendees can receive freshly prepared meals made with as many local ingredients as possible; some of which come straight from Julie and Steve Rockcastle's Green Heron Growers organic farm. Visit www.greenherongrowers.com for more information on the Rockcastles' organic farm.
A full-weekend pass to the Great Rhythm Revival, which includes all workshops and concerts throughout the entire event, is $199. A one-day pass is priced at $89. On Saturday evening, participants can receive a brief glimpse of the retreat for $15 by attending "Night Lights at the Heron." The experience begins at 7 p.m., and will include a 9:30 p.m. concert by Donovan's percussive-based band The Sun King Warriors.
The event is 18-and-over, unless minors are accompanied by a parent. The Saturday evening special is open to all ages. All workshops are beginner-friendly, and assume participants have no musical experience or background. Drums are provided for the drumming workshops. The event will be held rain or shine, and free camping is available.
The Great Blue Heron grounds are located at 2361 Waits Corners Road in Sherman. For more information, including a complete instructor listing and workshop schedule, visit www.greatrhythmrevival.com.