Imagine All the People

Flying high, “Inverted Play” instructor Miyoko teaches Howard Reichenbach the art of balancing.

“Imagine,” as John Lennon sang, “It’s easy if you try.” That’s what yoga instructor Natalie Backman did when she put her efforts toward developing a yoga, art and live music festival to benefit Unlikely Heroes, a local nonprofit organization committed to rescuing and rehabilitating child victims of sex trafficking in countries such as Nigeria, Thailand, the Philippines, Mexico and the United States. 

“I’d been introduced to sex trafficking several years earlier and felt compelled immediately to do something to help,” Backman shared in an email to The Malibu Times. “I had some experience with events and I am passionate about yoga and music, and their power to heal, so it seemed like a perfect fit.” 

This year was the second annual Imagine Fest, held outdoors at Paramount Ranch. The park, backdrop to many Westerns, was transformed into a magical “Bohemian-style yoga, art, and music festival” — picture Woodstock for 2016, in cowboy country. 

The day began at noon with a guided meditation led by Mary Bruce and Gabriel Logan Braun. Events were held on an ongoing basis throughout the ranch including yoga, music, inverted play and meditation. This family-friendly day was designed to bring likeminded people together as a community, for a mindful day of fun and philanthropy. 

Food trucks were available for picnics to refuel and hydrate during the record-breaking heat. For those in the mood to shop, there was a “Vendor Village” with clothes, soaps, body oil, artwork, jewelry and more. 

Backman said that 100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales would go to Unlikely Heroes.  

“We are still waiting for the final numbers to come in, but are estimating $25-30,000 going to Unlikely Heroes this year, which is double what we were able to donate last year!” Backman wrote. Most likely, the third annual Imagine Fest will be held at Paramount Ranch, where they gained support from the park rangers and have room to grow.

“Seeing our community come together in support of this organization — not just at the festival — but throughout the planning process, has been incredible. Our community has a tremendous amount of love to offer and Imagine Fest gives them something to direct it toward,” Backman shared. “The involvement of our local teens is particularly inspiring to me. I am so excited to see how we all grow together over the coming years. Our dream is to completely support at least one of Unlikely Heroes’ safe homes every year. As long as they continue saving children from slavery, we will continue to support them.” 


There’s still time to donate to Unlikely Heroes at For more information on Imagine Fest 2016, go to