Shambhala Music Festival takes place in the gorgeous mountains of Salmo, British Columbia, Canada. Shambhala has been making a name for itself in the industry by booking cutting edge artists and providing only the best lights, sound, and experiences. A completely family-run festival, Shambhala is home to many (including lots of cows and pigs- it is a farm after all!)
But WHAT is so different about Shambhala?
1. Shambhala cares for its attendees
Shambhala offers various safe areas as well as harm reduction facilities to ensure the entire Farmily is cared for and safe. The Sanctuary is a place where if you’re feeling lonely, scared, or perhaps need to find a quiet place to rest, you are able to do so. Many counsellors, including psychedelic counsellors, are there to offer kind words of encouragement or advice to help you if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Shambhala is also known for its acceptance of recreational drug use. Instead of defying the inevitable, Shambhala uses Harm Reduction in hopes of furthering the prevention of the potential harm to attendees while using drugs. This forward-thinking service was once looked down upon many years ago when drug testing was a taboo topic. Since then, many festivals around the globe have begun adapting their own harm reduction procedures which has improved the safety for many festival goers.
Walking into the ANKORS booth, you are greeted by a wonderful group of staff who are welcoming, honest, and knowledgeable. You are asked your age, what substance you bought, and where you purchased this substance. They do not ask your name, address, or any other personal questions. After, you are asked to provide a sample of the substance which you want tested. Then, they use high tech equipment to determine exactly what is in your bag, all right before your eyes. Workers are able to narrow down the substance in a quick, easy, and thorough process that could potentially save your life. After being tested, you may choose to receive harm reducing tips and education on whichever substance you plan on using.
“Harm Reduction is actually a priority at Shamb rather than an afterthought.”– Mitch Rawluk
“Shambhala cares…. Every American festival I’ve been to has been incredibly fake-genuine… “this festival loves you but charges $12 for a water bottle” bullshit from massive corrupt corporations. Shambhala cares, about their land, their attendees, and their artists…. you can feel it.”– Athena Harrington
2. Each stage is an immersive experience
I’ve never been to a festival where each stage is truly its own entity. A walk through Shambhala is like walking through a magical land full of art, beauty, and weirdness. The Grove stage is pretty much an outdoor art exhibit. Beautiful installations were meticulously placed over such an immense area. Sometimes you would stop to laugh or appreciate the art, sometimes you would stop to trip out and let your mind play. Hammocks were strewn about, nestled amongst the trees where you could sway with a loved one and take it all in. The Village has a towering structured dome, with orbs of light which looked like they are hung from the sky. An enormous LED tree watches from above. The lights of The Village were forever morphing adding to the beauty that surrounded it. I was left speechless. As you walk through downtown Shambhala you can’t help but notice The Pagoda, which was a meticulous structure that glowed white during the day. The transformation happened at night, when the lasers came to life and the visuals danced over it’s ivory skin- truly a feast for the senses. Waterfalls and bridges and little hidey-holes were all throughout the stages dance floor. If electronic music was a religion, The Pagoda would be its temple, and we would be its congregation.
The Livingroom’s beauty is truly outstanding. During the day it turned into a riverside oasis, where you are able to sink your toes in the sand and become one with the music. Its cozy vibes creates an intimate setting, where you are able to relax in the warm sun or enjoy the loving vibe by night. Also, go find the Rabbit Hole… it may be closer than you think. The AMPhitheatre had my body vibrating from all that bass! It’s circus-esque red and white tent offered protection from the hot sun and the pouring rain. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the amazing performers that rocked that stage, especially the beautiful Cosmic Co Motion ladies. Finally, last but not least, Fractal Forest, the FUNKIEST place on earth. Fractal is where my heart lives and where my soul is freed. The lasers that shoot upwards into the night sky and dance among the surrounding trees makes you feel like you’re amidst a dream. I can’t help but lose myself (and quite literally lose myself because at night it can be like a maze) below the suns. Fractal Forest is a stimulation overload, in the best way possible.
3. You can find yourself by getting lost
To find yourself, you must lose yourself. At most major music festivals, losing your friends may be a worrisome thing, but not here. I turned my back away for one second and my friends had disappeared into the night. Though my first year it had frightened me, immediately my worries washed away as someone approached me and complimented my hat. After a short conversation, we had decided to go check out a set together. We walked together, divulging our life stories to one another as we chased whatever vibe that enticed us. Then soon after, we parted ways and I began the hunt for another adventure.
Losing my friends allowed me to truly open myself up and submit myself to the moment. I craved my own company and cherished the moments that I found myself lost.
“For me it’s the sheer size. I’ve been to a lot of smaller/medium sized festivals but Shambhala is just so MASSIVE that it’s more of a “journey” type of feeling. It really does feel like a whole other world and even just trekking to Metta and from downtown and back is a whole adventure, especially when you get lost!”– Clary Sage
4. The Farmily
You arrive at Shambhala as strangers and leave as family, a family where our differences are celebrated and you are free to be who you want to be. To be accepted into thousands of loving arms is a truly unique experience. No matter where you go, you are surrounded by kind souls that you can rely on or turn to at any time if you need absolutely anything. People will literally go out of their way to make your day, whether that be through a gift, a hug, or a laugh. It is undoubtedly special, and I’ve never felt so welcome.
“You can feel relaxed and safe at any stage, vendor, or campsite. Every single person I found myself around was all about the love and having as good of a time as possible”– Cody Greeley
5. It’s Home
Until you experience the vibe of Shamhala it’s hard to understand how it becomes home. I asked some fellow Farmily their thoughts on what Shambhala means to them…
“Shambhala is different from other festivals is the sense of belonging I feel when surrounded by nature on the farm, the amazing sound quality of PK sounds speakers blaring some dope tracks by iconic artists, the random encounters of awesome experiences and people, and the random gifts people give to others they meet or even leave around to be found. I’ve been a bass head for 10+ years and I have never felt so at home and so excited to run around in the mud, like when I go to Shambs.”– Saturn Reyes
“It’s those who embrace the Shambhala spirit who are meant to share with those who do not see the bigger picture. So that people can further spread the love into our society and keep the vibration travelling.”– Damian Dana Williams
“Everyone likes to call their favourite festival “home” but Shambhala is the only festival I’ve ever attended that has truly felt that way year after year. You show up and it feels as if you’ve never left. It’s one of the only festivals I’ve been to that truly immerses you in the experience from the moment you set up your tent to the moment you take your tent down.”– Aaron Silverstein
Experience the magic for yourself and come home to your Farmily! Tickets will be on sale shortly for Shambhala 2020 taking place on the new dates July 24th- July 27th, 2020. Keep your eyes peeled on Shambhala’s channels for more information.
*Featured Image via Don Idio Visuals*