Ladies and gents, it's that time of year again: FESTIVAL SEASON. Seeing as it is almost July, and many of you are either finalizing festival plans or have tickets already purchased, it has become my duty to spread the word of my favorite festival on earth: Shambhala Music Festival
in beautiful British Columbia.
Now, many of you seasoned festival veterans may argue that Electric Daisy Carnival
or Lightning in a Bottle
takes the cake as the best festival in the world. Well folks, you are sadly mistaken. Whether you have been thinking about attending Shambhala this year, dreaming of it for years past or completely ruled out this one-of-a-kind hippie gathering, I am here to show you why Shambhala Music Festival offers a festival experience like no other.
10. The scenery is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen
Located near Nelson, B.C. and nestled in the breathtaking West Kootenay mountains just north of the U.S/Canada border, the views from the stages, the river and the campsite are absolutely awe inspiring. My all-time favorite spot on the farm is the river that runs through the outermost edge of the festival. From the banks of this wide, shallow river you can see miles and miles of beautiful forest and rolling hills. And, add in some beautiful sunshine and you have yourself the most magical place in the world.
9. The vendors are incredible
I remember walking into Shambhala for the first time and being so overwhelmed
by the number of amazing options when it came to the vendors. All of the food at Shambhala is local, fresh and delicious
. I know that at many festivals the food is sub-par, but trust me, this is not the case at Shambs whatsoever. I think I survived solely on delicious Indian food and smoothies last year, and that was completely A-ok with me. In addition to the delicious food options, Shambhala hosts numerous art, clothing and other miscellaneous vendors. Selling items from handmade festival belts to beautiful paintings, you should definitely take the time to browse the vast selection of products and get something to remember your time on the ranch.
8. Costumes are HIGHLY encouraged
I'm not going to downplay this little factoid about Shambhala: expect to dress up in some pretty
wild costumes. Whether you're wearing a onesie (my personal favorite for those chilly Canadian nights) or dressed as a king with a cape and crown, costumes are the best way to make some great new friends while having the time of your life. At Shambhala, group costumes are very common. Last year I saw groups dressed up as construction workers with hard hats and caution tape draped around their waists, as well as packs of aliens, and even a hoard of gnomes. Also, SIGNS. Witty signs and totems are both practical and hilarious at the festival. Things are much more fun when you're wearing a gnome hat and beard, holding a "hangin' with my gnomies" sign. Trust me guys, trust me.
7. The weather is absolutely amazing
Last year at Shambhala the daytime average temperature hovered in the mid-90's, with the year before that hitting 100°. To many people, this is quite warm. But if you take the shade provided by the forest and the cold river into account, 95 degrees and sunny feels heavenly. Because Shambhala is located deep in the woods, nights can get a little on the chilly side. But, have no fear! Raging in multiple layers and a pair of pants is surprisingly very enjoyable! Still chilly? No worries; it's extremely quick and easy to walk back to your campsite if you need to gather more warm clothes and supplies.
6. The diverse line up
Not only is the line up at Shambhala one of the best I've seen in a long, long time, it is extremely diverse in the wide variety of musical genres and talents. You can find hip-hop showcases during the day, beautiful live bands, downtempo psy-trance, wubby dubstep, bouncy trap and melodic house, just to name a few. And, one word: BASSNECTAR
. The king of bass music had finally returned to headline the festival, alongside musical superstars Andy C
, The M Machine
, Chris Lorenzo
and What So Not
. Just by taking a quick peek at this year's lineup, one can see how nearly every musical genre is represented - satisfying every attendee's musical appetite.
5. The art, the stages, the sound systems
Guys. This is some serious stuff. I mean it. The production value of Shambhala is absolutely absurd. Each of the themed stages are stunning. The lasers, the lights, and the beautiful visuals are unmatched. Just imagine: dancing in the forest in a silly costume, completely surrounded by trees, being hit with an array of beautiful lasers, all while listening to some of the best music from some of the best speakers in the world (thank you PK Sound). Well, that's Shambhala for you. Last year, I spent the majority of my time in the Village Stage; a 2-story circular, enclosed stage that housed many talents like GRiZ
. But, the other unique stages, like the Pagoda, Fractal Forest, Grove, Amphitheater, and Living Room have so much to offer in terms of beautiful lights, world class sound and phenomenal art installations to discover.
4. It's more than just music
Shambhala is truly a special festival. Like other hippie festivals of its kind (Think: Lightning in a Bottle, Burning Man and Symbiosis), Shambhala offers lots of workshops in hoop dance and yoga, inspirational speakers, live painting, a wishing tree, beautiful garden and more! At Shambhala, the sense of community can be felt throughout the festival grounds, and much of that has to do with the amazing activities and interactive environment that fosters personal growth. As cheesy as it sounds, these eye-opening art exhibits and mind-expanding workshops really help create a new level of consciousness and community amongst festival-goers.
3. There is a river you guys... a RIVER!
Like much of Shambhala, it's very hard to put into words how spectacular the river is. It's icy cold and oh so refreshing during the sunny summer days spent on the ranch. For the most part, it's very shallow and easy to wade into, which most everyone does. During the peak hours of the day, the river can become quite full with partially submerged beach chairs, floaties, and rafts. Not only is the river a great place to play around and make new friends, but at a warm summer festival, cooling down in a body of water can be the godsend you are searching for. And, if anything, you can do like me and substitute a shower for a dip in the river. Because you can get a little crusty, and being crusty ain't cute.
2. The people are unlike people anywhere else
This is really the best part of Shambhala in my opinion. The people that attend this festival are absolutely amazing, kindhearted, caring people looking to meet lots of new friends and to have the time of their life. And, on top of all of this, many of the Shambhala veterans are more than happy to help newbies set up camp, navigate them around the farm or introduce them to their group. Everyone is so friendly, making it nearly impossible not
to make some awesome new friends. Nearly everywhere you go, you can hear the sound of people wishing each other a "Happy Shams" and passing out hugs. It's like a three-day holiday...but better!
1. It's a place where you can truly be yourself
If it isn't already apparent, Shambhala holds a huge place in my heart. There, everyone is considered 'Farmily' and can feel comfortable being their weird, quirky self. No matter what insecurities, opinions, or preconceived notions one might have, at Shambhala you are able to leave all of these things at the gate and enter a place where you can be yourself. If you are looking to find the most judgment-free zone in the world, come join me at the farm this August and feel the Shambhalove for yourself.
Have I convinced you yet? You can buy tickets to Shambhala Music Festival here