Shambhala Music Festival located on Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia is a must for any festival chaser. The biggest event of its kind for miles and miles, Shambhala boasts a truly incredible lineup alongside a consciously curated experience for anyone looking to delve deeper into the understanding of themselves. There are many reasons why this festival is worth checking out for its ever unique qualities and landscape.
Check out our top five:
1. The Fractal Forest
Feasting your eyes upon the Fractal Forest for the first time is like walking into a dreamscape. After journeying deeper into the forest on a path lit with soft golden light, the landscape opens into an arena of epic proportions. A stage built upon a burnt out cedar tree stump and light structures seemingly levitating 360 degrees around the crowd make for an enveloping experience that is nothing short of magical. The energy here is of constant euphoria. From the nights packed with turntable maestros the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff throwing down a ridiculously fun hip-hop set complete with his infamous turntable finesse to the daytime Funk Jam that had everyone shimmying in sunshine whilst overflowing with glee. Other highlights include Mixmaster Mike of the Beastie Boys, Jillionaire of Major Lazer, and the day long Hip Hop Showcase.
2. THAT BASS
No matter where you go on Shambhala lands, you cannot escape that bass. And why would you want to? Approximately 200,000 watts reverberate festival wide on each of the six official stages. Canadian based audio masterminds, PK Sounds are responsible for this, currently taking the festival world by storm, and for good reason. Their specialty in mind bending bass and curation was responsible for this years lineup at The Village. With each individual stage directed by one of Canada’s finest music industry heads, you are guaranteed to find a stage that speaks your body language. Highlights include a Skrillex takeover of the main stage to ring in the weekend, a colorfully vibrant set from A. Skillz, and a surprise set by mystery headliner, Zeds Dead. Other crowd pleasers included a sax serenade from Griz, the girl power of J Phlip, and effervescent sets from Kygo, Pretty Lights, and the ever blissed out Bonobo.
There’s a distinct camaraderie that unites Shambhala’s 11,000+ attendees. From veterans that have been going for years, to virgins, the spirit of acceptance and limitlessness is all encompassing. The Shambhala legend is ever present wherever you stand. With a nod to the teachings of Shambhala Mindfulness it is common to come across this message on festival grounds: “As we continue on the Shambhala Path we learn many other practices, to help us break through the ancient crust of ego and awaken to the joy of fully living in this world. Awakening and opening, we discover the world to be naturally sacred, pure and full of beauty….” This sentiment is made accessible through experiences especially located at the BioDome such as tantric yoga, and an in depth discussion on Unified Field Theory. A festival on a mission equipped with a message of wholehearted beingness.
4. Location, Location, Location…
Salmo River Ranch, in the breathtaking countryside of British Columbia, is owned by the founders of Shambhala. In fact this festival grew from a small private party held by the children of the ranch’s owners into the blowout you see today over the course of about 18 years. For starters this means that the incredible structures you see and dance upon are built and remain standing year after year. At times dense forest, at others green grass, the diversity and beauty of this landscape leads to truly wondrous times. The Salmo River is a major highlight, offering a peaceful place for sunbathing and swimming. Its even equipped with a nearby stage, The Living Room, with chill beats that reverberate across nearby loungers. Hours of reggae DJed by Rob Paine whilst laying in the lazy river was by far one of our favorite moments.
5. Safety First
A myriad of unique offerings emphasize how seriously Shambhala takes their safety. The Harm Reduction tent offers a way for festival goers to have experts check on the validity of any drugs they may have. They do so for free and without penalty. This filters out potentially life threatening drugs that are masquerading as legitimate. This offering is a realistic approach to addressing the safety of festival goers and is even supported by the Canadian government. Furthermore, The Sanctuary offers a 24 hour safe space for individuals to retreat from the sometimes over stimulating environment of the 24 hour rave. Meanwhile, the Women’s Center offers a safe space for festival goers that identify as women, and crisis support as well. In addition, the typical environment of alcohol intoxication was reduced dramatically by the festival wide ban on alcohol. Instead of turning a blind eye, Shambhala has welcomed opportunities for awareness, education, and proactivity. In the same vein of promoting healthy lifestyle, the festival brings eating local to a whole new level. The ever popular juice and smoothie stand offered drinks made with ingredients found on the ranch itself. Many vegetarian and vegan options were available for healthy eating.
Whether you live in the area or are considering broadening your music festival horizons, Shambhala is one helluva party. Getting lost in the forest was never so much fun and the memories of this wonderland will stay imprinted in your memory for years to come.
Check out our extensive photo gallery for more exclusive photos:
WRITTEN BY ALYSSA APARICIO
Alyssa writes to live life twice. As a professional dancer and journalist, she applies her study of anthropology to the cultural phenomenon of the modern music festival. Alyssa is Creative Director & Co Founder of WildSpice Magazine and currently devoted to the Flashing of Abysses. See more of her work at AlyssaAparicio.com.
Follow her @Flashtheabyss.
Photography by: Talltree
Talltree is a freelance photographer and videographer by trade. His specialty? Creating honest art. "The challenge is recognizing what you truly feel and then figuring out a way to express it in a pure form, without filtering too much of the original feeling in the process. The beauty though is that the piece will most likely change into something you weren't expecting, expressing and meaning more than what you began with." See more of his work at Talltreetreeoflight.com.
Follow him @talltreeoflight.