Even with dozens of new music festivals being launched each year it is still hard to come by one that doesn’t follow the same cookie-cutter formula as its predecessors. With similar line-ups, stage production, and venues it can be difficult to distinguish one event from the next. If you are looking for a festival that doesn’t adhere to any conventional moulds then you will find your home at Shambhala.
Held annually since 1998 at Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia, the festival is one of the most unique experiences in North America. This year the event runs from August 7th-10th and will mark the 18th year of the festival. With six unique stages featuring line-ups of both international artists and local legends there is a something for everyone no matter your preferred genre. This year’s line-up features big names such as Bonobo, Pretty Lights, Claude VonStroke, Skrillex, Excision, Griz, and Kygo. Festival favourites such as Stickybuds, Neon Steve, The Funk Hunters, and Skiitour will also be returning amongst countless others. However, Shambhala isn’t just about the music. The festival is held on the Salmo River Ranch, a year-round working ranch nestled in a valley of mountains, forests, and (swimmable!) rivers making it one of the most beautiful venues in North America.
With no corporate sponsorship, Shambhala relies on a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who are truly passionate about the event. Shambhala is thus not just a run of the mill festival but a rather community like no other. With no boundaries you are free to set up camp anywhere on the grounds, hike in the woods, and cool down in the Salmo River. If you need a break from dancing there are countless other things to check out including the artisanal market, the community garden, art gallery, local food stands, hookah lounges, and countless other daily events and activities. Even simply taking a stroll through the campgrounds is bound to leave you with some new friends and entertainment.
Some Important Things To Note
NO ALCOHOL ALLOWED
Shambhala is a dry event – meaning there is no alcohol sold or allowed on the grounds. While this may seem a bit extreme I can confirm as a frequent festivalgoer that this is one of the best decisions the organizers could have made for the safety and overall enjoyment of those in attendance. With scorching temperatures in the grounds it is easy to get quickly get too drunk and dehydrated. Bonus: you wake up each morning feeling well rested and ready to start the day and don’t waste a second fighting a nasty hangover.
BYOC: Bring Your Own Costumes!
Unlike most festivals where a handful of people will be dressed up at Shambhala 90% of the attendees are in full disguise. Whether you want to be a peacock, a pokemon, or cover your body in glitter from head to two all forms of costumes are highly encouraged. Bonus: Don’t forget your cosiest onesie for Day Onesie of the festival!
Good Vibes Only
Shambhala is one of the most accepting and inspiring events you will ever attend. You are free to be the truest version of yourself and everyone will welcome you with open arms. Bring positive vibes and Shambhala will without a doubt change your life. Bonus: Spread the Shambhalove and expect to make some lifelong friends in the process.
If you’re ready to break out of the conventional music festival circuit and experience one of the most unique parties Canada has to offer book your flight and buy your ticket before they sell out. Just be prepared to book off the second weekend of August for the rest of your life to attend this one-of-a-kind life changing event. Hope to see you on the ranch!
August 7-10 | Salmo River Ranch, BC
Tickets and info: shambhalamusicfestival.com
Written by Erin Holdbeck