I remember when I first heard of Shambhala. I was standing in the volunteer area of Glastonbury Music Festival in awe. I couldn’t even believe I had made it to this sold out festival in the United Kingdom. Just months before I was begging and pleading for volunteer opportunities in various Glastonbury Facebook groups. I had even applied to be in the “Loo Crew”. Yes, I was willing to clean festival toilets in exchange for this ticket. And just 30 days before the festival I was contacted by a lovely woman offering a volunteer position to serve food near the Circus tent. After taking a tour of the most magical land I had ever been apart of I had to ask my Glasto tour guide Nathan, “Is there anything on my side of the world like this?!” to which he responded “I’ve never been, but I hear Shambhala is comparable”.
It was at that moment, that I knew I would have to make my way to Shambhala Music Festival in BC, Canada.
Since that day in 2015, Shambhala Music Festival has made its way through several conversations with other festival goers, several of whom who have cheerfully added “Shambhala is my favorite festival”. Finally, this year it just so happens to be in the cards for me that I can make it across the border to Shambhala’s 20th Anniversary Festival.
WHAT MAKES SHAMBHALA DIFFERENT
- Being an American and just a stones throw away from our northern neighbors, we know that there aren’t too many cultural differences that lie between us and our sister country. What I do know is that after having fested in 5 other countries, is there are always cultural differences within the festie world. I am not sure what to expect in Canada and while festing with the Canadians who attend, but I am excited to learn from them and take part in their home festival.
What is dry festing, anyway?
- It is not often that we see festivals these days who have gone dry. The term dry festing, refers to the fact that there is no alcohol on site. That’s right. Shambhala promotes an alcohol free festival which is pretty incredible, as liquor sponsors tend to be one of the largest ways that festivals are making money these days. Can you imagine a festival without alcohol? Less medical emergencies, less fights or drama, and less pushing/shoving and inconsiderate people. Let me be clear, I am definitely no stranger to getting down on the dance floor with a margarita in hand. But out of respect for Shambhala and its rules, I am ready to try out the dancefloor sans adult beverage.
The Forest Farm
- On the Shambhala website, they refer to the festies on site as “farmily”, a quite beautiful term to describe those who inherit the land for the weekend. The location in British Columbia is said to be stunning. From photos, Shambhala looks like a hybrid of Electric Forest meets 2017 Lightning In A Bottle (complete with a body of water to swim in). During the day, I plan to seek shade in a hammock in the forest, go for a swim in the river, and dance on the farm in the night. I. Can’t. Wait.
THE MASSIVE LINEUP
I know, I know. As cliché as it sounds the lineup for Shambhala’s 20th Anniversary has really drawn me in. And I have to be honest in that I am someone who makes decisions of festivals solely based on lineups. Yes, I love Coachella and yes, I love The Hangout and SnowGlobe. And yes, those festivals have so much going on that people will say its not all about the music. But for me, it is. And for Shambhala’s 20th Anniversary, they have pulled out some incredible acts such as Beats Antique, REZZ, Excision, and Illenium to really make this trip worthwhile for me.
Preparing for Shambhala as an American has proven to be relatively easy. Shambhala’s website has given me some good tips on what airports to fly into and where to cross the border without long lines. From there, its just a matter of getting my things in order like a regular camping festival, and prepping for one hell of a weekend.
If this festival sounds as exciting to you as it does to me, I suggest keeping on top of the Shambhala Ticket Exchange Group on Facebook as tickets for this year’s 20th anniversary are sold out.