Why There is No Other Place Like Shambhala Music Festival

A few months ago, I wrote my first article on Shambhala Music Festival, and I how I was preparing to cross the border after years of hearing about the magic that existed in Salmo. Nothing could truly ready me for what lay ahead. I traveled several hours by plane, and even more by car to finally hit a long dirt road, the route to my campground. I was greeted with massive amounts of smoke that threatened the air quality in BC, but soon as I arrived, I knew that it wouldn’t matter. The energy shifted as I released myself from the default world and into the fairytale of Shambhala Music Festival.  Looking back I realize I spent the majority of this festival navigating the grounds with my mouth open wide. Shambhala lives and breathes soley for the farmily.

This magnificent space is painted with Shamha-fairy dust from the trees, to the sprinklers, to the river. Every single living and non-living thing on the festival ground unifies to shape the magical world that is Shambhala. And it never leaves. The structures are permanent, and the 20 years of aging compliments its splendor and wisdom, as if each part were carefully constructed love notes sent from former attendees to its newest ones. There is no other festival like it.

While every individual on the farm pulled me in with a unique energy and flair, I was drawn directly to four. To assist in my ability to pinpoint what makes Shambahala so remarkable, I asked them what make this place and festival special to them.



 “We’re home, and now we are ready to stomp this Earth”

Years At Shambhala: 12

What makes Shambhala so special for Trouble? Trouble shared with me that she attended her first Shambhala for $100, after her brother invited her to a party while she was traveling. Initially hesitant to spend the money, she gave in. She had just registered to be a police officer and spent the whole year thinking she would be going to school to train for police officer training. “But the whole time, my soul just told me to get on that stage and dance.” Fast forward 5 years later and Trouble has been rocking out on the Amphitheater stage with her own circus crew Cosmic Co-Motion, living her life with passion and meaning. She now spreads love and thanks to Shambhala, this is her job. Shambhala has taught Troouble to “Be passionate about what you do, because you can’t go wrong”.


“Bums, who doesn’t like a good bum?”

Years At Shambhala: 3

What Makes Shambhala So Special for Gunner? We met Gunner running around as an afro-wearing bee, loving his life. For Gunner, being at Shambhala is special in itself. But when we asked Gunner why he keeps coming back to Shambhala and what makes it so great, he told us it was all about the bums. “This big, that big, that big.” Its good never to take yourself too seriously. Gunner let us know hes from Kelowna, and hes harmless.


“It reminds you that there’s a whole lot of weirdos out there. It helps to think that you’re not the only crazy one”

Years At Shambhala: 2

What Makes Shambhala So Special for Tori? Tori made her way back to the farm with over 100 friends. “I love coming here because its one of the only places in Canada all my friends come together and we are just able to do whatever we want and really feel comfortable with eachother. Express ourselves, listen to great music, and be in a positive atmosphere.”


“This stuff draws it out of me. It makes me feel like I’m riding the rails again.”

Years At Shambhala: 2

What Makes Shambhala So Special for Kurt? Kurt explained early in the conversation that he has always loved dancing. He is trained in belly dancing and hip hop, and just discovered “DJ music” two years ago.” I love the flow stuff so I hung out with these people and they introduced me to the DJ club and I just flow with it”. Kurt loves other festivals, but its really the headbanging music that he comes for. “Wonderful people and the time they spend making this so beautiful. Its wonderful out here”


As we packed our belongings and drove toward the border I realized that there was not just one thing that made Shambhala so special. It was everything. It became a portal out of everyday life and into bliss created by the farmily. Shambhala, you will always hold a special place in my heart. Until next year.

Check out our full photo album here.

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