Shambhala Music Festival – The Largest Electronic Dance Music Festival in Western Canada!
Canada’s biggest electronic music festival is the place to be this August! Shambhala is an EDM experience unlike any other.
What is Shambhala?
The Shambhala Music Festival is perfect for electronic music lovers that are searching for a more peaceful kind of music festival. When translated from Sanskrit, Shambala literally means “a place for peace”. This festival is a place of beauty and music that fosters an all around meditative atmosphere for its attendees.
The Shambhala Festival itself turns into its own city for six days. Welcome to Shambhala City, population: 15,000. This festival has grown dramatically since it began in 1998. While many of the festival’s attendees are Canadians, more and more people from all over the world are being drawn in by Shambhala’s magic.
Music at Shambhala
Shambhala books some of the best DJ’s, musicians, and bands in the business. Fans of electronic music are in for a treat if it’s their first time visiting. Each year you’re sure to see artists like Kygo, Pretty Lights, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Skrillex and so many more.
The great thing about Shambhala is that along with their amazing selection of big name artists, they have a lot of artists you may have never heard before. There’s nothing that happening upon your new favorite song or artist while you’re getting down on the dance floor during set at the festival. Keep your mind and ears open for new music and incredible experiences!
In addition to all the amazing musical acts that perform each year, the stages that they perform on are just as amazing to experience. Check out a map before heading out so you know where all the stages are. All stages are pretty much separated by genre—check out the Village for amazing dance parties, the Grove for an incredible, tree-house party experience, the Amphiteheatere/Rock Pit for the most wild shows, The Living Room for dubstep, the the Beach stage for some relaxing vibes, the Labyrinth for trance music, and the Pagoda for an overall EDM, dance-y feel.
Do your best to wander all over the festival; each stage at Shambhala offers a unique experience for attendees. Even if you don’t necessarily like who may be playing at a certain stage, there is always an adventure waiting to happen in the crowd or on the dance floor.
The Shambhala Community
One of the most important aspects of the Shambhala Music Festival is the fact that despite how large the festival has grown over its seventeen years, its sense of community gets stronger every year. Unlike many other music festivals, Shambhala has stayed away from corporate sponsorship. This simple fact has given attendees just another reason to adore this festival.
When veteran Shambhala attendees make the trek to the Salmo River Ranch each year, they know that they’re in for an incredible week or peace, love, and camaraderie.
Getting to Shambhala
If you’re flying into Shambhala, try to get direct flights if you can. Depending on where you’re coming form, if you arrive in Spokane, Washington, Vancouver BC or Calgary AB, you can take a Queen City Shuttle into the Shambhala Music Festival.
If you are taking a Greyhound into the festival grounds, you are going to need to get a taxi or find a ride from the bus stop, 6KM away from the festival. Your best bet apart from the shuttle may just be grabbing renting a car at the airport.
Welcome to the River Ranch
The Shambhala Festival is held at the Salmo River Ranch each year. The Ranch is a vast expanse of farmland in Southern British Columbia. The remoteness of the location adds to the beauty of the festival. Due to the fact that there aren’t many major surrounding cities around the Salmo River Ranch, you should really consider camping at the actual festival grounds.
For those of you that are driving in from the United States, pay attention the to the times and locations of Border Crossings into Canada. While the nearest one are often open for 24 hours or until midnight, some close early and may put a damper on your traveling. Check your availability to cross bordersin case you are unsure if you’ll be allowed. Those with invalid passports or DUI’s for example will not be let into the country.
You can share rides as well with other festival goers as well to cut down on gas, traffic, and pollution. Ask friends and family if they are going so you can plan accordingly. You may also use the Shambhala Festival Rideshare Community Group as well as the Kootenay Rideshare Board to better plan out your carpooling groups.
Tips for the Best Shambhala Experience
All attendees no matter when they arrive to the campgrounds HAVE to leave by Monday. Many people don’t get enough sleep and find themselves in a difficult situation when they have to go on their long journey back home. Do your best to take enough vitamins and get enough sleep so you’re strong enough to drive out of the festival.
Several people each year choose to volunteer to get into Shambhala. Volunteers help with hospitality, set up, and tear down. Check the festival’s website for more information and a volunteer application. Each year the festival runs for almost a full week, starting on a Wednesday and ending on the following Monday.
What to Bring to Shambhala
When packing for Shambhala, remember you’re going to be in a remote location for SIX DAYS.
Pack what you normally would for a day at a music festival, and the pack for six days of outdoor camping! Remember, only take what fits on your back, in your luggage, or in your car if you are renting one or driving up in your own.
Don’t skimp on personal supplies when packing for Shambhala. Be sure to pack extra first aid supplies, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water bottles, and deodorant. Try to take as much non perishable food items with you as possible to save on your festival spending.
When it comes to alcohol at Shambhala, definitely do not bring any! The festival is an alcohol free zone, which helps to maintain the peaceful atmosphere throughout the week.
What to Wear to Shambhala
When dressing for Shambhala, you should definitely check the weather report before you go! Try to consolidate all your clothes so you don’t have to travel with that much luggage. When planning outfits, go with warm fabrics that you can easily layer together. Make sure you have at least ONE overcoat with you as the autumn weather may easily take a turn for below zero.
Try bringing long underwear with you as well for the cold nights and a lot of really warm bedding. When it comes to footwear, remember that you will do a lot of walking during the weekend. Bring your favorite pair of closed toed boots or sneakers that are already worn in.
For those that are choosing to rent cars or make the drive from their hometown, keep in mind you may be spending a lot of time on the road. Typically for those already living in Canada, the drive to Shambhala is nine hours. Please plan accordingly as you might get tired depending on what time of the day you are leaving. Having alternate drivers with you will make the trip less strenuous on everyone.
Unlike most music festivals, Shambhala’s dining options are relatively cheap and healthy. Additionally when you purchase food inside the festival, you are helping out the local economy as local vendors from surrounding cities provide the festival’s fare. Whether or not you do bring your own food, take some extra cash with you in case you end up needing to buy a few extra meals.
Hydration and Water
The glorious thing about camping near natural well water is that you have access to some of the best tasting water around for the next few days! Bring reusable water bottles or empty vessels with you to Shambhala so you can be well hydrated. Do your best to avoid using well water for your shower since you do not want to be wasteful.
Set reminders throughout to stay hydrated. The sun up in the mountains can dry you out faster than the dessert heat and it’s easy to lose track of your bodily needs when you’re having too much fun! The last thing you want to ruin your Shambhala adventure is extreme dehydration or fatigue so take care of yourself.
Staying Safe at Shambhala
It’s always a great idea to travel to festivals with friends so that you already have a festival buddy at all times. Try to do your best to navigate Shambhala with a buddy at your side. If you find yourself alone, try to make new friends wherever you are. Staying aware of your surroundings and having someone watch your back is always a good thing to do.
So whether you end up at Shambhala by yourself or you bring a lot of friends with you, you’re guaranteed to have an incredible time full of love, fun, and a lot of dancing!
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