Chasing Shambhala: Why I’m Searching For The Shambhalove
In 2016, I’ve set my sights on finding the great white whale of music festivals, Shambhala (tickets). In a mythical context, Shambhala is a pristine kingdom hidden away from the rest of the world. Its inhabitants are said to be the happiest people on earth and capable of special abilities. In many ways Shambhala Music & Arts Festival, which takes place from August 5-8 at the Salmo River Ranch, has become a perfect reflection of this myth.
For me, electronic music has been a personal journey of self-exploration and growth. I have met some incredible people who have all played a part in this exciting adventure full of twists, turns and new plateaus. I realized that this culture and lifestyle felt more natural than anything I had ever experienced. Instead of just going through the motions and shuffling through life listlessly, meeting other faces in a crowd or experiencing the same banal situations, everything in my life was painted with a fresh new coat of paint. For that, I have always been grateful to electronic music and the people who make up this community.
That feeling of belonging and freedom is never more impactful or prevalent than when it is felt at a music festival. These summer time retreats have become the heart and soul of this incredibly vibrant society. In my opinion there is nothing more enriching than sequestering yourself away from the daily struggles and limitations of life, and surrounding yourself with the people and music that you love.
Of course, music festivals have become a huge cash cow for the industry, and this summer we can expect a new slew of events to pop up around the country, all looking to make a profit. This is an almost inescapable part of the electronic music scene. Festivals are incredible and can be a breeding ground for the best moments of your life. Nevertheless, to pretend that these escapes are not cogs of a larger money fueled machine would be silly.
In my travels, I’ve come across a name that seems to hold so much esteem, respect and love that you would think this festival was more of a religious experience rather than musical one. Shambhala seems to be one of the very few music festivals that have not only stood the test of time, but has stayed true to its essence. While other festivals may be looking to cash in, Shambhala seeks to hold fast. Rather than skimming away with what makes it so appealing, Shambhala enriches it’s stock year after year.
No wonder the Shambhala faithful flock to the Salmo River Ranch annually, to drink deep from the well of Shambhalove. Since its early days in 1998, when it began as a word of mouth party with a paltry 500 participants, Shambhala has grown into a truly wondrous example of communal ingenuity.
Without the help of corporate sponsors, Shambhala comes alive as a city of 10,000 festival goers erupts for four days of amazing music, astonishing art, organic food and most of all unbridled love. This little festival tucked away in the mountains of British Columbia has retained its organic character and intimate setting for what will be its 19th year.
Last year, friends of mine made the venture across the northern border into Canada, and the unbelievable stories and indelible mark that they returned with was all I needed to convince me. There is something different about Shambhala. Something that separates this festival from others down to its core. I want to experience this amazing festival for myself. I want to remember what it was like to get lost, truly lost, at a festival that keeps the experience of the camper at heart.
Over the coming weeks I will be writing a series highlighting all the intriguing reasons that Shambhala is calling to me. Throughout this journey I look forward to illuminating the beautiful array of elements that makes Shambhala a once in a lifetime experience. Hopefully I can convince you to come along!
Shambhala tickets are now and sale and you can purchase them through the festival’s website. Check out last year’s after-movie below!