Shambhala Music Festival: Feel the Shambhalove

Have you ever danced among the unicorns? Pranced through a glitterscape with a sunflower? Loved with your family, felt a brother to dragons and companion to owls?

Do you remember the feeling that sparked within you the first time you ever saw a rainbow? Well, that is what it feels like to be at Shambhala Music Festival. A conscious gathering of eclectic souls from around the globe, Shambhala brings joy, wonder, and awe back into the lives of those who may have forgotten. At Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia, faeries, dinosaurs, and creatures of all kinds roam among the stars.

Photo by Madi Lawton

Placing large emphasis on conscious fun, Shambhala ensures to take the steps towards engaging itself with its community as an environmentally and socially sustainable event. The festival sources food from local farms, promotes zero-waste initiatives such as reusable water bottles and mugs, and offers harm reduction, prevention, and education from Ankors, a mental health sanctuary, sexual health services, and a women's safe space within the festival. In addition, as one of very few "dry" festivals, meaning no alcohol is permitted on festival grounds, Shambhala also invites its attendees to experience their own excitement without the inhibiting effects of alcohol. With the absence of alcohol, Shambhala allows its guests to stay true to themselves and their hearts, and experience genuine connections with one another.

Even though the festival is dry, imagination flows freely. On day one, or "Day Onesie," Shambhala freaks let their flag fly, dressing up in a vast variety of kigurumis, bodysuits, and onepieces of all kinds. From animals, to mystical creatures, to one-of-a-kind creations, everywhere you turn, your Shambhala family transforms into a zoo of different creatures. Costumes and theatrics are a large component of Shambhala's atmosphere and culture. Attendees organize different unofficial "themes" for each day, and dress to the occasion. 2015 at the farm saw a Disney theme, with princesses and chivalry galore, as well as a pirates vs. the lost boys theme. Attendees also engineer their own "theme camps," decked to the nines in props, stage settings, and characters in full garb.

Photo by Madi Lawton

Photo by Madi Lawton

Photo by Madi Lawton

Photo by Madi Lawton

It is no wonder that Shambhalovers are so inspired to express their imagination once you analyze the setting in which this magical festival takes place. Six stages decked out with mind-blowing production values weave through the venue. The Pagoda Stage is Shambhala's primary stage. This year, this central piece to the festival offers a variety of dance music from artists like Mija, Beats Antique, Getter, and many more. A three-tiered stage surrounded by trees filled with lights and sounds acts as a snowglobe of excitement in central Shambhaland. The Village Stage is more bass-oriented, with performances by artists such as Excision, G Jones, ill.Gates, and Snails this year. The stage is surrounded by "tree forts interconnected by catwalks and bridges circling the dance floor that shape the upper and outer edges of our Village. Pulsing spires and rooftops depict an ancient dialect of the now extinct Krinkoia, extra-terrestrial travelers who touched down to call this place home some million years ago."

Photo by Madi Lawton

Each stage is impressive in its own unique character. The Fractal Forest Stage has artists performing right out of the forest, on top of an old-growth cedar stump. It is a "funky spaceship" with artists like The Funk Hunters, Rich-E-Rich, Opiou, and more. The Living Room Stage feels like, quite literally, your living room. Nestled next to the Salmo River, attendees can take a dip or lounge on a float while vibing out to renowned artists like Nightmares on Wax. The Amphitheatre Stage is eclectic, with big-name acts like Troyboi as well as off-beat performances from Skiitour, giving off a circus-y feel while live performers blow the crowd away with their antics. Finally, the Grove Stage is a serene yet vibrant element within Shambhaland, surrounded by greenery and gardens, filled with blissful and diverse music from a range of genres.

Photo by Madi Lawton

Photo by Madi Lawton

Photo by Madi Lawton

Shambhala 2016 is completely sold out. Don't miss out on 2017. Tickets for Shambhala Music Festival 2017 go on sale on Thursday September 1st, 2016, at 12:00 pm PST.

Visit www.shambhalamusicfestival.com for more details on 2017!

Photo by Madi Lawton

Article written by Hanna Danecker