In 1998, 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch in the West Kootenay Mountains in British Columbia for the first ever Shambhala Music Festival. Privately owned by the Bundschuh family, Mr. and Mrs. Bundschuh and their three children have been running this annual event on their working farm for sixteen years. With the farm’s fully functional sawmill standing tall as the festival’s main gate, Shambhala is opened to the public as a temporary city during early August of each year. But, what makes this festival so special to the Bundschuh’s and Shambhala’s loyal festivalgoers is its organic festival-feel and spirit of shambhalove.
Shambhala is a true celebration of music, art, and life. As an organic festival, Shambhala accepts no corporate sponsorship and is completely run and designed by the Bundschuh family, alongside their festival enthusiasts. Shambhala’s festival spirit is one of self-love and acceptance, “Immersed in a world of music and self-expression, we unite through our collective desire to be free. It is here that we learn how to be our true selves and treat each other – and the land – with respect.” Without corporate appeal and a truly natural environment on the family’s working farm, this festival is one that stays true to the basics of human nature. In this setting, Shambhala encompasses the essence of nature and natural beauty, where appreciation is found for the smallest of actions and shambhalove is spread through every heart.
With over 300 acts, Shambhala is a true manifestation of pure imagination, self-expression, and dancing. Each of its six independent stages are individually imagined and organized by a single member of the Bundschuh family, making each stage a unique, distinctive experience. Stages such as the Pagoda, used as the main stage with a transformative structural makeup, and the Fractal Forest, filled with “sensory overload”, Shambhala offers a variety of different scenes and settings to immerse attendees into the festival’s one-off a kind feel.
As an organic festival, excitement about Shambhala is spread by word of mouth. The festival had its first sell-out year, prior to the gates opening in August, during the summer of 2011. If undaunted acceptance and true, all-encompassing love is what you crave, Shambhala is the festival for you.
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Written By: Andrea Inscoe