Shambhala: A Supernatural Sensation
The dust is settling on the farm and in the minds of this year’s patrons, volunteers, musicians, artists and crew that were involved in the spectacle that was Shambhala 2016. Those present at Shambhala Music Festival this year would be in agreement that what occurred was nothing less than spectacular, nearly indescribable, and pushing the bar in every aspect. The 19th iteration of the event proved to be arguably the best yet, musically on point, and with deeper roots as the hour glass tips once more.
A society of it’s own, Shambhala Music Festival has become more than just an annual music event, sending people back to reality with a lot more than weak knees and soiled eardrums. The Shambhala society is grounded on one term, reverberation. This term is two-fold when used in the context of Shambhala, firstly and simply in relation to the renowned musical and production aspect of the festival. The second context is a lot less self explanatory, but most easily explained as the resounding acceptance and promotion of creativity, sharing, openness and oneness.
2016 proved to be the most musically diverse year yet, spanning the vast spectrum of genres as Pagoda, Amphitheatre, Living Room, Village, Fractal Forest, The Grove and even the lesser known Cedar Lounge each hosted an unparalleled line-up of performances throughout the 4 days of music. It would not be surprising if the dance floors lost elevation due to the footwork of the 12,000 plus who kicked dirt days on end. As well, I am sure the chiropractors and massage therapists within 1000 km were busy all week correcting the ailments of those like me who could not be held back from getting down.
The message reverberated from musicians and artists, whether returning or joining in for the first time was unanimous: “Shambhala Music Festival, you are a special place, it is an honour to play here and to be a part of it.” Uniquely, as a homage to Shambhala and the Shambhala society, these thankful artists bless the ears of the audience leading to the world class reputation backed by big historical milestones such as winning Breakspoll’s Best Large Event in 2012.
As each of the stages are individually managed and produced it seems as though a friendly competition is always ongoing to out do one another with stage design, sound, and, of course, the acquired talent.
This year numerous budding artists were invited along with long time Shambhala veterans and international headliners. Some of Noize.FM favorites from 2016 are included below while the full list of 2016 performers can be reviewed here.
Shades, Purple Disco Machine, Boats, Andy C, Five Alarm Funk, Defunk, Skratch Bastid, Cut Chemist, Father Funk, The Upbeats, The Widdler, Truth, The Russ Liquid Test, Yan Zombie, Stickybuds, Sam Klass, K+Lab, Space Jesus and many more. Thanks to all the artist along with PK Sound and Funktion-One for the beautiful music!
Here are the official Shambhala Daily Recap videos for 2016:
Where to begin… it is all quite surreal.
Shambhala takes place on a private, family owned farm nestled deep in the Kootenay range of the Canadian Rockies just minutes from the quaint town of Salmo, British Columbia. The most critical component of the location is that fact that the grounds are bound on the Eastern edge by the Salmo River, which offers relief from the heat and the setting for the Living Room stage. Some fortunate campers even get to camp along the river’s edge. The Western boundary of the grounds is the base of a towering mountain offering shady treed areas, as the grounds stretch toward the Southern boundary there are many highly coveted treed campsites. Campers opting to car camp stretch from the downtown area of the grounds northward through the car camping and parking areas spanning the cropland that covers much of the property. Shambhala’s Downtown area, which houses the food and vendors, the stages and most of the art installations is centrally located. Downtown is well shaded by old growth forest, and compact; allowing for closeness and ease of access to many options within only a few minutes of walking. This ability to make very simple transitions between stages, the river, food, and vending is something that is unmatched in the festival world. Below is a map of the lay of the land.
Camping and Theme Camps:
There is no expense spared, time or money, people go all out on their camps and race in when the gates open to seek out their coveted campsites. Seasoned vets seek a balance of shade and comfort with proximity to downtown. With a large range of options from the glamorous Shambhalodging to tent city to the simple hammock, everyone has their preferred setup and location. Upon the opening of the gates Wednesday morning thousands of early arriving ticket holders race in on bicycles and by foot as the remainder of their groups follow closely behind.
Shambhala has sanctioned theme camps, but many camps are themed regardless of official status. You will witness no shortage of modified vehicles, domes and art installation type camps across the property. Here are a couple of the countless theme camps.
The entire downtown area and ancillary spaces near each stage are filled with beautiful art installations of all types. Magnificent gardens adorn the food court area, impressive structures are integrated into many of the stages offering a unique aesthetic component and many pieces of art are visible wherever your attention wanders. The property offers some many installations that it would be quite difficult to seek out and experience each one, this is largely attributed to the permanence of location.
Costumes (and Totems):
Possibly the most stunning example of audience participation in the festival world, people take their costume game very seriously, hauling in wardrobes of outfits. Some outfits or components are worn for no longer than a couple hours but lugged along despite this fact. If it is wearable in any way, you will probably see someone rockin’ it at Shambhala. The standard wardrobe includes: onesie, ski wear (for Skiitour obviously), sarong, goofy hat, faux fur jacket, and camp costume. Let’s not forget totems, they are next level in terms of intricacy, hilarity and ingenuity.
There is no shortage of superb food options, worldly cuisine is offered along with options for vegans and vegetarians. Ice is available on site throughout the event. The many artisans who participate give many options for those looking to collect a memento or to find a costume to don during the affair. A full list of on-site services can be visited on the official Shambhala Music Festival website, click here to view the list.
Safety and harm reduction of everyone on the farm is held paramount. A big thanks to ANKORS, the medical staff, and security staff and volunteers!
Random Acts of Kindness and Randomness:
Impromptu limbo, pizza parties at the front of the village, Rick (of Rick and Morty), Hulk Hogan ripping his shirt off in the food court, that random person who helped you carry something, shappy hambhala, puddle jumping, the weirdness that is port-o-potty art, the wishing tree, getting lost, the moment when you realize you should have started bringing a totem 6 years ago, running into that guy you met thousands of kilometers away in a foreign country, stumbling upon old friends and finding new friends… it is all a part of the experience and it is what makes Shambhala great.
I have witnessed death in the eyes of the people still partying well into Monday morning as they realize the nearness of the end. It is a sad moment leaving the farm, but a glorious one as well, because nobody leaves Shambhala without knowing that they will return home once again! Each year gets better and I can’t thank the some 2500 volunteers, artist, staff and the 10,000+ patrons for making Shambhala 2016 the best yet, you are all gems!
2017 marks the 20th anniversary with tickets going on sale September 1, 2016.
Stay Tuned for Exclusive Noize.FM Shambhala Artist Interviews and the Shambhala Set Series!