Ibiza, Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party, Creamfields Buenos Aires? OK, so you’ve done them all. So what’s next? If you feel like you’ve exhausted your music festival options but you’re not yet ready to hang up your dancing shoes, you will be pleased to know there are still some wild options out there if you just know where to look. Why not start with the Shambhala Music Festival.
Shambhala began in 1998 with a gathering of some 500 people on an isolated river ranch in the former gold-rush village of Salmo, British Columbia. It was the brainchild of Rick and Sue, the farm’s owners, and their three children, Jimmy, Anna and Corrine. Since then it has grown into one of the world’s most exciting electronic music festivals, attended by 10,000 guests every year with tickets selling out almost the instant they are released for sale. It has maintained its status as an independent festival with no corporate sponsorship or complicated commercial agenda, and it is this approach that has given Shambhala the unique community feel that differentiates it from so many of its competition.
Shambhala takes place every year during the second weekend in August and showcases some of the world’s leading and up-and-coming names in electronic music on six stages – Fractal Forest, Labyrinth, Living Room, Pagoda, Rock Pit and The Village. Each stage director books their own acts, providing a vibrant and eclectic mix that is guaranteed to keep you entertained for the duration.
Throughout the rest of the year the venue is a working farm and its green ethos permeates through the festival from start to finish. Accommodation is in tents in designated locations spread throughout the forest, lit by the dappled sunlight that weaves its way through the swaying leaves. Communal gathering areas offer plenty of comfort with seating areas, hammocks and loungers for when those aching feet really need a rest.
If you prefer the option of heading back to a comfortable bed after a long night (or entire weekend) of partying, there are several options in Salmo and the surrounding villages of the Kootenays region, including hotels, motels and holiday rental chalets.
Getting here is not easy, and even less so if you have to hop over the Atlantic before you even start – but then nor is it meant to be. The charm of Shambhala lies in its remote location, its individuality and its inclusivity. The perfect way to visit Shambhala is to combine it with a tour of the major attractions dotted throughout British Columbia. The area is home to some of the most dramatic and picturesque scenery on the planet and what better way to start or finish your trip than with a stay in the regional capital of Vancouver – one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities on the American continent.