By Chris Adams
Shambhala Music Festival has built a reputation as Western Canada’s top destination for electronic music over the course of 16 summers.
Nestled on a ranch in the Kootenay mountains, Shambhala brings 10,000 people an hour’s drive south of Nelson on the second weekend of August.
What started as a party thrown for friends on a ranch 17 years ago is now British Columbia’s most infamous electronic music festival — and for good reason.
World-renowned DJs like Skream, Moby and Bassnectar headline this year’s festival.
Six stages — the Fractal Forest, the Village, the Pagoda, the AMPhitheatre, the Grove and the Living Room — house distinct sounds. For face-contorting dubstep and drum-and-bass, head to the Village. Breakbeat and funk can be found at Fractal. If you’re after a more laid-back sound, hang out on the beach at the Living Room.
This year, festival organizers turned the former Labyrinth stage into the Grove. Shambhala’s website notes “the musical focus [of the Grove] will feature deep sounds in world beat, down-tempo, glitch-hop, psychedelic dub and a variety of live bands.”
There is a “secret” stage behind the Grove known as the Hidden Hollow. Workshops — including Moby’s “Music as Therapy” — will be held at the Hollow alongside traditional DJ sets.
The AMPhitheatre, formerly known as the Rock Pit, hosts some of the biggest acts at this year’s festival. Polaris Music Prize nominated A Tribe Called Red and Canadian
trap-act Thugli will play alongside house-music legends DJ Dan and dubstep mainstay Commodo.
The festival goes from Thursday, August 8 to Sunday, August 11. Only the AMPhitheatre and the Living Room are open on the first day.
Shambhala has a full-serviced “downtown.” The Artisan Market has over 40 vendors selling food, clothing and artwork. BASScamp features an art gallery, information desk and lost and found.
For those who choose to take drugs at the festival, an Ankors station allows you to test the content of your substances free-of-charge. And if things get too hectic and you need a place to settle down, the Sanctuary “provides non-judgmental service and support and welcomes anyone who feels they need a safe, quiet place to rest at any time during the festival.”
Shambhala had around 1,000 tickets left as of July 24. The festival has sold out in previous years, so get your tickets soon. And happy Shambs.