One of the most immersive festival experiences, Shambhala is an organic blend of music, art and the celebration of life.

“It’s so hard to properly explain Shambhala to people who have never been.” – festival attendee on a Reddit forum.

Held on Salmo River Ranch, Canada annually, Shambhala Music Festival is a traveler’s haven. Underground enough to not be commercially bastardized and well-known enough to not be poorly organised, this festival is an essential name in every backpacker’s bucket list. Why? Well, we’re glad you asked. Here are some things that make Shambhala the Holy Grail of hippie festivals.


The Venue

“While the grounds are beautiful in the daytime complete with a swimmable river, a valley surrounded by mountains, and a never-ending supply of visuals in the forest, they don’t truly come to life until the sun goes down.” – Erin Holdbeck in this review.

One of the biggest selling points of Shambhala is the location – a quiescent farm land surrounded by forests and hidden away in the Salmo River Valley in the West Kootenay region of Southern British Columbia, Canada. This is also a massive advantage because the Buschuh family owns the farm, therefore, set up permanent stages, making them practically immaculate. In terms of sound and view, these are the most attendee-friendly stages out there.

These stages – six of them – are extravagantly decorated and are copiously loved by all attendees, the most popular ones being The Fractal forest and The Village.

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The Music

I was truly amazed at the variety of sounds and styles featured throughout the festival. Not only was each performer keen on adding intimate flavor and style to their performance, but also the production teams for each stage took careful measures to create a uniquely original vibe for the span of shows during the weekend. – Mitchell Treend in this review.

Shambhala, since it was a small gathering that showcased local art and music in the 90’s, has been known for its consistently stellar lineups. Comprising of some of the best electronic/bass/psy-trance acts, Shambhala’s lineups are carefully underground, with a few tastefully popular artists. This year’s lineup features Kygo, Skrillex, Pretty Lights, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more you can view in the image below.



The Community

“Everyone is incredibly kind, non-judgemental, and down to spread the Shambhalove.” – Erin Holdbeck

The attendees as well as staff at Shambhala are by far, said to be the kindest and most amiable of the lot seen at music festival otherwise. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that the festival demands a sort of complacent, free-spirited state of mind, and all those who attend it, are looking for a peaceful getaway, knowing that they will find it here.

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The Art

“Shambhala itself is basically a giant art installation. Every fence is painted by some awesome painter, which makes the whole venue beautiful.” – The Festival Guy

Art at Shambhala isn’t flaunted with flamboyance on the stages like the music is, it’s more subtle, but once you familiarize yourself with the surroundings, you will discover that the art is everywhere. Embedded in the nooks and crannies of the festival grounds, thriving there like a part of the forest’s life force. The festival also includes the Basscamp Art Gallery, now an anticipated centerpiece of the festival, which allows local/underground artists to showcase their work to the attendees.


The Vibe

“With artistry and natural aesthetics woven beautifully into this festival, there’s a softness and nurturing flavor to Shambhala that you don’t often find at EDM events.” – Fest300

The fundamental thing that sets Shambhala apart from other electronic music festivals is that even though it’s an EDM party, it’s not a rave. You won’t see people sporting offensive headgear or shirtless dudes inadvertently propagating douchebaggery. There may be an occasional drug innuendo on a t-shirt, but it essentially breaks stereotypes associated with EDM festivals. Shambhala is quiet, mystical and nearly enchanting – and it’s an EDM festival.


Also, Shambhala takes a different approach to harm reduction than we’ve witnessed in mainstream American festivals. In addition to the ‘Sanctuary’, the festival also includes a Women’s Safe Space tent and a drug-testing tent. Altogether, we would say that Shambhala is a relatively family-friendly affair.

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