Shambhala Music Festival was born from a vision as grassroots as it gets. On a sunny Labour Day weekend back 1998, some 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch for a party that showcased local art and music. Since those early, heady days, Shambhala grew with enthusiasm by word of mouth, quickly becoming a staple event for the West Coast underground electronic music scene. Today it attracts world renowned DJs and artists and some of the most eclectic, energetic fans in the universe. The festival is built on Shambhalove which shines bright to this day.
By 2010, fueled by what festival goers call “Shambhalove,” 15,000 guests, artists and crew were coming to dance and be free in the wilds of interior British Columbia. Today, people come to enjoy the festival’s focus of providing amazing art, music and organic food supplied through the festival’s own venues; Night Owl (locally roasted coffee from Oso Negro), Farm Fresh (fresh, organic ingredients made into smoothies) and Blaze Burgers (meat produced from happy cows raised on the Salmo River Ranch). For 2017, our 20th anniversary – the journey continues to grow and evolve, with some new stage developments that are sure to blow minds.
The Bundschuh family have worked together to make the festival what it is today. Friends continue to bring friends who become crew, who grow into the extended “farmily.” The Salmo River Ranch is a 500-acre working farm year round playing home to cows, horses, farm dogs, pigs, chickens and miniature donkeys. Gardens and hay fields are the normal business affairs from September through July. There is also a small sawmill on the property that transforms into the main gate during showtime. The pristine Salmo River runs through it all.
Shambhala Music Festival is cutting edge in it’s production and does not accept any corporate sponsorship. This allows the festival to retain a true reflection of the people on the dance floor and their vision of what their community looks like. This mission is important to hold down as electronic dance music culture moves into the mainstream where threatened large corporations and production budgets threaten to water it down. In this respect, this festival’s community is like no other. You will not see one advertisement or corporate logo on the farm.
Seemingly overnight, the ranch miraculously transforms into the biggest city in the West Kootenays for five days. A dedicated crew of 1,000 workers and volunteers keep the bustling city of Shambhala operating smoothly and safe during showtime for the enjoyment of 10,000 guests. All essential utilities and show stopper art comes alive to give this temporary city a lifeforce all its own. Upon the crew’s and guest’s departure, the farm returns to an off grid existence; hay fields replace campgrounds and cows roam the forest trails.
Shambhala Music Festival is an annual event not to be missed, boasting six uniquely themed stages, each managed by their own Stage Director. All Stage Directors will book their talent, dream up the stage’s vibe and deliver unforgettable experiences year after year. Our Stage Directors aim to weave the best in up and coming electronic and live music from both around the globe and our very talented backyard.
Ultimately, Shambhala Music Festival is a celebration of music, art and life, steeped in one of the most beautiful festival venues in the world.