Banned Items FAQ


What is banned and why?

checking in


Glass, cans – doesn’t matter. All alcohol is banned. If any is found when you go through Searches, it will be dumped out. We don’t have a beer garden either. This is an alcohol-free event. That might seem weird – I mean, Shambhala is 19+, right? Right. But our age limit is unrelated to the legal drinking age. A long time ago, when the festival was in it’s infancy, we hit a crossroads – do we allow alcohol or don’t we? We wanted the festival we were building to be different from the clubs and the bars. Seeing how frequently fights broke out after the bar helped us make up our minds – that didn’t fit with the vision we had for our festival. So we treaded into unknown territory and banned alcohol. Over the years, we noticed something. Compared to many festivals of similar size that allow alcohol, our festival’s incident rate is way lower. Not only does that make the festival safer – it creates a better vibe. Sound alright to you? Crack a coconut water and join us on the banks of the Salmo River!

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No campfires or open flame of any kind! B.C. is extremely dry during August and provincial fire bans are in effect. So, what shouldn’t you bring? Candles, fireworks, fire poi / hoops / other fire toys, fuel (white gas), tiki torches, barbecues, hibatchi style camp stoves, propane powered heaters and propane campfires are all banned. Wanna decorate your camp with things that light up at night? That’s great! There are tons of great LED and solar light options available now – even el-wire if you want to get really creative. If you’re a smoker please make sure you always have a small container with you to dispose of butts – the grounds are pretty dry and if you toss a butt on the ground, it could easily start a fire. Not to mention that they are litter as well! Be sure to bring a pocket ashtray, or dispose of butts in garbage cans if you are a smoker.

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All types of liquid fuel in open-nozzle containers are banned, this includes white gas, kerosene,gasoline in jerry cans, and any other forms of combustible liquid fuel.  Refillable propane tanks are allowed provided they can be shown to be in working order.  We do allow contained “Coleman style” propane or butane cookstoves utilizing propane or butane containers.

Please note that gas powered fire pits, barbecues, and anything else with an open flame are banned and will be confiscated.

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We don’t allow stand alone gennies or the use of generators built into RVs in the Shambhala Campgrounds. The Campgrounds are pretty densely packed and generators would create both noise and air pollution for your neighbours. There’s no public access to electricity for personal care (ie: hair dryers) at the Salmo River Ranch. Need your phone or camera charged? The General Store offers charging services. If you need electricity to charge your electric wheelchair, or have another medical device that requires power, please contact us at so we can arrange access for you. Click here for more info on ShambAbled Camping.

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Broken glass can cut bare festival feet – and who wants injured feet when they’ve come to dance? Plus, after the festival is just a dusty memory, broken glass hiding in the grass could seriously injure one of the animals that call the Salmo River Ranch home. Glass is banned to protect you, and our beloved cows, horses, ponies, donkeys and dogs. Banned glass items include large mirrors, drink containers, decorative glassware, etc. Small jars of food (jam, condiments, pickles) are ok, but must be kept inside your camp. Even then – we really recommend transferring these items into small tupperware containers.

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No handheld laser pointers. Leave ’em at home. Especially if you spent a lot of money on yours.”But YOU GUYS have lasers!” – Yeah, we do. They’re operated by professionals perched high in lighting towers. Laser pointers can very seriously damage someone’s vision. We’re sure that you’re super careful, but we just can’t take the chance of having them out there on the dancefloor at eye level.

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Illegal Substances

The first word says it all here, doesn’t it? Matters involving illegal substances will be turned over to the RCMP. Period. Paraphernalia for illegal drug use will also be confiscated and handed over to RCMP. Leave it at home!

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Because lots of pedestrians all the time, that’s why. Only authorized Shambhala Drivers can operate motorized vehicles during the festival. The motorized vehicle ban includes minibikes, golf carts, ATVs, dirtbikes, motorized couches (yeah, that actually happened), etc. We totally encourage pedal-powered transportation. Bring your bike or bike-like creation!

Drones, quadcopters, and other magical flying machines are also banned, and will be confiscated by Security if found.

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A festival is no place for pets. It’s hot during the day and you’re not going to be at your camp much. Besides that – dogs in numbers run in packs. And that’s not cool. Leave your pet in the care of someone who loves them or make boarding arrangements. We won’t allow anyone with a pet (including dogs, cats, birds, rats, etc) into the festival. No exceptions. If you see a couple dogs on site, it’s not that someone’s slipped their pet in – those are our farm dogs roaming their territory. They love the festival.

Legally recognized service animals are permitted, but must be pre-registered with us and must be approved by the landowners prior to arrival. Additionally, all service animals attending the festival must be certified in BC, even if they do not reside here. More information is available at Emotional support animals, therapy animals, and comfort animals are NOT permitted.

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Obvious, right? This includes machetes, knives (including swiss army knives / leatherman tools with blades), swords, guns, axes, baseball bats, etc. Anything that could potentially harm another guest can be considered a weapon. Cooking knives must be under 6 inches.


Although it does not fit in any other category, feather boas are also banned. These items tend to fall apart very easily and the synthetic feathers are very difficult to clean up. Any garbage that can’t be picked up by us is usually eaten by the cows, so please leave your feather boas at home.

What do I do if I have an item confiscated  at the festival and want it back?

Granted that it is not alcohol, drugs or paraphernalia, we will do our best to return confiscated items after the show. However, there is 100% no guarantee that you will get your items back. Shambhala does not take responsibility for lost or damaged items. We have hundreds and hundreds of banned items checked into our front gate. With our staff dropping to almost nothing by the end of the show, these items become hard to manage and may go missing. The best way to guarantee these items don’t go missing or get damaged, is to not bring them in the first place.

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