Our Story

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Our Story


Shambhala Music Festival was born from a vision as grassroots as it gets. On a sunny Labour Day weekend back in 1998, some 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch for a party that showcased local art and music. From 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 fueled by Shambhalove which shines bright to this day. Shambhala Music Festival is cutting edge in its 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 has moved into the mainstream where opportunistic corporations have threatened 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.

By 2010, 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 life changing experiences.

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.

Salmo River Ranch

The “Farmily”

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.

Organic, locally-sourced food is 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).

Seemingly overnight, the ranch miraculously transforms into the largest city in the West Kootenays for five days. A dedicated crew of over 1,000 workers and volunteers keep the bustling city of Shambhala operating smoothly and safely during showtime for the enjoyment of 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.

Respect The River

We’d like to extend a warm “Thank You” to the Shambhala Green River Collective for their work over the past several years in keeping the Salmo River Pristine. Thanks to their tireless education and outreach they’ve been doing, the amount of litter we see near the River and around the festival grounds has significantly decreased. Their passion, dedication and effort is greatly appreciated.

The mission of the Shambhala Green River Collective is to reduce pollution and contaminants that result from Shambhala Music Festival, to increase awareness of the river’s bio-diversity to festival goers and to assist in the long-term regeneration of the waterway


Please do NOT bathe in the river even with biodegradable / “earth friendly” products. If a single person used biodegradable soap in the river, it wouldn’t make much of an impact, but these products aren’t intended to be used by many people in the same area – the concentration of these products can be damaging to fish habitat and wildlife, so please use the Showers only for personal care.


Festival map


Festival Services


There are five ATMs available at the festival with 24 hour service. Four are located Downtown, one is located at the Reception building near the Gate.

Artisan Market

Our bustling Artisan Market is the best festival shopping you’ll find. One of a kind pieces, handcrafted goodies, furry hoods and costumes galore. Featuring over 40 unique vendors. Visit the Get Involved section to apply.

Baggage Shuttle

Our complimentary shuttle bus will help you get your gear to your desired camp zone from the Free Parking lot. The bus makes a number of stops in Sunshine, Starlight and Metta camp zones.

BASScamp Art Gallery & Info Desk

In the heart of Downtown Shambhala, BASScamp is a geodesic dome that hosts an Info Desk, and an incredible art gallery. The info Desk is staffed by Shambhassadors, who’ll be happy to answer your questions, help solve issues, and help arrange towing and locksmith services.



There are port-a-potties throughout the festival grounds. Our port-a-potties are equipped with carbon filters by Can-Filters so you can breathe easier. We suggest bringing a light at night. Please do not dispose of any garbage other than toilet paper in the potty (it can clog the pumper truck). If a potty needs attention, let us know!


There is no electricity available to the public. Use of personal generators is prohibited, including running built-in RV generators. For more info, see the Banned Items Page. Phone charging is available at the General Store.


Hot showers are available, $5 for 5 min. Please bring environmentally friendly soap, flip-flops, and a towel. Our daily water usage is limited and we’re not able to run showers 24/7. Shower house operating hours will be posted at the festival. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and other toiletries are available at the shower house if needed.


Ice, freezies and large jugs of water are available at the Ice vendor located in the upper bank of food vendors.

Towing and Locksmith

You will be towed if you park in an area your vehicle is not cleared for. All towed vehicles will incur a $100.00 impound fee. Towing is also available as a service if you’re having vehicle troubles. If you lock your keys in your car, locksmith services are available. To initiate towing or locksmith services, visit the Shambhassadors at BASScamp.

Free Water Refill Stations

Stay hydrated! Dehydration is the number one reason for visits to Shambhala Medical Services. Filtered, fresh, free mountain water is available. The main water refill station is near BASScamp and the gardens in Downtown Shambhala. There is a secondary water refill station near the upper bank of Food Vendors, by The Pagoda entrance to Downtown Shambhala. We suggest bringing a large refillable water container (water cooler jugs with a pump work great!). Wagons, wheelbarrows or dollys work wonders for transporting gallons of water back to your camp.

    Please don’t attend to personal care (like washing your face or brushing your teeth) at the
    water stations. These stations are for water collection only. Thanks!

    Do not drink water from The Salmo River or the farm’s irrigation spigots. These water sources
    are non-potable (not safe to drink) and you could get very sick if you drink from them.

Waste Management

Garbage and recycling bins can be found in the food court area, at all stages and at all port-a-potty locations. Please actively bring waste, using separate garbage and recycling bags from your camp to designated receptacles throughout the festival to reduce bin overflow on Monday.

*Please Note: We do not have garbage removal on Monday at the end of the festival for safety reasons – the onsite traffic is just too heavy to operate the garbage truck that day. As a result, the dumpsters often end up “overflowing” on Monday. It seems that many people wait until Monday to remove waste from their camp. Please bring your camp’s garbage to the dumpsters periodically throughout the week to help keep the level of waste down on Monday.

We do compost on a small scale but because the West Kootenays region doesn’t currently have a commercial composting facility, we are unable to offer public composting at this time. We feed kitchen scraps from our staff kitchen and the food vendors to the pigs who live on the farm. We compost scraps only from these areas to so the pigs aren’t eating the vegetable-based cutlery (with pointy bits) or meat – basically, to ensure the health and safety of our animals.

Food and Beverage

We have over 18 food & beverage vendors to choose from, including a number of Farm-to-Table options sourced directly from the Salmo River Ranch.

Rejuvenate en route to the next show or grab a cold drink on your way back to camp at a beverage kiosk. These mini-stores offer various beverages like water, juice, energy drinks and hydrating sports drinks, plus stock Shambhala merch like lanyards, bandanas and more. Convenient locations throughout the Farm.

If you have allergies, food sensitivities or special dietary needs, we recommend planning most of your own meals. The food vendors may be able to accommodate some special dietary needs like wheat-free or vegan, however, menu options for these are very limited and you may only find a few suitable items at the vendors.

General Store

Info Booth & Lost and Found

The info desk is centrally located across from The AMP stage and is staffed by Shambhassadors, who’ll be happy to answer your questions, help solve issues, and arrange towing and locksmith services if you need them. If you need to report an issue to Security, start here. Lost and Found is located in the small building next to the Info Desk.

Phone Service

Most carriers should have full service on site for the duration of the festival. US & International travelers, check with your cell phone provider for travel rates and coverage before leaving your country.


We offer full-service camping packages. Explore on-site accommodation options on our ShambhaLodging page


Whatever you need, Shambassadors are here to help. They’ll be the first to greet you when you arrive and the last to say goodbye on Monday. They can be found at the Info Booth and roaming the festival grounds offering information and support. If you have questions, a problem you need help with or have ideas on how to improve the festival, find a Shambassador.

Health and Safety Services


The driving force behind Shambhala's extensive Harm Reduction is simple: "We care about people." Over the past 20 years, Shambhala has established itself as a leader in health and safety standards in the North American festival industry.

Accessibility / Shambha-Abled

Shambha-Abled  is located near Downtown Shambhala. Power access is available for charging motorized wheelchairs or operating other medical devices. For further information, or inquiries into our ShambhaAbled campground, contact sales@shambhalamusicfestival.com.

Deadline for ShambhaAbled registrations is June 31st, 2018.

Harm Reduction


ANKORS has been serving the Kootenays for over two decades and have been an important presence at Shambhala. They provide free drug testing, harm reduction supplies, services and information about safer sex and partying.

Get Home Safe

Consider local hotel/motel/camping options if you have a long drive home ahead of you. You can also stay on site (Sunshine Lot) Monday night and leave Tuesday.


The Outreach Team a great resources for safety and harm prevention. Outreach volunteers can be found at the gate of the festival and roaming throughout the grounds. Ask them any health and safety questions you might have, and for directions to harm reduction services.

Safe Space

(Formerly Women’s Safe Space)

This year SMF will be extending the mandate of the former Woman’s Safe Space to include any gender or non-binary folks in need. We will continue to provide 24/7 support for folks in need of a safe comfy space to chat or rest while promoting mandatory consent and healthy communication. Crisis support and post-festival resources are available here.


Full medical services are available 24 hours a day. Whether you’ve cut yourself and need stitches, need access to emergency contraceptives or something as simple as a new band aid, we’re here for you. Shambhala medical is a judgement-free zone. You can also safely store and refrigerate any medications you have.

Options for Sexual Health

Options is Canada’s largest non-profit provider of sexual health services, providing non-judgmental and accurate sexual education. Talk to Options volunteers for free condoms and safe sex supplies.


The Sanctuary is a calm safe haven nestled in a grove of old growth trees right next to Medical Services. 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. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, isolated, cold, wet, need to get out of the sun for a while, just need to chill out, or need someone to talk to, our Sanctuary volunteers will be happy to help. Sanctuary is open 24 hours a day.


Security and public safety staff are available at all times. Their goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of all guests. If you see dangerous or suspicious behaviour, find the nearest crew member (anyone with a radio or wearing a yellow “Crew” vest) to report it. They will contact Security immediately.

Mobile App

Download the Official Shambhala 2018 Mobile App to customize your schedule and 2018 experience, shop, stay up to date with notifications, read about your favourite artists and more!

Festival FAQ

Arrival & Upgrades

How much are Parking Upgrades?

All General Admission tickets include parking in our Free Parking lot. A limited amount of Parking Upgrades are available for purchase on-site only, first-come, first-served.

2018 Parking Upgrade prices:

  • Sunshine Camp Zone: $50 CAD for regular vehicles, $100 CAD for oversize vehicles.
  • Starlight Camp Zone: $100 CAD for regular vehicles, $180 CAD for oversize vehicles.

Visit the the Camping and Parking page for more information.

*Please note: Decals can only be purchased for a vehicle you are sleeping in. Cars being used for storage or a secure lock-up are not permitted in Starlight.

Entry & ID Requirements

Does Shambhala have an age limit? / Is Shambhala 19+?

Yes. Shambhala is 19+. 19 is the Age of Majority in the province of British Columbia.

Regardless of the laws in your home province, country or state, you are not considered an adult in BC until you are 19. No exceptions. ID’s will be checked.

What do I need for entry to the festival?

The most important things you need to bring are:

  • All ticket holders:
    • Your valid government issued photo ID
    • A second supporting piece of ID, like a credit, health card, etc. Anything with your name, signature or photo.
  • If your ticket was shipped: Your physical ticket
  • Will Call Ticket holders: Copy of your emailed ticket receipt, either printed or saved on your phone
  • Electronic Ticket holders: Please claim and print your ticket(s) before you reach the gate. Electronic tickets cannot be accepted on mobile devices
  • ShambhaLodgers:
    • Proof of purchase printed or saved on your phone
    • Your ShambhaLodging decal displayed on your vehicle’s windshield
My photo ID was lost/stolen, and I can't replace it before the festival. What should I do?

ID is required to get into the festival, no exceptions. If your ID has been lost or stolen, you must file a report with the RCMP. When you file, you will receive a card with a police report number on it. Bring this card with you. If you have an interim driver’s license, bring that as well. Also bring supporting pieces of ID, such as a birth certificate, SIN card, health insurance card or credit card. If you have an expired Passport, you may use that as your primary ID with supporting ID.

What is the re-entry policy?

Re-entry is $20 CAD per person, per re-entry. Payable upon return to the event.

Packing & Banned Items

What should I pack?
Can I bring a bicycle?

Yes, we encourage guests to bring pedal-powered transportation! We strongly recommended a bike lock if you bring a bike. There are bike racks available Downtown. No rentals are available onsite.


Where is the nearest gas station or offsite restaurant?

The nearest gas station, grocery stores and restaurants are in Salmo, BC (approximately 12km from the festival site).

For greater food and shopping selection, we recommend visiting nearby Nelson, BC (47 km from the festival site) and Shambhala’s own Savoy Hotel, featuring 12 boutique hotel rooms, The Falls Music Lounge, Savoy Brewery, Farm Fresh Cafe and Bloom Nightclub.

Make sure you fill up on gas before you arrive at Shambhala to make sure you have enough fuel for Exodus on Monday.

Gates & Exodus

When do the gates open?

Gates are open 24 hours a day until from Wednesday, August 8th at 8am until Sunday, August 12th at 12pm. Click here for information about Early Entry on August 8th & 9th.

When does the festival end? When do I have to leave?

The last track drops at 10 am on Monday, August 13th.

You’re welcome to stay and rest on Monday night to fully recharge before hitting the road. Please make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep before you leave site. Excessive music and partying in campsites will be shut down by Security. This is a night of rest. We ask that all guests leave the property by noon on Tuesday, August 14th.


Visit the Plan Your Journey page for more info on planning your journey home.

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