Our Story

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It’s all about the people on the dancefloor!

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. The festival features the best in electronic and live music from 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.

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.

Rave Reviews

“The northern stronghold of the fabled West Coast transformational festival circuit, which runs roughly from Southern California up the coast, across the Nevada border to Burning Man and up to [Shambhala.]”


“Less of the thump thump thump of a typical EDM festival, this event is more lyrical than driven, more dreamy than intense.”

Rolling Stone

“Each stage is its own other-worldly set piece, and campers tend to plan elaborate costumes weeks and months ahead of time…Shambhala Music Festival is a leader in Canada.”


“Shambhala has been an enduring piece of the live music scene in British Columbia…The festival has legions of devoted “Shambhalovelies” who build bonds with each other that are renewed every year.”


“During a half-hour hammock break, three strangers approached me to see if I was okay. “That’s the Shambhala way,” explains Alex Chudis, a paramedic who has been working for the festival for 15 years. “At Burning Man, the motto is ‘look after your trash.’ At Shambhala, it’s ‘look after your friend,’ whether you know them or not.”


“The event regularly pushes the envelope year after year at Salmo River Ranch. The best part is art, infrastructure and other investments are left intact for use in the following year. As other events are allocating half their resources into “tear down” each year, Shambhala builds itself ever-taller.”


“What started as a small gathering of 500 people at Salmo River Ranch has since grown into one of the most renowned electronic festivals on the West Coast, attracting some of the world’s best DJs and electronic artists…The event is run entirely without the aid of corporate sponsors, which means you won’t see a single advertisement or corporate logo on the entire farm. This ultimately allows for the event to achieve its goal of creativity, sustainability, and community.

Daily Hive

“The people, the music, the production value, the food, the land, the harm reduction—everything about Shambhala surpassed our expectations, which were already high. It has definitely become one of [our] all-time favorite festivals and [we] can’t wait to go back!”



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.

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 60 unique vendors. Visit the Get Involved section to apply.

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.

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.

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


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.

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.

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 dollies 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.

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 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. 

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 Music Festival merch like lanyards, bandanas and more. With convenient locations throughout the Farm, you’re never far from a delicious meal or a cool drink.

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

Just like your neighborhood convenience store, where you can find most of the things you may have forgotten at home! Our lovely and always entertaining General Store staff are there to help you find what you need, or maybe discover what you didn’t know you needed.  Open 24 hours a day – we are also there to help you navigate your way through the festival.

Notice something we don’t have that we should? Submit requests to us at info@shambhalamusicfestival.com


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.

8 Pillars

Safety always comes first! Look out for the safety of yourself and others. Party responsibly and familiarize yourself with our Shambhacares services to contribute to a safe and fun environment.

The magic of this shared collective experience is fueled by Shambhalove, which shines brightly to this day. Care for and uplift others through positive contribution, participation, and selfless acts of Shambhalove. Love yourself and others by practicing compassion in a community-based atmosphere.

Art, music, culture, and creativity flourishes freely in abundance here. Explore every corner of the farm to inspire and be inspired. Engage in creative participation and discover a mystical realm of world-class electronic music and art - all styles and sounds are represented here!

The farm is home to all walks of life, so welcome others as your fellow Farmily members with friendliness and acceptance. Release any judgment towards yourself and others by using an open-hearted approach to all that you encounter. Come as you are and allow your unique, beautiful personality to shine. Escape the realm of the ordinary, anything goes here!

Our six unique stage environments are interwoven into the natural landscape, offering a state-of-the-art auditory and visual experience against a beautiful, wilderness backdrop. Immerse yourself in an environment that celebrates music and dance, while honouring the natural surroundings. Respect the land, river, facilities, farm, culture, and natural wildlife. Do your best to keep the Salmo River Ranch pristine by following the “leave no trace” mindset.

Shambhala Music Festival is truly a transformational experience with a legacy of long-standing traditions. Uphold Shambhala traditions through active participation and selfless acts. Embrace the old, while welcoming the new with open arms.

Last but not least, Shambhala Music Festival is a celebration of music, art, and life - so let loose, get weird, and have the time of your life! How you choose to embark on your experience is up to you. Take a deep breath and let the magic of Shambhala Music Festival navigate you through the endless possibilities.

Code of Conduct

Shambhala Music Festival is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive community event. In order to do so, Shambhala Music Festival requires that all participants understand and agree to this Code of Conduct in relation to all activities regarding the festival.

The following actions will result in a WARNING and/or IMMEDIATE EJECTION from the festival:

Offensive or abusive language

Obscene or offensive gestures, including the use of offensive imagery and symbolism on banners, signs, and other visual tools

The participation in an activity that is insulting or harmful to oneself and/or fellow guests

Violence or engaging in any harmful behaviour to self or others

Damage, destruction, vandalism or theft of any property

Disrespecting or damaging the festival grounds, urination or defecation in the river and/or outside of a proper public restroom

The possession of alcohol

The possession, or sale of illegal substances

Accessing restricted areas without adequate credentials

Creating potential fire risks

Any individual who violates this Code of Conduct may be IMMEDIATELY removed from the festival grounds and have their Festival Wristband and parking/camping privileges revoked, without refund. Law enforcement may be notified.

Please contact security@shambhalamusicfestival.com if you believe you’ve observed or experienced a violation of this Code of Conduct, and Shambhala Music Festival will work to assess the situation and to respond as soon as possible. Please remember that notifying Shambhala Music Festival does not constitute or replace a notification to local law enforcement.

Health and Safety Services

The driving force behind Shambhala Music Festival’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. Encompassing all aspects of harm reduction from sexual health, a strong medical team, and various safe spaces, the Shambhala Music Festival Harm Reduction team ensures that all guests, as well as staff, are educated on how to transform the festival into an accepting and safe environment.

Shambha-Abled is located near Downtown Shambhala and is for our guests with mobility disabilities. Power access is available for charging motorized wheelchairs. For further information_or inquiries into our Shambha-Abled campground, contact sales@shambhalamusicfestival.com.

Harm Reduction

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

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.

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.

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 Outreach Team is a great resource 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.

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.

(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.

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.

Festival FAQ

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