At the tender age of somewhere north of 35, I’ve been to several festivals, concerts, events, and so on. But nothing could really prepare for the experience of Shambhala. With more than 10,000 festival-goers crammed onto what is normally a cow farm, it’s really quite something to see.
The trek from Castlegar isn’t far, but the drive up the dirt road into the show was a challenge for my little aged honda. But we made it and were eventually guided to a parking spot by a lovely young lady in a golf cart.
As an middle-aged person, and one wearing khaki shorts and a golf shirt, I’m sure I stuck out like a sore thumb. Kind of like the guy who was dressed up as a sore thumb. Oh yes, the costumes were quite something. Those twenty somethings who weren’t wearing beach shorts or bikinis (or less) were dressed in very imaginative, fantastical attire. I saw everything from the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, complete with accoutrements, a mermaid girl, a zombie socialite, the martian yip-yips from Sesame Street, and much more.
The music is electronica of course and features a wide range of performers from all around the world. There are six stages set up throughout the grounds and performances go on all day and all night.
Unfortunately I was unable to camp out, which is one of the main attractions for Shambhala. I was there for about three hours on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the experience, but three days would’ve been a little much, particularly if you factor in outhouses and a lack of clean clothes.
I enjoyed the music I heard, particularly Mat the Alien at the Fractal Forest. Mr. The Alien had a definite hip hop vibe with chunky samples to go along with the electronic bass. The dance floor (ground?) was packed with dancers grooving to the beat. There were other elevated stages where various dancers grooved, including the aforementioned caterpillar.
I was generally amazed at how friendly everyone was and how clean the place was considering the number of people. The organizers certainly do a good job of spreading the stages and events around so there were no major bottle neck areas. At least not at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Friday or Saturday night I could imagine a much busier, crazier scene.