Shambhala Music Festival is nestled in the forests of the Salmo River Ranch in the Salmo River Valley of Southern British Columbia, Canada.
The location is remote, which poses a challenge for festival goers. Apparently, during the fest, the area becomes the largest city in the West Kootenay region! This is definitely not Shambhala’s first rodeo…they have lots of advice for getting to the site. They really do a good job explaining the process of getting there and then getting into the festival. Festival goers will begin the “line party” in the early morning on Tuesday, August 5th. There is an extra fee for entering on Wednesday and Thursday…$80 and $40. People who arrive early have to pay a fee but they get prime camp spots, lots of chill time and time to explore the grounds. There are also two stages open on Thursday!
So, camping at Shambhala is a little different from ordinary festivals. There are lots of options. Here’s a map. You can camp with your car or with out it.
You can set up tents (car parked in free lots) in the Sunshine, Starlight, and Metta Camp spots. They do have a “drop zone” where you can drop off your gear a little closer to the camp site and then pull your car into the parking lot. If you want to do car camping, you have to pay a little extra depending on which site you prefer to be in. If you’re really fancy…you can do Shambhalodging! At the basic level, you get a shaded camp spot, free early entry, access to express lines, tent, air mattress, and parking pass all for just a couple hundred dollars more than regular GA tickets. Not a bad option! Of course, the perks can go up as the price goes up from there.
Some tips from a veteran Shamballer, Nick Inchaustegui (we’re going to let that term go until I figure out a better name for Shambhala fans):
1) The journey to Shambhala is an adventure in itself. Upon arrival, all camping gear has to be dragged over rugged terrain to a check point that can take a long time. Be prepared to wait in line for several hours.
2) Shambhala is a dry festival….like, they don’t serve alcohol or allow it in the gates.
3) MUSIC DOESN’T STOP! Well, it lasts almost all hours of the night, day, and morning. Bring ear plugs incase your camp site is within ear shot of a stage that bumps until sunrise.
4) Get to know the grounds during the day because it might be more difficult to orient yourself at night. The whole place turns into a magical wonderland! It can be easy to get lost in the maze though. Their are 6 stages, which can help keep you on track.
5) It gets cold at night. Bring jackets/sweaters/blankets and prepare to snuggle (or just dance all night)
6) ….but pace yourself. There are 4 full days and nights of music. And just take a gander at that Sunday schedule….you’re going to want to make it all the way through this festival. There are lots of hammock spots. I’m a fan of stage-side naps on a tapestry, as well.
7) Don’t forget to look around between the music…because there is A LOT of music. The forest has so much else to offer. Lots of art vendors, gourmet food trucks, mind blowing art installations. Take time to explore and really take in every drop of beauty you can!
8) Make sure to go by the festival merchandise booth early on in the weekend. They tend to run out of the popular editions and sizes by the end of the fest.
9) Most importantly, treat the grounds with respect. We are so lucky to inhabit this beautiful piece of land for a few days. Don’t be disrespectful. Throw trash away in the appropriate bins. If you smoke cigarettes, take a baggie or container with you to collect those never-decomposing butts.