The Pagoda Stage
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Depending on who you ask, there are a host of variable definitions for Summer – dogs sticking their tongues out while riding shotgun in cars, short shorts and flip-flops, beach days and sunkissed skin, time away from school or an excellent reason to play hooky from work, and last – but certainly not least – festival season. Where before I would inhabit boisterous spaces and sparking places like Coachella, Together as One, How Sweet It Is, Electric Daisy Carnival and HARD events – I’ve caught myself yearning for something more: that cherry on top of the ice cream sundae, that je-ne-sais-quoi, that extra ounce of oomph and pizzazz. I’m beyond grateful to have found all of that in more in events sponsored and influenced by members of The Do Lab, my favorite rump shakers and taste makers inside the music industry.
Starting with New Years Eve in San Francisco at Sea of Dreams, this has been a formidable year of firsts for me. Not only was it the first festival that I covered for The DJ List, but it was my first event outside of Southern California. Then, just the other week – I gallivanting across the MidWest to Colorado and Red Rocks for the 13th anniversary of Global Dance Festival and my first out-of-state festival. And now, it looks like I’m going to fulfill yet another first this weekend as Danny and I road trip up to Salmo, BC! I’m packing my bags, exchanging currencies, making playlists and preparing to embark to my first festival outside of the US, and according to friends, musicians and mentors alike – there’s no better place than the hallowed grounds of Shambhala Music Festival.
There’s something just so right about a weekend where costumes are encouraged, so you can either come as you are right now – or you can come as you really are. So, whether you choose to dress up as a cat, superhero, a tried and true tie-dyed hippie – or simply yourself – there’s a community out there right now that’s been waiting for you. One last caveat: not that it should matter – but this is a dry festival. Meaning not only are there no obnoxious alcohol sponsors promoting a $22 beer, you get to actual enjoy your surroundings. If you’re sitting there saying “But, I can enjoy them with a drink or two…” – sure, you can; but do you enjoy the music, your community and your social circle of friends and peers without a drink or two? It not, you’re doing it wrong.
In ’98, 500 friends joined forces on the Bunschuh family’s Sunny Salmo River Ranch over Labour Day weekend for a party that would go down in history. Now, 16 years later – it’s one of the foremost festival destinations in North America. Now, boasting over 10,000 attendants – the grounds attract internationally renowned talent and one of the most enigmatic music communities in the world. From live art to music, and organic food – Shambhala reaches out to local vendors to cultivate a rich atmosphere and bonded community. The weekend features food from: Night Owl (locally roasted coffee from Oso Negro), Farm Phresh (fresh, organic ingredients made into smoothies) and Blaze Burgers (meat produced from happy cows raised on the Salmo River Ranch). During the year, the grounds boast a 500 acre farm riddled with horses, cows, pigs, farm dogs, chickens and even miniature donkeys – not to mention the pristine Salmo River, which runs through it all.
From Pre-Festival parties with your new best friends, to theatrics, acrobatics and amazing music on one of the 6th specially curated stages – no matter what you’re craving this weekend, there’s an exciting, costumed adventure to go on that’ll satiate your most immediate cravings for Wanderlust.
Shambhala’s Side Parties
In preparation for my first Shambhala, friends and peers alike have made one thing clear – the journey is the destination; so when it comes to the menagerie of activities over the coming weekend: soak it in and live it up. For the complete list of side events -check out this thorough schedule put together with help from the entire breadth of their festival family; for quick reference, print a copy – and don’t forget to bring an extra watch in case your cell phone runs out of battery. While the music is turned off, there’s no reason to turn down – there’s plenty of Shambhala shenanigans to indulge in with your new Farm-ily.
Starting tomorrow, there’s TuTu Tuesday, to Day One’s Day Onesie – which would make The Polish Ambassador beyond proud, and well into the weekend with assorted events daily afternoon hoop jams scattered throughout the grounds, Hatha Vinyasa Yoga in the yoga garden, theme parties ranging from Star Wars and Harry Potter to Pokemon, a treasure hunt through The Grove and various full moon celebrations. From embracing my age to falling down rabbit holes, touring Salmo River Ranch and watching a dance battle during Andy C’s Sunday set – these are the 5 parties that you shouldn’t miss out on.
5. Geriatric Raver Takeover at The House Legends Showcase | Saturday, 11p-2am | The AMPhitheatre
DJ DAN – 11:00 PM | DONALD GLAUDE – 12:30 AM | MARK FARINA – 2:00 AM
“Crusty old ravers unite for The AMPhitheatre Stage’s House Legends Showcase at Shambhala 2014. Bust out your phat pants, kikwear, kandi… we know you still have it in a box somewhere. Pair it up with a grey-hair wig or old lady / old man mask. And voila… welcome to Team #GeriatricRaver. We’ll show them young whippersnappers how to party. We’ve been listening to electronic music since before you were born, sonny. Now get off my lawn.”
4. A Funky Mad Tea Party | Sunday, 2-7pm | Fractal Forest
“You are cordially invited to the second annual Funky Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The location of the event will again be held in the Wonderland section of the Fractal Forest in Shambhala Music Festival at the beautiful Salmo River Ranch. The event will be help during the famous Fractal Funk Jam. Come as your favorite Wonderland character or the character that you are. Until the time is ripe, I bid you adieu.” – The White Rabbit
3. 3rd Annual Captain Thomas’ SHAMB VIRGIN TRAIN TOUR | Friday, 2-3pm | Camp Caturday
“Join us on a magical train tour through the mystical land of Shambhala on the opening day of all the stages. We will be touring through all the stages at Shambhala Music Festival on an imaginary train and WE WANT YOU to join us!
Allow the infamous Captain Thomas to guide you along a magical journey through the festival grounds. This tour will feature exclusive entertaining commentary, super special Shambhala secrets, an imaginary train and a whole lot of silly! You should probably just jump on board and…JOIN THE TRAIN TOUR!”
Live in Vancouver? Find out more about Caturday at www.caturdaycrew.org
2. Caturday Morning Dishco w/ Joseph Martin | Saturday 8:30-10am | The Fractal Forest
“Cat calling all of our feline friends to share the good mews, it’s our favfurrite time of the year! Caturday Morning Disco returns to the Fractal Forest at Shambhala Music Festival, with your host Joseph Martin. Start your day off with a good strut full of cattitude, we’ll be dressing up & sporting our best cat-themed attire, feline good while pawtying down to funky disco house mewsics!”
1. Dance Battle Extravaganza DJed by Andy C | Sunday Night 12:30am | The Village
“We will be meeting at the Village, dead-center, for a Drum & Bass Dance Party! At the build-up to the set, we will politely ask people to step back to make room for a spacious, but modest pit. That way, we can show Shambhala how the Drum & Bass people really groove! Bring your most outrageous costumes, muster all of your endurance, and prepare your war face for a super-stepping dance battle extravaganza you will never forget! Sunday Night at 12:30am!”
Stages and Solid Sets
For five fun-filled days, a seemingly deserted ranch manifests into the biggest city in the West Kootenays. Staffed by 1,000 dedicated workers and volunteers – over five days, 10,000 happy humans will bustle and bounce through the majestic grounds, enjoying a seductive synthesis of live art, live music, the workshops above – and most importantly, one of the most beautiful music communities on North America. In a world where the majority of music has become infiltrated with dollar signs, watered down with mainstream techno-pop and rich with musical monopolies – Shambhala’s 100% Attendee-Sponsorship offers a breath of fresh air. In a bold move that I hope US festivals follow, Shambhala River Ranch – referred to by Vets as ‘The Farm’ – rejects all forms of corporate sponsorship in an effort to mirror their vision of their musical community at large. Each of the six uniquely themed stages is maintained and manage by their own Stage Director – they’re not only music curators, they’re dream weavers; providing for an exceptionally unique, exquisite, astounding festival experience that you simply can’t get anywhere else. To make your festival schedule ahead of time, head on to the Shambhala Schedule page right here; now, onto the stages!
The Pagoda stage is the main stage of the weekend, and essentially embodies the vibe of the entire festival – the curators simply want to make you dance the night away with a huge smile on your face. Not to mention, the stage is one of the world’s foremost pioneers in video mapping technology since the idea first became possible, and it’s home to one of the best audio / visual productions on the planet. My top sets on the Pagoda are Bassnectar, Beats Antique, Hannah Wants, What So Not, Justin Martin, J.Phlip and Skream.
The Fractal Forest
If the Pagoda stage is the main course, consider The Fractal Forest™ your dessert. A show within a show, the talent plays in the heart of the forest out of a burnt out old-growth cedar tree stump in an enchanted forest. I’ve been told this is the crème de la crème of stages, and something that should really be experienced in person, so I’m beyond excited to report back! No matter who’s performing, the The Fractal Forest™ will be the place to be all weekend – highlights include Z-Trip, Griz, Rob Garza from Thievery Corp and my first official Beardyman experience. Oh man, yes! Check out the video below and get familiar with this guy; he’s amazing.
Oh, The Village – where do I start with my unrequited love. From the epic Drum & Bass infused, Andy C spun dance battle on Sunday to my first Danny Byrd experience, an unprecedented Hip-Hop showcase hosted by Emotionz with Zion I, Eligh and Amp Live, EOTO (Half of String Cheese Incident), Excision, Griz and the last live season for the Lucent Dossier Experience – in the words of Griz, this stage is getting live. Breakdancers, tree forts, turntabelists, catwalks to tree bridges, performance art and the most epic of stages nestled underneath a half geodesic structure – The Village has it all. Oh, and did we mention a 200,000 watt premium PK Sound System ready to shake your soul silly? Yeah, it has that, too.
For the past 16 years, the AMPhitheatre/Rock Pit has been known to cover a diverse spectrum of top-quality music. And now that it’s under new management, you’ll get a menagerie of musicians – from former favorites to a new variety from around the world, all ready to delivery a dose of bass straight to your face. With artists from G.Jones to Thriftworks, Grandtheft and Commodo – you’ll get a firsthand experience of the evolution of EDM.
The Living Room Stage
If Shambhala is home, this stage – well, the name has it all – it’s your living room. That comfortable space that you can curl up with your crew. The only non-permanent stage of the festival, The Living Room evolves with the needs of the ranch, and it’s ever changing musical atmosphere. And in an effort to reclaim an endangered art form, they’re devoting an entire day to Vinyl and it’s where you’ll find Mark Farina’s epic three hour extended Mushroom jazz set.
Last, but most certainly not least – it’s The Grove. Deep within the forest, it’s dance floor beckons you – surrounded by art installations and lush lounge spaces. Formerly known as the Labrynth, during the day – the Grove becomes a place of mental manifestations with workshops on creative thought and live painting; at night, it’ll will feature ample downtempo tunes, from live bands to glitch hop, all while listeners can bob and weave through the Dream Temple Art Gallery, the Hive tea Lounge and the Mythosphere. Groups like Emancipator, Opiuo, Odesza, Desert Dwellers and Kaminanda will provide the perfect emotive soundscape for the weekend with their rich music and live performances.
There’s still a limited amount of tickets left – purchase them here!
For details, keep up with Shambhala on their socials – Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram