Shambhala Music Festival is a wonder in human connectivity. It started with only 500 people attending the first year in 1998 when it was just a gathering to showcase local art and music. Through word-of-mouth alone Shambhala has grown to now having over 15,000 people attending. Today Shambhala is less focused on growth and instead puts its attention on creating a genuine experience deeply rooted in its original intention: community.
Where is Shambhala?
Shambhala takes no corporate sponsors. It prides itself in staying close to the people and reflecting the community as purely as possible. The festival focuses on being one of the most heady and underground music festivals while also providing cutting edge visual and audio productions. It takes place on the Salmo River Ranch in the West Kootenay region of Southern British Columbia. In 2015 Vice called it the “The definitive Canadian bass music festival.”
The ranch is a real working farm for most of the year and is tucked off far away from civilization. Then for 5 days out of the year Shamabhala is actually the largest city in the region. The closest gas station and grocery store are in Salmo, BC about 12 km (7.5 miles) away, but the experienced folks at Shambhala suggest stopping in Nelson, BC which is 47 km (29 miles) away for better selections.
How to Get to Shambhala
If you’re traveling from the States, the closest border crossings are Nelway (11.7 miles away), Waneta (34.1 miles away), and Paterson (49 miles away.) It’s recommended to use Paterson however, because it is open 24 hours a day and is less backed up around the time of the festival.
A note on international travel:
You will need a passport to go to Shambhala if you live outside of Canada, and it's a good idea to check in with your phone carrier and ask about any restrictions that may apply in different countries.
It's also a good idea to know what the COVID-19 restrictions are for Canada at this time. It does look like there are some requirements for what you'll need to do before you can cross the border, so check the Canadian government website here to make sure you have everything.
The nearest airports are Trial, BC (about 27 miles away), Castlegar, BC (about 27 miles away), Cranbrook, BC (about 122 miles away.) If flying internationally is a pain and you’re from the States, there’s an airport in Spokane, Washington about 169 miles away.
If you’re driving your car to the festival make sure it is safe for taking off road and in good working condition because the road can be rough. Or you can skip the vehicle line and give your car a break by taking the shuttle from Vancouver. Parking and camping packages are also included in ticket purchases.
Other Good Things to KnowShambhala Music Festival does not mess around. Your experience is at the forefront of everything they do. With world-class stages each with their own unique creative direction, no alcohol allowed, yoga, food, some of the best DJs in the world, and even its own parade, Shambhala is truly a pure blessing. It’s heady, it’s spiritual, it’s underground. It’s wild and it’s free. If you’re interested in attending this historic event you will not regret it.
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