8 tips for first-timers attending BC's Shambhala Music Festival

Aug 5 2022, 10:54 pm

Shambhala is an undoubtedly epic, bucket-list festival for many electronic music lovers.

It happens every year in the BC Kootenays and attracts close to 20,000 attendees. The weekend is an experience unlike any other, and we have a guide on how to make the most of it.

Prepare for a long lineup to enter

@fedorahtheexplorah Shambhala, you’re killing me, man. #shambhalamusicfestival #shambhala #worththewait ♬ original sound – Tik Toker

You’ve just driven or flown in, and you’re excited to set up camp with your friends. But then you park your car in the lineup, and eight hours later you’re still there. It can be a bummer if you’re not prepared — so plan to get in line in the morning so you’re not setting up in the dark.

Remember that it’s all part of the experience — and you may make some cool friends along the way.

It’s bring-your-own shade

Bringing shade structures for camp is essential to beat the 35°C+ summer Kootenay heat and recharge your batteries for a night of dancing. Unless you arrived early and got a spot in the tree-covered Metta campground, you’ll probably be in the sun all weekend long.

Got an umbrella? Pack it. Gazebo? Even better. Sticks and blankets? They’ll work in a pinch. Toss them in your wagon (another essential) and you’re good to go.

Spend an afternoon riverside at the Living Room stage

living room stage

Angel Brant/Submitted

It’s like a Las Vegas pool party, but BC nature edition. Bring a floatie, buy an ice-cold drink from the nearby vendor, and get your chill on.

Get crafty to find your friends

A cardboard cutout stuck to a broom handle and bedazzled with LED lights will do wonders to lower your stress levels at Shambhala — because it means you’ll always be able to find your friends.

With such large crowds, carrying a stick with a sign or item on top is often the easiest way to reconnect with your crew after you go to the bathroom.

Invest in quality earplugs

You’ll need them for sleeping, and you should probably also wear them while you’re at the stages. The bass at Shambhala is no joke.

Wander the stages to find your vibe

fractal forest

Fractal Forest stage (Angel Brant/Submitted)

Shambhala has six permanent stages, plus additional temporary ones that pop up in different places every year (and sometimes there are renegade ones in the campgrounds, too).

Don’t get too tethered to your list of artists you want to see — the freedom to wander until you find the best music of the moment is one of the best parts of the experience.

Going alone? There’s a camp for that

Check out Camp Stranger Danger, it’s a group campsite for everyone attending the festival solo to help them make friends. Another great way to meet folks at Shambhala is to volunteer (and, bonus, your ticket is free).

It’s a marathon, not a sprint


Daily Hive Vancouver

Sleep, hydration, and proper nutrition are all key to having the best weekend possible. Take advantage of the 24/7 coffee shop in the middle of a Sunflower garden, take that break to reapply sunscreen, and bring extra layers for nighttime.

The festival stays magical til sunrise on Monday morning, and trust us, you’ll want to make it.

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Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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