It's hard not get personal when I'm writing about Shambhala. It set off such a chain reaction in my life, in so many areas, that it's mark is just burned into me. It might even be annoying to read or hear about, but I don't really care. You're free to stop reading at any time. The really great thing about this is how other Shambhalovers brighten up and beam when you bring it up to them. I've made a point to ask a lot of the Djs and personalities I've interviewed in the years since my first visit to Salmo River Ranch about their memories of the festival and what it means to them. I've gathered up some of the best quotes to get you all either psyched up for the trip back Home, or get you dripping with jealousy that you won't be there this year.
*The word of the day is "AWESOME." Go Diamond Dallas Page on yourself with a self-high-five everytime you read the word "AWESOME."
Hingle McCringleberry (Obvious alias), the homey who introduced me to this whole damned thing
Shambhala is totally designed to get the most out of your experience. They actively try to do that and they're always changing things for other cool, new things. They just make it really interesting and awesome the whole time. But also, it's the way people are there. Everyone's just there to party and have a good time. Everyone is really friendly and awesome. There's hilariousness going on all around at all times. Going with a group of friends who are really into is really awesome. Even just hanging out at camp is so much fun.
DJ Nu-Mark (Jurassic 5), on why he keeps coming back to Shambhala
I keep coming back because it seems as if I'm the only not playing electronic music? The first time I played, I thought I was at the wrong festival. I saw the line-up and was a bit freaked out because everyone was playing dub-step...Hey, remember that? Dub-step? Anyway, I enjoy playing a variety of genres – Soul, Funk, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Oldies, etc... They give me room to express myself and I rarely get the hippie chick yelling, “Hey! Can you play some Persian Anthem Trance?!”
Mark Farina, on playing Shambhala for the first time
Shambhala was really cool. I enjoyed myself quite a bit there. It was my first time there. A really well-run festival and being out there in the mountains was really great. I got to hang out a couple of days and check it out. Justin Martin I always dig. I liked Rob Garza's set. That was really interesting. I saw some open-mic hip-hop thing in the afternoon and really liked that too. I was sad I missed Mr. Scruff because I was just wandering around looking at stuff and then I looked at the schedule and realized I'd missed him. That was one my intentions that weekend, but I just got caught up wandering around.
The Gaff, on the annual Fractal Funk Jam
That's the funnest part every year. It's just a jam with your friends, hanging with great people. Everyone has records, well, not everyone. You're supposed to have records. Me and some of my peers always bring several crates of 45s. It's awesome and really, realy fun. Definitely one of my favourite parts of Shambhala. It's always an honour to be part of that, for sure.
Coline McCue (of Pigeon Hole), on how Shambhala opened up electronic music for him
I'd always kind of enjoyed electronic music, but being exposed to it on those PK soundsystems, really experiencing it like that, it just...all of a sudden I was like, “Oh my God! I want my music to sound as big as this. I want my music to have this power behind it.” Seeing all those people just having an awesome time, all unified, feeling this music. I want my music to have that effect on people.” I started getting into it, started getting into Djing as well and just got deep into the music, going through artists and songs. It totally rubbed off on our sound.
Jon H. Of Fort Knox Five, on the realness and glory of Shambhala
Shambhala, to me, is the best music festival in the world. I hold a special place my heart for the Burn, but the Burn is more of a life-experience. I don’t go to the Burn for music. I mean, I like playing some tunes there and seeing stuff but that’s not the main reason to go, the main reason is to have an experience. Shambhala is just a really fun weekend hanging out with all of your homies. One of the thing’s that’s really awesome about Shambhala is the family vibe there. We get to see pretty much ALL of our homies. The lineup that they book are kind of like-minded acts. There’s no bullshit. There’s no Tiesto or Paul Oakenfold or any of that kind of stuff. The fact that they’ve been able to go around that and bypass some of the biggest headliners in the world because they don’t fit into the Shambhala ethos is awesome. And still being able to do that and pack the place every year. It’s such a special place. It’s a beautiful farm with a beautiful vibe. It’s crazy to think of these mountain kids, most of them, in the middle of nowhere, as talented as any of these production guys at any of these multi-million dollar festivals that are happening. These guys are literally out there making some of the best stages with the best productions, best sounds, best vibes and the best lineup you could possibly see. I’d say even the food is probably the best at any of the festivals I’ve been to.
Featurecast, on his favourite year (And remember my motto, kids: “Featurecast is best!”)
I think 2012 was my fav year! I had a amazing set time on the sunday night! I got to the festival on the Sunday and remember walking into the artists area while it was happy hour and bumping into lots of DJ friends, chatting and having a great time. Two hours later I was playing in the forest to an amazing crowd and incredible atmosphere. People really love the funk there! There’s not many places like that. Love it!
Dubconscious, on becoming part of the family (He's further into it now than when we talked the first time. Booking talent, keeping the motor running, doing the big work. Yeah!) and for some reason, the best set he saw in 2014
The Living Room Stage is where I play every year and 2012 was my initial introduction into the fold was to go and play for them. So each year I’ve continued to play and become closer friends with the directors. I wouldn’t be any near where I am without them so I’m always happy to help out when they need me.
2014, my favourite set was probably Mr. Scruff. I was right up on stage when he started and for the first 20 minutes or so I was standing behind him, nerding out with my mouth agape. I remember Hula and Stew and couple of the other guys noticed me and started poking fun at me, and I was like, “Alright, I’ll come hang out with you guys,” because I was at the other side completely by myself. That was a lot of fun.
The first one that comes to mind is a Bassnectar set I saw years ago. He did a sunrise set on the Beach (Living Room Stage) and it was different because everyone was used to seeing him at different stages with a higher energy, more intense kind of set. He did this really melodic, beautiful set. I think it was 2007. Definitely a highlight for me.
Opiuo, on his first impressions of Shambhala
Probably the first one I went to in 2010. I'd never been before and didn't really know anything about it. I just remember cruising along by myself in the day and seeing...You know how everyone always calls festivals a "family" and that whole thing? I remember noticing that it truly was a giant family there. Everyone was looking out for each other and you're already friends with everyone. That really stuck with me for sure.
See you real soooooooooon.