2017 brings the 20th Anniversary of the legendary Shambhala Music Festival. Completely eschewing corporate sponsorship of any kind, nestled away in BC's Kootenay Mountains, the Festival has become a shining beacon for all that is right with independent music and dance culture. It will be my fifth and the second for Rags Music. As the calendar turns, it's time to start obsessing about who we're all going to get to shake our asses to. The following are acts that have been in my ears constantly throughout the past year and, apart from Wick-It, acts that haven't appeared on the Farm before (As far as I know, at least). It doesn't really matter what I say, the Shambhala family has impeccable taste, year after year bringing the tastiest grooves of all kinds from around the globe. But whatever. I'm still going to throw my voice into the void and cross my fingers. So, here it is, my wishlist for Shambhala XX.
(Tickets are completely sold out, but keep your eyes open and you might be able to find yourself one. Please, use caution when buying resale tickets though!)
Fractal Forest – Jimi Needles
There is no one I want to see at Shambhala more right now than the mighty Jimi Needles. The guy is damned near untouchable. His production is top-notch, his song selection is of unqualified taste and his scratching is totally on point. His Needlewurk mixes have been staples of my listening diet since I first heard them, his singles are never-ending glory parade. Following in the footsteps of my DJ hero, Featurecast, Jimi Needles is doing the thing that I admire most in a DJ – all of the things. He moves between genres with liquidy ease, seamlessly blending any ideas and sounds he sees fit. It might be good if Jimi Needles doesn't appear in Fractal Forest, because there would be so many melted faces, but I'm still rooting for it. With all of my heart.
Living Room – Daily Bread
There weren't many Djs that I went back to as much as Daily Bread in 2016. He just has a knack for those soul-soothing kinds of deep bass grooves. Rooted in soul, G-funk and all those other related sounds that make up the base of my musical diet, Daily Bread released a nearly infallible stream of tracks and mixes this past year (Not to mention his phenomenal Cloud Conductor album) and I can't think of anyone I'd rather listen to while watching the sun come up or go down, playing with a hula-hoop or just cuddling up with friends at the back of the Living Room. Bonus: Daily Bread was also my introduction to Philos Records, a label of top-notch quality. Check them out after you've got some Bread into your system.)
Pagoda – Casual Connection
There was a few month period where my best listening friend and I spent hours listening to nothing but Casual Connection. His output is truly astounding and his song selection is right bananas. Sometimes he's not changing much about the individual track he's remixing but rather letting the original do the talking, adding his funky flares throughout. I can't even begin to imagine what a Casual Connection live set might do to a Pagoda crowd. I'm thinking maybe a Saturday afternoon, getting a serious 90's inspired dance party going in the earlier hours of the day. I think the funky house power would be enough to carry any witnesses through until the refreshing coolness of night time comes.
AMP – Wick-It The Instigator
Wick-It the Instigator was there at my first Shambhala, five years ago. In fact, he was the homie on stage when all my skepticism about electronic music faded away. When I looked up into the DJ stump in Fractal Forest and saw him hammering on his electric guitar, it was like someone put a key into my ear, twisted it and unlocked all the secrets of this music that I had been fervently avoiding for nearly a decade. Wick-It hasn't been back since and I think it's time this was remedied. As the AMP has become the home for some of the big, heavy hip-hop and trap guys, I can't think of a more fitting stage for the Instigator to make his return to. Maybe a Thursday night spectacular? Let him explode some minds before the weekend is in full swing. Or maybe Saturday night, at the height of all things. It doesn't really matter, because Wick-It is a straight G, guaranteed to annihilate the ears and asses of anyone lucky enough to witness the instigation.
Grove – The Polish Ambassador
I've been wishing for the Polish Ambassador to grace the stages of Shambhala for some time now. His earthy funk would be the perfect fit for the The Grove, a stage that has really hit its stride in the last couple of years. The Ambassador is all about reconnecting people and the Earth, with music as the conduit. His entire catalogue is warm, funky and accessible. There's no way he wouldn't bring the ultimate dance party to my fellow Shambhalovelies. The permanent stage structures, the gardens of the Shambhala, the general good-folk atmosphere are all staples that I think The Ambassador would be proud of. The whole thing seems tailor-made for the dude and it's about time he graced us with his funky presence. (And if you didn't get his Dreaming of an Old Tomorrow from 2016 into your ears, do yourself a favour and get on that now.)
The Village – Tech N9ne
This is a wishlist, and sometimes you gotta wish for the world. But really, as far-fetched as this might seem, when we look a little closer, it's really a no-brainer. The biggest independent rapper in the world comes to rock one of the greatest independent large-scale parties in the world. Neither Tech nor Shambs has dabbled with corporate sponsorship and both have no reason to change that fact. Tech N9ne shows are some of the rowdiest parties I've ever seen. He whips the crowd in a goddamned frenzy. It's kind of hard to imagine what kind of damage he (And I would assume the homie Krizz Kaliko) would inflict upon the Village. And as a bonus, the dude's already worked with Village legend Excision, so there's already a familial connection. A long shot that needs to happen.