Hard to believe it's only been a few months since Shambhala's 20th Birthday. Like every year, it went by too quickly and like every year, it left far more than four days worth of memories. After the festival I wrote about how impressed I was with how everyone around me handled the nearby, threatening forest fires. And of all the stories I've been told since leaving the Farm, my favourites continue to be the stories of how people dealt with the entirely bizarre situation they found themselves in while simultaneously sucking every bit of joy and glory out of it. Over the last month a couple of acts who graced the Shambhala stages have been kind enough to share their time and stories of how they dealt with fire in their own way. Shambhala veteran and world-famous party rocker Z-TRIP used every trick he could think of on Saturday to get through to his second set on Sunday. While exploding-like-a-super-nova-right-now 'lean bass' duo CHUURCH had their Sunday set cancelled and rescheduled at the last minute to Saturday – a set that will go down as legendary for all those that were there to commune. As the cold begins to creep back in, it seems like a perfect time to take a look back at a couple magical summer moments from the Salmo River Ranch.
Shambhala was fucking amazing. I did two sets. I did the Forest and the Village. It was fucked up because of all the fires there. The night I was playing in Forest they were like, “Yeah, it doesn't look like tomorrow is gonna happen.” Fuck. I had sort of crafted sets there that were based around spirit animals. My spirit animal was the Elephant in Fractal and in the Village was the Wolf – wolfpack, bass. As I was doing my Elephant set in the Forest, we got to the end of the set and I said, “We're gonna have a rain dance. We need rain, so tonight's the rain dance.” Basically we did the set and I had this song that I played, I had everyone sit down – which was maybe the first time anyone had done that – not have everyone jump up but just sit down and listen to a song. That was heavy. That was really incredible. We were bummed because I really wanted to that next set. We woke up the next morning and they said, “It rained last night! You brought the rain!” So we went and set up to do the next day. Maybe a quarter of the people had left. It kind of felt like the way-back Shambhala vibe, when there weren't as many people and you had room to dance, from maybe 10 years ago. It had that vibe – the diehards were there. I played my set and did my thing. At the end of my set I played a song called “Feel the Love.” I said, “Can you feel the love out there? We almost didn't have today! Where are my wolves at?” “Ooowwwwwooooo!” Everyone's fucking howling and the rain starts coming down! Right at the very end of the set. It rained so quickly and it was done. It was one of the best sets of all time for me. That place is so fucking magical. That was heavy. I love those guys, I love that place, I love PK Sound. The whole organization, I back it 100%.
Watching you up during the Fractal Jam reminds me of why I like music so much. I go into media areas and backstage areas sometimes as I writer and I get bummed because I see so many people in work mode forgetting how amazing it is to be so close to the music. I see DJs like that sometimes, all serious and shit, and you just look like you're having the most fun ever.
Oh man, thank you so much. That was the best. That was my first Fractal Jam. I've wanted to do it every single time but every time I've had to go somewhere and do some shit. It took me this long. I was so fucking excited, are you kidding me? I finally get to hang with the cool kids! <laugh>
It was awesome, it made me so happy. And the year before when you found your spirit animal, the elephant, I was there alone. I had lost my friends and I was just by myself rocking to your set.
The whole spirit animal thing came from the time before I was there. I played the Forest and somebody handed me this big crafted leather owl mask. I was with Gaff and he said, “Yo, that's your spirit animal, the owl.” I thought, “Uhhhhhh okay? I don't really connect with it at all.” The mask is amazing! It's incredible and I'm super grateful to have it. It sits in my house. That got me thinking about what would my spirit animal would be. That's how that whole thing started. My idea now is to play every stage and do a different animal on every stage.
Chuurch (As told by Makemdef)
I was sitting in a hammock somewhere when I got the news that our set [On Sunday] was cancelled. I immediately shot up out of the hammock, “Well, I'm going to reschedule this thing, right now.” It was really awesome because a lot of the artists...Lazy Syrup Orchestra, that's Dunks from the Funk Hunters and Soren, they cut their time in half on their set to give 45 minutes to someone else. There was a real vibe there. I shouldn't have freaked out so much because everyone there is the most professional in the industry and I should have known they were going to make it work in the face of crisis. It was our second year, this was a big year for us and I wanted to make sure we did it right, twice as good. I got the news about an hour before we actually performed, it was a long day.
So, our show is cancelled and I just wanted to try to make it happen with all my heart. I took all my food vouchers, like $45 worth of vouchers, and bought mini-donuts. And me and my girlfriend walked around handing out mini-donuts trying to raise the spirits. I handed out three buckets of donuts and got my set back. It was magic. People really like donuts. They make people super happy. When it was finally game-time, I went kind of cuckoo. There had been a lot riding on that whole Monday set. We were supposed to debut this new song we'd done with Rezz, right after her set. That would have been cool. But it was such a meant-to-be kind of thing. It was an amazing learning experience. It changed people. I learned a lot about myself through that performance.
The best part of that whole thing, is after that was all said and done, my girlfriend and I walked through Fractal Forest and the first song I hear after my set was Jazzy Jeff playing “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” It was a surreal moment. It was amazing. Definitely, looking back, Shambhala handled that situation pretty good. We brought the rain that night.