#festivalseason - 20 years in, Shambhala is as memorable and magical as ever.

Every year I step onto the Salmo River Ranch for Shambhala (This was my fifth consecutive year) I'm amazed and inspired. It's not just all the great music – though the amount of high-quality, incredibly creative music is near-baffling – but how Shambhala brings the best out of everyone involved. The organizers seemingly outdo themselves every year with new instalments, a keen eye for talent and various tweaks, small and large, to the well-oiled machine that is Shambhala. The Djs, visual artists, dancers, hoopers, etc, all bring their A-games, bringing out their finest beats, strokes and moves to the funky proceedings. And my fellow attendees – their willingness to let the weirdest parts of themselves shine and bathe in bass makes me smile. Seeing all the little pieces of oddness people have found for themselves, the novelty we all gift to each other as we traverse the four days on the farm, is unlike anything my imagination can come close to. I am astounded every year and this year was no different. Please Shambhala, Shambhalovelies, please don't ever stop astounding me.


There have been many stories about the Sunday cancellation/evacuation/cancellation of the evacuation. The good homies at Betty & Kora just put out a great breakdown of the timeline and events of the whole thing. There's nothing more to be said on the matter. However, what is becoming more interesting to me is hearing stories from attendees of how different people and camps came together and dealt with the impending chaos in their own ways. My campmates sat down Saturday afternoon for a very well moderated meeting that included a time to share our favourite moments of the first couple of days of Shambhala, in an effort to keep spirits high. This is when we found that two of our Sham-fam had got engaged on Friday night! In the same spot at the Pagoda where two other members of the fam had had their wedding ceremony a couple of years earlier. I'm sure we would have found out soon enough, but to discover this beautiful thing in the midst of what kind of felt like impending doom was a deeply moving moment. One that I'm sure no one who experienced it will forget anytime soon.


This is an untouched photo of the river on Thursday, in the midst of what would prove to be the worst bout of wildfire smoke all weekend. It's burned into my head forever now – the relentless partiers continuing unabated in front of what looks like the bloody apocalypse. At this moment it felt like the smoke would never let up, that this is just how life was going to be, gasping for fresh air in between dance moves. Obviously it wasn't like that, crisp air wasn't that far away, but it's a pretty good summation of the most challenging parts of this Shambhala20.

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