#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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#festivalseason - There are way too many amazing musical people to see at Shambhala20. Here are a few highlights to help deal with the crushing burden of choice.

The best thing about the legendary Shambhala Music Festival – hidden away in the Kootenay mountains, in Salmo, BC – also happens to be the worst thing about the legendary Shambhala Music Festival: There is an overstuffed cornucopia of a lineup that is completely impossible for one human person to consume. With six stages thumping bass near-endlessly , Shambhala has something for everyone in amongst the chaos. Whatever your groove is, there's something on the Farm to satisfy your bass-lust. Rather than attempt to run down the near-endless list of everything Rags Music is hoping to check out, or to randomly select things with little to no regard for scheduling, I'm going to recommend an artist (or two) per stage with the “Rags Music Home-run Guarantee,” spaced out throughout the four days (Hint: Get there for early entry on Thursday. It's worth it). This being a milestone year 20 for the Festival, I'm going to try to split the list between new faces and what could appropriately be called Shambhala Legends. I promise, if you catch even a couple of these things, your ears will be very happy.

THE AMP - MAT THE ALIEN b2b The LIBRARIAN - Thursday @ 12-1:30pm

Like I said previously, I'm getting into Shambhala Legends mode this year and this begins with planning my Day 1 festivities around a few festival cornerstones. Opening the AMP with Mat the Alien & The Librarian?! Yes, please! Mat the Alien is a DJ I'm happy to see any time I can. The veteran bass master is as versatile as anyone in the galaxy, able to shift moods and genres on a dime, and a fantastic scratcher to boot! Big, big legends vibes on this. The Librarian is someone I've been wanting to see properly for a long time. Her dark, spacey bass vibes call to me. Now is the time. I caught a very tiny portion of her set at Shambhala last year and everyone I've talked to who just returned from Bass Coast (Her home bass) said hers was the set of the weekend. I blew my chance to see them when they toured together for their Mutiny tour, but honestly, would it have been as good as seeing them team up to wreck the AMP at Shambs? Nah. This'll be better.

FRACTAL FOREST – MARTEN HØRGER – Sunday @ 1:30-2:30am

Finally! I get to see Marty fuckin' Horgs, the German bass phenom in his proper environment – the middle of an old tree, armed with a bananas powerful PK sound rig. Marten Horger has been one of my go-tos any time I need a little extra OOMPH! ZORP! BLAMO! in my breaks diet. His mixes and tracks come at your ears like a crazed monkey with a knife, but the monkey is wearing a little hat, so while it's pretty dangerous, it's also super fun! A veteran of the always reliable PUNKS label, Horger, the talent behind of some of my absolute favourite tracks like “Blood” and “Deeper Down,” I can, in the words of the immortal Vince McMahon, “GUARAN-DAM-TEE” Horger will lay down the perfect blast of hard breaks energy to fuel through the last few hours of your Sunday night. (And he's a past answerer of the 5 Questions! Extra points!) Also, Horger also just recently got into the world of drum 'n' bass – a world I still don't understand – with an uplifting gem of a track that hit me right away!

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It's January, so it's time to start obsessing about Shambhala. A Wishlist.

2017 brings the 20th Anniversary of the legendary Shambhala Music Festival. 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 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 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.

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