Shambhala Music Festival is gearing up for its special 20th anniversary event, which goes down this weekend Aug. 11 – 14 in Salmo River Ranch, BC, with Excision, Destructo, Pendulum (DJ set), Rezz, and so many more!
While it’s safe to say that many things have changed throughout the festival’s evolution, one thing remains the same: the Shambhala Experience is unparalleled.
For those who have experienced the farm, we know the indescribable energy in the air, the unmatchabe bonds built with new friends, and the truly magical, unique experience that awaits every festival goer. The lineup, the people, the stage design might vary, but the exact same feelings that feed our souls year-to-year and keeps us coming back for more are guaranteed.
Simply put, it’s the best damn music festival in the world.
The Shambhala Experience has endless possibilities. Writing your own story. Losing yourself. Finding yourself. Discovering new passions and talents. It’s ecstatic energy. And stillness. It’s falling in love. And just about anything else you can imagine.
None of this would be possible without some extremely hard working individuals, dedicated to providing us with a cultural experience like no other.
Britz Robins, Shamb’s Public Relations Manager, aka Britz Bitz aka ShambhaMom is one of those amazing people working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make Shambhala Music Festival happen every year. Those privileged enough to meet her take intimidate notice of her sparkling self (literally, and figuratively), but all who enter Shambhala will feel the love she puts into everything she does.
With Shambhala’s 20th anniversary just around the corner, there is nobody better for us to speak with than this gal. The music festival, 20 years in the making, is undergoing some changes this year — from the famed Pagoda stage rebuild, down to the Ranch-raised pulled pork — and Britz has the inside scoop of what to expect this weekend!
Shambhala Music Festival 20th Anniversary – Ask Britz!
How long have you been planning for this special occasion?
I guess the short answer is… 20 years! We’ve always run the festival with an eye on the future. Jimmy Bundschuh has always been a visionary. Back when the festival first started, he had a very clear vision of drawing 10,000+ people to the event every year. A lot of people thought that was a lofty goal. But not only did he make it happen, Shambhala evolved into a North American cultural phenomenon. We’ve built this festival over the years with longevity and sustainability in mind. We plan to be celebrating more big milestones 10 and 20 years from now!
This is your 15th year attending, 10th year working, and one and only 20th anniversary… Does this year feel different comparatively to your first year attending, first year working, etc.?
Oh, absolutely! When I started attending in 2003, we were a much smaller festival. I think we had around 3,000 people that year. I’ve watched the festival grow from a unique perspective — as both an attendee, and as someone working behind the scenes.
When I started working for the festival, it felt a little bit like the “Wild West” — back when festivals were still an emerging industry and we ran everything on spreadsheets and lists. It was much different, working festival production back then. I couldn’t tell you what the first year working really felt like, because coming from being a ticket holder before that, it took a few years to learn how to balance work and play.
I can say that 2009, 2010, 2011 were very transformative years for the festival, and our team did a lot of really great work consciously shaping the culture of the festival. The fruits of those labors are very evident to me today — our gardens, and the food we grow on site to supply our Shambhala vendors and The Savoy Hotel properties in Nelson, the incredible art Downtown and throughout all the stages, how our guests participate: creating their own interactive events and celebrations within the festival. There’s a very Burning Man-esque attitude among our attendees that if they want to see a specific idea come to life, they create themselves. I think it’s really great that our guests feel empowered to create their own vision within our community.
As for how this year feels — for me, the lead up has been one of the best I’ve experienced in a while. We’re pouring a lot of love into everything, and I think the vibe is going to be beyond incredible. I’m looking forward to celebrating with all our Farmily in just a few days!
How have you seen the festival change/grow for the better since its earlier years?
Oh, in so many ways. One of the most prominent, of course, is our Harm Reduction. We’ve grown from just Sanctuary and ANKORS to a 6-team department with hundreds of volunteers, focusing on many aspects health and safety. Our medical department has grown to a full-on field hospital.
Even just having internet and cell service out here is a huge deal, from a production standpoint — it makes our jobs so much easier than the early days.
Watching each stage evolve over the past 15 years has been incredible. They’ve gone through so many transformations.
A lot of us were more or less kids when we started this festival. Late teens, early twenties. I’ve seen all of us grow up with this festival, and what we’ve co-created over the past two decades is something very beautiful and dear to all of us.
What are you and your team looking forward to most this year?
The same thing I look forward to every year — the people. I love music, and I love dancing. But what’s really kept me coming back to Shambhala all these years, and the reason I got involved in festival production in the first place, is that I love the people Shambhala and events like it attract. I love that we facilitate these creative, non-judgmental spaces where people can truly express themselves, explore, learn and grow. It’s one of the most beautiful things in the world to me.
I’m looking forward to all of us having a safe, fun festival experience as we celebrate 20 years of Shambhala!
What are some of the biggest “WOW” moments you’ve had at Shambhala?
There have been so many… too many to count! I feel like the past 15 years I’ve spent coming here are just a series of “wow” moments. Haha. But some of my favorites have always been sunrise sets at the Living Room — though working through the festival, I don’t see many of those these days. My favorites were Bassnectar in 2006 and Pumpkin in 2014.
There’s just something so special about dancing in the dewy morning air, all bundled up in warm clothing. And then the sun slowly starts creeping up over the mountain. The mist starts to burn off. And people start shedding layers as they greet a brand new, beautiful new Shambhala day. There’s nothing quite like it!
Are hints on special surprises in store for the 20th anniversary? 😉
We’ve got two entirely new stage builds! The Pagoda was torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. And The Living Room is going to be a big surprise for a lot of people this year. It’s completely different from their iconic stage we’ve seen for the past several years.
Shambhala has created a few new food offerings — we’ve got pulled pork made with Salmo River Ranch-raised pigs, lemonade infused with herbs and berries grown on the farm, and a pasta vendor as well.
Due to concerns of erosion, most of Muscle Beach down at the South end of the property in Metta has become a camp-free zone, turning that zone into more of a public space. There’s a much bigger grassy area down there for people to bring down beach towels and enjoy during the day.
Our Art Director, Kate Tupper, has designed a beautiful little wedding chapel for friends and lovers to get “festival married.”
There are a couple other things in store, but you’ll have to wait and see. 🙂
Shambhala Music Festival 2017 sold out this year in less than 24 hours, prior to lineup announce. If you’d like to experience the farm, start planning now!