The second you pull your car up and set up your campsite at Shambhala, things feel… different. Whether it was the uniquely wooded backdrop, the refreshingly less-than-typical crowd of affable neighbors, or the diverse lineup of music, moods everywhere were lifted as real-world troubles melted away in the summer sun.
Walking up and down the line of tents, we soon found that the secret password to opening up any conversation with strangers consisted of two simple words: “Happy Shambhala!” Talking to our neighbors, we’d find attendees who’ve been going to Shambhala each of the last 10, 12, and even 14 years. This isn’t a one-off “I guess we’ll try this out” sort of festival experience. Rather, this is the sort of place you go to once, and then return to every year for the rest of your life.
All this occurred before we’d heard a single note of music. As The Living Room and the Amphitheater stages opened up on Thursday night, we were afforded a rare opportunity to wander through the festival grounds to truly explore what Shambhala had to offer. Your classic summer festival will typically have one thing to do, and that’s wander from stage to stage catching every set you possibly can. But here, the music acted as a backdrop to bigger and better things.
A massive dome housed stunning artwork for all to see, right next to a gorgeous sunflower garden adjacent to The Amphitheater. Down by the river, a fruit stand stood across from a shisha tent where you could relax, drink tea, and take in your morning. For the early risers, group yoga at 10am became a daily routine. Anyone looking to cool off could take a dip in the river with the soothing tunes of The Living Room stage echoing through the valley. Acting more as an adult summer camp than simply a music festival, it wasn’t long before we too felt at home on the farm.
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