8 Tips for Newbies Attending BC’s Shambhala Music Festival

Shambhala is undoubtedly an epic and must-visit festival for many electronic music lovers.

It is held annually in the BC Kootenays and attracts nearly 20,000 attendees. The weekend is an experience like no other, and we’ve got a guide on how to make the most of it.

Be prepared for a long queue to enter

@fedorahtheexplorah Shambhala, you are killing me, man. #shambhalamusicfestival #shambhala #worth the wait ♬ original sound – Tik Toker

You’ve just arrived by car or plane, and you can’t wait to set up camp with your friends. But then you park your car in the queue, and eight hours later you’re still there. It can be a bummer if you’re unprepared – so plan to queue in the morning so you don’t get settled in the dark.

Remember, it’s all part of the experience and you might make some cool friends along the way.

It’s bringing your own shadow

Bringing shade structures for camp is essential to beat the 35°C+ Kootenay summer heat and recharge your batteries for a night of dancing. Unless you arrive early and have found a spot in the tree-lined campground of Metta, you will likely be in the sun all weekend.

Do you have an umbrella? Pack it. Belvedere? Even better. Sticks and blankets? They will work in a snap. Put them in your cart (another essential) and you’re good to go.

Spend an afternoon by the river on the living room stage

Angel Brant / Submissive

It’s like a Las Vegas pool party, but BC nature edition. Bring a float, buy an ice cold drink from the nearby vendor and relax.

Be clever to find your friends

A cardboard cutout stuck to a broomstick and dazzled with LED lights will do wonders for reducing your stress levels in Shambhala, as it means you can always find your friends.

With such large crowds, carrying a staff with a sign or object on top is often the easiest way to reconnect with your crew after using the bathroom.

Invest in quality earplugs

You’ll need them for sleeping, and you should probably wear them while you’re on stage, too. Bass in Shambhala is no joke.

Browse the scenes to find your vibe

fractal forest

Fractal Forest Stage (Angel Brant/Submitted)

Shambhala has six permanent stages, plus additional temporary stages that appear in different locations every year (and sometimes there are renegade ones in campgrounds as well).

Don’t get too attached to your list of artists you want to see – the freedom to wander around until you find the best music around is one of the best parts of the experience.

Go alone? There’s a camp for that

Check Camp Stranger Danger, this is a group campsite for anyone who comes to the festival solo to help them make friends. Another great way to meet people at Shambhala is to volunteer (and, as a bonus, your ticket is free).

It’s a marathon, not a sprint


Vancouver Daily Hive

Sleep, hydration, and good nutrition are all essential to having the best weekend possible. Enjoy the 24/7 cafe amidst a garden of sunflowers, take a break to reapply sunscreen and bring extra layers for the night.

The festival stays magical until sunrise on Monday morning, and believe us, you’ll want to do it.