Tickets sold out ahead of time for this year’s festival, setting the stage for one of Shambhala’s busiest years yet with the 10,000 tickets sold before the show even started.
The lineups were noticeably longer, with a 16-hour wait as security combed through vehicles. Shambhala Music Festival does have a hedonistic reputation and the tighter security this year may have been a way of cutting down on the amount of contraband entering the alcohol-free event.
But once crowds were through and happily set up with campsites, the real show began. Shambhala Music Festival is a truly unique event with a liberal approach to partying. Folks from all walks of life convene on the Salmo River Ranch in August every year—this is Shambhala’s 13th anniversary—and it’s not uncommon to see barely clad (or completely bare) bodies roaming around the grounds barefoot or in ridiculous elaborate costumes that were far too warm for the summer heat.
The six stages—Rock Pit, Labyrinth, Pagoda, Fractal Forest, Living Room and The Village were more elaborate than ever and many big names took to the PK Sound-powered systems. Heavy bass roared for five days as acts like A-Skillz, Beardyman, Bassnectar, Nero, Delhi 2 Dublin and many others pleased huge crowds.
Perhaps the best thing about music festivals is discovering acts you’ve never heard of. Happening by a stage during a really good set or learning from other festival goers about not-to-miss shows can turn you on to new types of music and performance.
There were a couple of acts that stood out in particular. Surprisingly, the artists hailed not far from home and really knew how to pack a punch.
Longwalkshortdock, or Dave King, is from Vancouver, B.C. and is the first this music lover has ever seen of what we’ll call shock-electro. This guy really gets into his music. The huge crowd that showed up for his set at the Rock Pit stage at Shambhala went into a frenzy. Longwalkshortdock performs a live PA show with live vocals, effects, synthesizers and more. He builds the songs as he goes along, and takes a break during repetitive sections to head bang, throw himself around the stage and perform rock star antics. Surprisingly it didn’t distract from his music, featuring eerie vocals and heavy bass.
Another great Vancouver artist that rocked the crowd at Shambhala was ill-esha. Ill-esha, who is also a voice actor and film composer, is a glitch hop producer and DJ. She also emcees during her performances, showing she’s a well-rounded, talented musician. Glitch hop is hip hop with a heavier dance beat—the glitch comes from electronic sounds mixed in giving the music a twitchy appeal.