Mt Eden on The Village stage at the Shambala Music Festival.

Mt Eden on The Village stage at the Shambala Music Festival.

Shambhala Music Festival after dark

Anything goes at the 17th Annual Shambhala Music Festival this weekend, including friendliness.

Cover photo: Mt Eden on The Village stage at the Shambhala Music Festival.

All photos by T. Hynd

Shambhala Music Festival 2014 is something to be experienced and it’s happening right now near Salmo. The stimulus at the festival grounds is mind-blowing.

The colourful people who arrive and camp during the day go through what seems like a set change and transformation akin to a Mardi-Gras of sorts. Anything goes. Anything.

Yet it’s still so friendly. What other festival has the first parking director shake the hand of every single person arriving with a warm welcome to Shambhala and strangers grinning from ear to ear? As crowds of Shambhys walk from the camping areas towards the town centre and stages, a young volunteer says pleasantly over the megaphone, “All you beautiful people, kindly walk to the right,” in an effort to keep the crowds flowing comfortably.

Mere minutes after crossing the town threshold, a fit man wearing tiny red swimming trunks with suspenders, a bow tie, sun glasses larger than his head, carrying a red umbrella happened to link arms for a square dance round about and bestow wishes for a lovely, “Happy Sham!”.

That was before getting to the five over-the-top stages lit up and pumping out electronic beats in the forest surrounded by wooden benches and platform retreats for a rest and visit with a friend in amongst illuminated art installations all under the canopy of grand cedar trees.

And you will not see photos of The Fractal Forest stage which is arguably the most diverse and multidimensional of all the Shambhala stages.  The Press is prohibited from publishing photos as the Shambhala organizers wish to protect their trademarked stage design.

Until you go, you will not know.

All the 10,000 weekend passes are sold out but starting early Sunday morning $140 will get you a day pass to see thirty acts which last until Monday morning.