Shambhala season has arrived once again. Few times of the year are as ripe with division in the court of public opinion. Some people love it, some people hate it.
Over the last 10 years the electronic music festival on the banks of the Salmo River has grown in size and legend. This year the festival sold out of its 10,000 tickets in the spring. Since the 2010 festival, Shambhala has attracted even more worldwide fame and picked up several honours along the way.
This week Shambhala pilgrims will arrive at the ranch just west of Salmo. From all over British Columbia, Canada and the world they will come for four epic days of music, vibe and lasting memories.
It’s easy for those unfamiliar to make sweeping judgements about Shambhala. Those who have never been, never want to go or simply don’t take time to understand it don’t have to reach far to find the negatives.
In the days following the festival some of the Shombies — those who partied a little too much — wander the streets in a daze. A few even cause problems for local police. When the dust settles on the ranch there is always a few unfortunate incidents that get reported. When you bring together a population greater than Nelson for a weekend, bad stuff is bound to happen.
On Friday we ran a feature on the family that puts Shambhala together. The Bundschuh clan are behind this multi-million dollar operation and have humbly grown it into the phenomenon it is today. The story is one of vision, hard work and positive values. At its core Shambhala is a family business and it’s that energy that fuels the festival.
Shambhala is a huge economic generator for our region. It has put Salmo and Nelson on the map for a demographic not traditionally lured by the typical tourism outreach. It’s beyond a bonus; it’s a staple.
There’s always a downside, but for those who want to dwell on the negative it’s time to take a closer look at the bigger Shambhala picture.