We arrived at Shambhala in an exquisitely decorated old camper van…
…and left in a modified mini schoolbus.
Everything that happened in between those two rides was equally weird and wonderful. It would be impossible to write about everything that happened during the week we spent on the farm, and in some cases inadvisable. So here are 10 random things that we did during the week we spent on the farm.
- We could not find a place to put our tent. At Shambhala, when you show up, nobody tells you where to camp. You’re turned loose on the forest to find your own spot. We showed up only one day early, and it was nearly impossible to find any space at all.
- We put our tent literally anywhere we wanted to. During the first half of our week, we were 2 of 15,000ish people, but during the second half, we were 2 of 40ish people on the farm. We decided not to walk back and forth between our distant tent and the venue every morning, so we put all our stuff in a wagon and camped right outside The Grove for the remainder of our stay.
- We partied until we could party no more. We barely made it through the last show we saw of the festival (Pretty Lights) before our legs gave out. Our daily routine during the three nights of concerts was as follows: wake up, do everything you possibly can to make your body able to dance again, dance, sleep, repeat. We saw so many amazing shows. At Shambhala, the music goes from 11am to 7am. So there really aren’t any limits that you don’t put on yourself. Very dangerous, as you can imagine. The highlight of all this partying was the secret headliner. On Saturday night, thousands of people crowded themselves into Pagoda, waiting to see who was about to play. There were that it was going to be Zed’s Dead— one of our favourite groups— but we didn’t want to believe that only to be disappointed. But we weren’t disappointed. The rumours were true. How cool is it that a festival keeps one of their biggest deal performers a secret? That’s not how you sell tickets!
- We played on a bouncy castle! We saw it from a distance and thought that might be what it was, but didn’t believe it. When we got there, we couldn’t believe that we were allowed to go in it, but we were! We visited the bouncy castle several times over the weekend, and each was an awesome time. Apparently the people who brought it weren’t technically allowed to, but they started a facebook campaign that convinced the organizers that they were a big enough deal that they should be allowed.
- SEANBHALA!!!!! It’s been right there on out todo list the entire time, just above ‘visit a commune’, and it happened (note the check mark). Ladies and gentlemen, it happened. We went to Shambhala and saw the one and only Sean Audet.
- We got rid of the tails. I don’t think we have ever mentioned the tails on this blog. Before we left Vancouver, Adrian and I made 14 faux fir tails. We carried them around with us for two and a half months, on some crazy idea that we could sell them and make some serious bank. We sold one at Electric Forest, zero at Way Home and gave/ traded them all away at Shambhala. And oh man, does it ever feel good to have shed that weight. On the last day we attached notes to all of them that we had left, which read “SHAMBHAGIFT: This tail was handmade and travelled more than 12000 kilometres to get to you. So put it on and dance your heart out.” We left them random places, so we can only wonder where they are now. We didn’t find any of them in the trash, though.
- We picked soooooooooooooo much garbage. Like… SO MUCH garbage. Shambhala, you nasty. Not as nasty as some other festivals, but still. We spent 4 days sifting through piles of expired food, camping equipment, and wasps. We found crack pipes, used condoms, and corners of the forest that had been used as shitting spots all weekend. In 38 degree weather, we bent over to pick up truly prodigious amounts of cigarette butts. In the words of our buddies from Cliff Life: Pick up your drunk trash!
- We groundscored like ballers. Not a lot about picking up trash is awesome, but the one thing that makes it worth it is the groundscores. Also known as trash treasures, groundscores are cool things left— for some inconceivable reason— on the ground. The list of what we walked away from the festival with is as follows: a new tent, a jean vest, a baseball cap, a toque, board shorts, jean shorts, a stuffed baby Bowser, a selection of jewelry, pins, cliff bars, muffins, hand lotion, bandaids, socks, little bags to organize our stuff with, a broken kite, two headlamps, headphones, high quality ear plugs, pyjama pants, and we’re pretty sure a bunch of other stuff that we can’t remember right now.
- PIGS! On the second to last day we were on the farm, the animals were released from their pens to roam once more. You could tell how ecstatic the cows were just from looking at them. The babies were running around like crazy. They were so cute. But back to the pigs. The last morning, we got woken up by a little piglet right outside our tent. On our way to work, Adrian tried to make friends with some other pigs, but they weren’t really into it.
- We stood on all six stages: Pagoda, The Grove, The Village, Fractal Forest, The Livingroom and The Amphitheatre. Because we’re huge nerds, we made a point to stand on every stage and take pictures before we left the grounds. Here’s Adrian and I dropping some sweet beats on the main stage, Pagoda:
And that, folks, is all the Shambhala we have time for. But before we go, I do have to report some very sad news. A wonderful friend who has been with us from the very beginning didn’t make it through the festival. This friend will live on in our hearts forever. RIP… Adrian’s Shorts