We’ve got a special treat today – a paper that was written for school by a fan. The subject? Shambhala of course!
I’ve combed through our photo collection to illustrate her writing. All pics taken by the 2011 SMF Media Team.
Enjoy!!! xoxox ~Britz
To My Shambhala Family:
I just had to write a short paper for one of my university classes on my favorite place, including any threats to it and what could be done to protect it.
Can you think of where my favorite place could be?
Here’s my paper. Enjoy.
My Favorite Place By: Jayme Hadikin
My favorite place only exists for six days each year in the second week in August. It is located on a farm in the Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia, only minutes from the closest town of Salmo, BC. For these few short days, this place becomes the largest city in the West Kootenays, with more than 10,000 people attending from all over the world to share a ritualistic summer experience. The Shambhala Music Festival is in its 15th year this year, and 2012 will be my eighth consecutive year. Shambhala arises energy in me that has been stored all year long; arriving at the farm is more exciting to me than Christmas.
The family run festival started with only 500 people, and it has grown immensely over the years, just by word of mouth. Run only off the sales of tickets, Shambhala has remained corporate free, where the people attending are what make the festival what it is. When you first arrive at Shambhala, you drive up a long dirt road to where your experience begins with hand made signs welcoming you “home”.
What makes Shambhala so special is it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what you do. At Shambhala you can be whoever you want to be. When I am there, I feel free to express myself to the fullest without being worried what other people think. It is common to see people of all ages wearing all sorts of clothing, costumes, or nothing at all that express what they feel on a specific day.
Shambhala also has an immense sense of community. Camps are set up all around the farm where people set up open-air living rooms. I have camped with the same group of people for the last number of years. The people I camp with are not normally people I would hang out with, as we are very different. However, over the years, they have become my Shambhala family, and I look forward to seeing them again this year. Both during the day and night, you can walk around Shambhala and just sit down and visit with strangers in other camps. It is not uncommon to be welcomed into someone else’s camp to share food or drinks. The feeling of connection and belonging is strong and everyone gets along. Even once the festival is over, the Shambhala sense of community continues through social networking spaces, such as Facebook.
Another thing that I love so much about Shambhala is that I feel so connected with the environment. In the center of the festival is the water station, where everyone comes together to get free, fresh, and clean water. One music stage is on the beach, where most people spend the day just listening to the music and hanging out in the river. Come night, everyone moves around from stage to stage along treed pathways. One stage is literally in the middle of old growth trees, with video screens hung between them. Another stage is surrounded by trees and tree forts, where you can enjoy the music from up in a tree. I absolutely love wondering through the forest at nighttime going from stage to stage and meeting random new people.
The one thing that threatens Shambhala is that it has grown to its carrying capacity. This year for the first time tickets sold out in days. The land can only sustain so many people before environmental damage occurs. As well, as each year goes on, ticket prices have to go up in order to cover costs without having to get corporate sponsors.
In order to keep Shambhala the way it is, it is important to keep it corporate free, while not increasing ticket sales to the point where it becomes unaffordable to those it is meant to attract. It will also be important to develop a way of selling tickets that minimizes people scalping the tickets and artificially increasing the prices. Keeping the number of people attending at the levels it is at today will also help protect the farm and festival well into the future.
Shambhala is definitely my favorite place to be. Through the feeling of community and connection to the Earth, I only wish I could continue the Shambhala experience into the rest of my life and that of others.