Shambhala 2015: Is This The World’s Best Music Festival?


1) The Shamwave

Luis Bockner shamwave

Photo by Luis Bockner

It’s Wednesday night, and a pair of long lost friends find each other in the mass of bodies. They scream in ecstasy and embrace one another as onlookers begin to yell and hoot along with excitement. Within seconds, hundreds of passersby add on to the joyous cacophony, and before long, thousands of people are joining in as the wave of happiness flows from the festival’s downtown area all the way to the campground and back again.

“What was that?!” I ask someone, still smiling from the unexpected ceremony. “Oh, that’s the Shamwave! Just wait until Friday, it gets even crazier…” And just like that, the entire 500 acres of the Salmo River Ranch becomes a giant, vibing bathtub as the Shamwave sloshes back and forth, sweeping everyone’s emotions along for the ride.

That was my first introduction to the magic of Shambhala, a place where thousands of people, once strangers, can come together for no particular reason other than to voice their elation. And my friend was right, the Shamwave only builds stronger as the party rolls on and more attendees arrive. You know the wave you might be a part of at a big stadium sports match? Yeah, the Shamwave makes those look like the waves you’d find in a bird bath. I happily joined in on the Shamwave shenanigans multiple times a day, and on numerous occasions found myself at its epicenter, listening for how far it might stretch.

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