North America | Canada | Southern British Columbia | Salmo – Shambhala
It’s a beautiful day as I wake up on the shore of Erie Lake. The water is so nice and warm when I go for a morning swim and aside from the occaisional car passing on the highway, the air is filled with silence and calm as the sun peaks over the mountain. It will be the last quiet for a few days as I’m on my way to Shambhala Music Festival on the Salmo River Ranch. Six stages, 10,000 people, and non-stop music and entertainment for the next three days.
My neighbour in Vancouver has invited me to come up and work it – and why not?
According to the website www.shambhalamusicfestival.com
“Shambhala is for anyone who has ever played for the sake of playing, loved for the sake of loving. It’s for anyone brave enough to be themselves and strong enough to speak their mind. Shambhala is for anyone who feels how they want to feel and dances how they want to dance.”
Shambhala is my kind of festival, and if I weren’t working it, I would be very tempted to attend.
So about 25 kms later, my camp is set up in the security compound and I’m working in the dispatch center getting an eyeful and an earful of this music and spectacle. Sometimes it feels a little incongruous with the music and lights and lasers and video screens all invading this peaceful forested valley, but most of the time it’s a celebration of the spirit of people – both with and without the drugs that are inevitably part of almost any human gathering.
There’s so much that goes on, but highlights included a big thirty piece carnivale style band that came strolling through in the afternoon with stiltwalkers and dancers to perform on the sk8 stage, inspiring one young man to be brave enough to be himself and skateboard naked on the half-pipe.
At one point, there was a brief thunderstorm and at the begininning of it, people were picking up the muddy waters being created and smearing it on each other while they danced to the throbbing music. After more thunder, the music shut down and the rain set it in earnest for an hour. The jubilation was briefly dampened as shoes became stuck in the wet clay soil and some slipped, but it wasn’t long before the music began again and the clouds lifted.
During the night, the lasers streaked across the sky creating patterns and pulsating on the canvas of trees. I slept well after meeting people from Australia, England, and Florida as well as other places, doing some dancing and touring around the different themed environments and marketplaces.
On the third day, after my shift was over, I headed towards the little touristy arts town of Nelson BC, finding a little lake to sleep beside. Strangely, I had slept better at Shambhala.
Day 9 – Easy ride into Slamo and then a bit up and down to the Shambhala Festival site 12 km south of Salmo – 25km total; avg. 15.1; max 34.8; ridetime 1h 39m; climbing 138m; sleeping at 605m at Shambhala security bascamp; high 32, low 12;
Day 10 – no cycling
Day 11 – easy ride to Cottonwood Lake near Nelson part railbed, part highway – 47 km; avg. 15.1; max 43.3; ridetime 3h 7m; climbing 523m; sleeping at 929m; high 33, low 18;