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How Shambhala is Shattering the Festival Mold, One Year at a Time

Shambhalove vs. selling the "Festival Experience"

With rising popularity and the addition of new festivals each year, Shambhala has managed to stay true to itself. For the past 18 years it’s hosted itself, sponsor free, on its own land, with its own staff. This means it has operated under its own guidelines and built upon itself with each year. Hosted on a 500 acre farm, Shambhala’s infrastructure in a permanent facet of the farm, and its staff and volunteers work tirelessly to build it better. This alone helps create a sense of what most say is “home,” and each year when we return its like we’d never left.

Unique in its own right, Shambhala has also created words that, outside of its own ecosystem may be nonsense to the rest of the world. Words like “Farmily,” “Shambassador,” and “Shambhalove” can be seen written all over the 25,000 person and growing Facebook community. Of the mentioned “Shambhawords” one in particular seems to carry its weight in gold, “Shambhalove”. This for many, is the singular ideology behind the entire weekend at the ranch, but like a double rainbow…what does it mean!?


Photo: Kate Mada

Shambhalove is simple, yet complex. It’s beautiful in the sense that it can mean so much by saying so little. It’s the idea of community, a sense of home and every “Shambalite” has a responsibility while at the farm. Shambhalove allows for a self governing body of 15,000 people for 5 days that makes sure you’re taken care of, that garbage is picked up and that no one uses soap in the river.

Even a stranger, becomes a best friend or a solo camper joins a crew. Shambhalove is the one thing that festivals wish they could bottle and sell, but it’s not something that can be replicated. It’s unique to itself, and each year it introduces new members to the family, and each year people leave the farm with often times a new look on their lives. Shambhalove is “Really Good” and we hope it continues on in everyone after they’ve left the farm.

Photo: Lindsay Donovan

Photo: Lindsay Donovan

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