Shambhala. Just the name alone is enough to have a smile sweep across your face. It seems that in every direction you look, there’s a festival springing up trying to gain a foothold on the slippery slope that is the summer festival circuit. However, WRR thinks it’s safe to say that the beautiful people running Shambs won’t need to look over their shoulder anytime soon, as since 1998 this privately-ran event has staked its claim as the best music festival in North America.
Released last month, the musical talent set to usher in the 18th edition this summer is absolutely next level. From masters of the groove like GRiZ and Pretty Lights to some of the best bass artists in the world, the lineup this year has something for everybody. When we first looked at the bill that’s awaiting us in August, it was hard to believe that all of these names can fit into one festival, with one theme. That’s precisely why Shambhala doesn’t have a “go-to” stage, but six completely different structures inside the grounds which are unique from each other.
The Village Stage, The Pagoda Stage, The Grove, The Amphitheatre, Fractal Forest, and The Living Room Stage will be housing the talent; each with completely different, curated lineups and themes. As August 7th crawls closer and closer, it’s time to dive in and begin your intimate relationship with each. Take a look below as we break down each of the stages, lineups, and what makes each unique and special from the last.
The Village Stage
Any bass enthusiast’s dream, The Village Stage is set to blow minds this year. Skrillex, Datsik, ill.Gates, Camo & Krooked, Koan Sound, Excision and so many others grace this PK Sound-fueled haven, leaving almost no wobble to spare. This lineup is overflowing with talent, to the point where it could realistically be its own festival. Luckily for us though it’s not…this stage is simply another cog in a perfectly put together lineup.
Taken from the official description, “As you enter, you’re surrounded by not only intense bass and blissful beats, but tree forts interconnected by catwalks and bridges circling the dance floor that shape the upper and outer edges of our Village. Pulsing spires and rooftops depict an ancient dialect of the now extinct Krinkoia, extra-terrestrial travelers who touched down to call this place home some million years ago.” Yup, sign us up.
The Pagoda Stage
This is where the funky dance parties will go down for the weekend. With outrageously fresh, talented artists like Pretty Lights, GRiZ, Kygo, Thomas Jack, Destructo, and a Dirtybird takeover, it’s going to be borderline impossible to not move your feet around. This has our vote for favorite stage of the year, and with “an epic mystery headliner that you’ll have to wait ’til the moment they take the stage to find out who it is” it seems as if anticipation will only grow with each passing day.
The Pagoda Stage aims for an upbeat, happy vibe and it seems like that’s exactly what we’re all going to get when we step foot inside. Featuring “one of the best audio visual productions on the planet. The sights and sounds will blow your mind.“ Video mapping, custom decor, and a world-renowned light display will make this a stage you’ll never forget attending.
If The Pagoda has our vote for favorite, The Grove certainly has our vote for dark horse winner. Presenting a vibe unlike any stage you’ll experience, “In this magical stand of old-growth forest you will find a place of natural solace, a welcoming dance floor surrounded by towering cedar trees, lush pathways, creative art installations and interactive chill zones. The musical focus will feature deep sounds in world beat, down-tempo, glitch-hop, psychedelic dub, and a variety of live bands.“
Fitting the theme to a T, guests will be treated to the legendary Tipper alongside visual extraordinare Android Jones, Liquid Stranger, Bonobo, and so many others. Music only sounds as good as the speakers they’re played on, and with a Funktion-One setup it’s safe to say we’re going to be treated to crystal clear sound to match the pristine vibes that The Grove will offer.
Supplying some of the most cutting-edge, downright filthy beats of the weekend will be The Amp. WRR favorites Mr. Carmack & G Jones are going to bring their one-of-a-kind trap sound, Bleep Bloop and Space Jesus are going to show you a side of electronic music that you never knew existed, and Herobust is going to make you get down like you didn’t even know you were capable of. We’re looking forward to this one, and it promises to be different than anything we’ve seen seen here yet.
Things are going to get strange in the best way imaginable at the Fractal Forest this year. With the instantly recognizable sounds of AC Slater, Jack Beats and others this will be the most unique atmosphere of the weekend, in large part because of a setting unlike any other in the world. If this description courtesy of Shambhala HQ doesn’t get you excited, you need to check your pulse. Oh yeah, and the DJ’s play in the heart of the forest out of a burnt out cedar tree stump.
“The Fractal Forest is a show within a show within a show. Pyramids and flowers are everywhere in the enchanted woodland and if you keep your eyes peeled you may see friendly forest creatures as well as gnomes, fairies, pixies and magic mushrooms galore. Please join us on the funky spaceship for this epic journey to the 12th dimension and back…boarding at noon, August 7th, 2015”
The Living Room Stage
The Living Room Stage occupies a special spot in the hearts of Shambhala vets. Seeking to offer guests a true family vibe, this stage is home to the chill, laid back energy where you can sit back and take in some of the most breathtaking views of your life. With a highly anticipated four hour set from DJ Harvey and a second set of Tipper (likely a special downtempo treat), this stage will offer a retreat from the more high intensity stages like The Pagoda or The Amp. It’s a beautiful sight to watch how each and every one of these stages feed off and work hand in hand with each other.
This is the only non-permanent stage in the fest, and it’s due solely to the changing landscape of the Salmo River which it calls home as a setting. A special full day dedicated purely to spinning vinyl will be happening this year, and you can be sure to catch us there getting down to the roots of where electronic music started.
We hope this stoked the flames just a bit more for your anticipation this year! Everything is pointing to this being another breathtaking year from one of the best festivals in the world, and the only tough decision facing us all will be how to possibly spend time evenly at each of these six unreal set ups. As always keep it posted here for all things Shambhala related in the coming months, hope to see you there!
(photo credit to Shambhala Music Festival)