For many who attend music festivals it isn’t really about the music, it’s about the culture. Shambhala is one of those places. People come back to “the farm” every year because the find joy in the culture. It is and should always be a welcoming place. A place that we all go to to get away from the judgmental eyes and social norms of everyday life. A place of complete freedom and self expression, a place of acceptance, where friends and complete strangers become like family through mutual interests and shared experiences. This is, in essence how friends have become family to many at Shambhala, but that has not been the focus in many of the headlines the last few years.
It seems that the headlines around festival season have been a lot of “What to Wear,” or “Festival Fashion” and that is all good and well because festivals, especially ones like Shambhala, are safe spaces of unabashed self expression (and what better way to strip ourselves of all of the outside world’s boxes than your attire). The thing is, festival fashion is far from cheap, at least the fashion that seems to flood Facebook, Instagram and music publications. Paying for the ticket plus gas and food stretches a thin budget to the max, so instead of breaking the bank for something sparkly (that someone else will probably be wearing because you feel like you need to), know that Shambhala will accept you regardless of your attire and spend those hard earned dollars on the experience.
- Shambhala has the best FOOD. If you’re a foodie save those dolla dolla bills ya’ll for some of the top notch food options. There are always great breakfast options so that after a long night of dancing, laughing and living the good life you can re-energize with some hearty eats. Whether you are a merry meat eater or happen to be a happy herbivore Shambhala has you covered.
- If you are determined to buy some new swag why not contribute to the wonderful artisan vendors that Shambhala has readily available! These shops work hard to make sure their products get to the festival and not only do you leave with something new but you now have a dope new souvenir from the festival.
- Although people are not supposed to, it happens every year. Someone at the camp next to you is selling beautiful gemstones, wire wraps, and at times some the best festie wear for a reasonable price. It’s a barterer’s dream.
In the end, although festival fashion is marvelous and intriguing, it is about expression of self. It is about being the beautifully intriguing peacock that you are on the inside and bringing that to the surface to share with your fellow festival goers. It’s a place you can wear things that you’ve always wanted to wear, and be ‘over the top’ and not feel ashamed of it. It is about expressing yourself, fully, in a safe place, without judgement.
But do it with consciousness, without defeating the purpose of a transformative festival like Shambhala because unless you have bought biodegradable glitter, that desire to shine like the beautiful beautiful unicorn that you are, is far from sustainable and terrible for the gorgeous Salmo river, outsourcing to China contributes to child labor, and appropriating another culture for the sake of ‘fashion’ isn’t what Shambhala is about.
Let’s get back to why we attend in the first place.
Experiencing new things is part of the journey. Let’s get rid of society’s filmy blinders and its idea of beauty and see each person for what lies within. If you are an annual festival goer and are planning on attending Shambhala this year, share these ideologies with those who are new to the culture. Invite people to your camp, share your experiences, and spread the love.
Happy dancing Shambhaloves!