Afternoon, you wonderful people, and happy Friday to you! The weekend is nigh! I can’t believe 2 weeks has already flown by since I was Adventuring in Utopia once again at Shambala Festival, but when I promised you in last year’s review that I’d definitely be heading back this year, I wasn’t playing around!
Shambala was yet again a gloriously conscious weekend of fun, learning and (of course) amazing music! So it seemed only right to share a few of my own snaps, as well as some of the festival’s incredible photography (THAT SUNSET, THOUGH!) this afternoon as I reminisce.
First up, for those of you yet to lose your Shambala virginity (you really should sort that out!), I think it’s fair to say that the following three images encompass the dreamy vibe of Shambala: uninhibited, joy-filled dancing, embracing of all ages, all people and sheer magic…
…In fact you’re gonna see a lot more of that dreamy yurt! The magical venue of Sankofa’s was one of my favourite spaces at Shambala this year. As the festival explains:
Sankofa is an ancient symbol of the Akan people from Ghana that teaches us to look to our past for inspiration and guidance for the future.
Sankofa’s is a venue that is designed very much with this meaning in mind. It is immersed in the roots and shoots of acoustic folk, blues, jazz and roots music from around the world. It is a blissful late night retreat away from the mayhem and a little acoustic treasure that once you have discovered, you will find it hard to leave.
With a ‘shoes-off’ policy applied as you entered, this cosy network of cushion-decked yurts played host to some incredible acts, from the raucous harmonies of Dublin folk band, Lynched, to the traditional beats and singing of Zimbabwe; we learnt, we sang, we napped and we broadened our minds in this magical venue. It was such a privilege to be there.
At the opposite end of the scale was Madam Bayou’s (that’s the dance pit of fun that you see in the image below!), check it out:
Don’t drift too far down the Bayou, for deep down the dark creek is where “The Madame” crawls the damp earth with her tribe of snake-worshipping heathens.
When the sun goes down, this swampy old shack comes alive – we’ll be breaking out the moonshine and whooping and hollering the night away. If you’ve got a hankerin’ for some honky tonk, or if it’s bluegrass that dills your pickle, head on down to Madame Bayou’s late night drinkin’ hole, for the most happening hootenanny this side of the Mississippi!
With hilarious day-time dance offs and sounds of deep south from Sam Green and the Midnight Heist in the heat of the Friday night, Madame Bayou’s was a pool of energy.
Oh, and did I mention that Sister Sledge played the main Shambala Stage and absolutely SLAYED! Not to mention the rhymes of the goddess that is Pink Oculus and of course the smoothest beats from the smoothest Swindle.
But, of course, you’ll know by now that Shambala is about so much more than just the music, and the festival left no one in any doubt about that this year with their big statement move to a vegetarian and vegan food only festival.
I mean, can you hear me whooping with joy from here?!
Yes indeed, in arguably their most controversial move thus far, Shambala tooke their environmental policy to the next level with their ‘Food for belly, food for thought, food for soul’ meat and fish-free campaign. A theme that ran throughout the festival, with dedicated discussions and some of the most amazing caterers on site, food was on everyone’s mind (and not just at 4am after a long night of dancing!). Have a read of Shambala’s FAQ section about this bold catering move and their environmentally conscious reasoning behind it, as well as this fabulous review of the experience by Ed Gillespie.
As a vegan advocate myself, I was so excited to have this opportunity to try so many new vegan foods (the Jackfruit burrito was a game changer!) as well as the opportunity to discuss the ethics and reasoning for my lifestyle choice.
Yet again Shambala proves itself to be a beautifully purposeful hedonistic adventure!
And make no mistake, there was PLENTY to get involved in at Shambala 2016. From the annual cross-dressing, and most liberating, ‘Freaky Friday’, to the glorious (despite the rain) Myths vs. Monsters carnival!
Also not to be missed, was a Thriller flash mob, Stand up Paddle Board Yoga on the lake (so gutted I missed out on that one!), Power Ballad yoga, a Sunday morning Meditation at main stage, nipple tassle workshops (they were pretty much the staple accessory this year!), music workshops a-plenty (Sunday morning drumming at the Roots Yard is always our favourite). So whether it’s perusing an art exhibition in a yurt, booking yourself a hot tub at Shambala Springs, or getting yourself a beard trim or a ‘wash no blow’ courtesy of vegan and eco friendly salon Brush, Shambala is just a hub of exciting activities, experiences and opportunities!
…And that really is just the tip of the iceberg! TEXT Oh, and I almost forgot to mention their incredible ‘Grande Finale’. A puppeteer spectacle of lights and music on the lake that was honestly too magical for me to even attempt to explain!
It’s so hard to put into words the awesome experience that is Shambala, there’s nothing quite like it and it’s brought to life by the wild tribe of Shambalians that create the sense of community and love year upon year.
For real though, if I could live in Shambala, I totally would. Until next year…
Have a wonderful weekend guys!
Peace + Love