Published Aug 12, 2013If you've ever wondered what summer camp for adults might look like, you've clearly never been to Shambhala Music Festival. It's hard to tell if the festivalgoers are in it for the music, the costumes, the overall party or the drugs.
There's no doubt that when you take neon costumes, state of the art sound systems, laser and light shows, and some of the world's best electronic music, that the party will go on all night long, but for those who didn't take the experience to the next level with MDMA, cocaine, mushrooms or ecstasy, it was hard to stay up all night to enjoy the music.
The festival — now in its 16th year — hosted hundreds of musical acts on seven stages, which included one new stage, the Nebula, and a revamped Rock Pit stage now known as the Amphitheatre.
One of the event's most anticipated DJs, Opiuo, played the Amphitheatre on Saturday morning. The Australian DJ — known as one of the kings of glitch-hop — bolstered tracks such as "Come Into My Head" with live musicians including a trombone player, guitarist and even an MC. Opiuo's energy was contagious, and the crowd bounced and danced along with him, but it was hard at times to keep focused on him amongst the distracting onstage dancers.
Boulder, CO's Big Gigantic combined the drums of Jeremy Salken and saxophone of the duo's producer, Dominic Lalli. When they played the Pagoda on Sunday morning, it was hard to know how the saxophone would pair with their hip-hop-, jazz- and electronic-flavoured sound, but when they launched into a remix of Macklemore's "Can't Hold Us," the mix of live and canned music had dancers rushing to the stage from the nearby food vendors.
While the organizers have kept the focus on electronic music, those needing relief from the throbbing bass found it at the Amphitheatre, with sets by bands like Shred Kelly, Vancouver's Big John Bates and People Under the Stairs (pictured).
There was a lot of anticipation for the latter, but the L.A. hip-hop group's set seemed to fall flat. The duo — Thes One and Double K — performed singles like "Trippin' at the Disco," but the songs seemed out of sync and unprepared.
While most attendees had gone to bed to prepare for the long journey out of the festival grounds, a few stages stayed open on Monday morning for ceremonial stage closings. The bass echoed throughout the valley as exhausted festivalgoers began to file out and head home.