The Shambhala Music Festival, a staple of the local cultural scene, will now be held a few weeks earlier each year. Photo courtesy Jake Sherman/Shambhala Music Festival

Shambhala organizers move festival date due to wildfire risk in Kootenays

The decision was made following talks with the provincial and regional governments

For the first time, the Shambhala Music Festival will be held in July next year. The electronic music festival, which draws thousands of people each year, said in a news release this week that the move is based on the advice of the province and the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Festival founder Jimmy Bundschuh said they decided to move their dates forward by two weeks given that 2018 marked the worst fire season on record for British Columbia and scientists say climate change means the province’s wildfire season is becoming longer and more explosive.

He said the move will ensure the music festival can deliver the best possible experience for its guests and help the organization plan for the future.

“We stand at the precipice of a new era. That’s not lost on anyone in the Kootenays here in British Columbia. We know the planet is in a period of rapid transition and our date change is just one more reflection of our commitment to our guests and the music community as a whole,” Bundschuh said in a prepared statement. “Our guests’ safety and security is our No. 1 priority.”

The decision comes on the back of an ongoing conversation between the independent music production company, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, and the provincial government.

In 2017, Shambhala was placed on evacuation alert due to a wildfire that came within nine kilometers of the festival grounds. Organizers cancelled the final day line-up and many people left early. However, the festival resumed after significant rainfall and cooler temperatures.

According to the province of BC, who shared statistical information with Shambhala, there is a significantly lower risk of wildfire in July in the Kootenays compared with August, particularly over the last decade.

The Southeast Fire Centre, which monitors and responds to forest fires near Salmo, the site of the annual music festival, says on average over the last 10 years there have been 11 days of high and four days of extreme fire risk every July in the area between the US border and Mica Creek. That’s compared to an average of 16 days of high risk and six of extreme in the same area every year in August.

The numbers published by the province suggest the risk of extreme fire hazard is far lower in July than August, Bundschuh said.

“It’s been an ongoing conversation we’ve had with the regional district and with the province,” said Bundschuh. “We are so grateful for the important work they do and have taken their professional advice to heart.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

CGL workforce will gradually increase to 650 workers by end of May

The pipeline company provided a project update on May 21.

With wildfire season approaching, here are some tips to be ‘FireSmart’ this year

Q & A with Lindsay King, FireSmart Educator for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Most Read