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Shambala Music Festival set to go on in July, for now

One of B.C.'s longest running music festivals isn't throwing in the towel just yet
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Shambhala's Pagoda Stage in 2019. Photo: Shambhala/Don Idio Visuals

By Nicholas Johansen

One of B.C.'s longest running music festivals isn't throwing in the towel just yet.

Gatherings of more than 50 people are currently banned in the province in an effort to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, which has led to the cancellation of events both big and small.

On Monday, Shambhala Music Festival announced that this year's event, scheduled to run from July 24-27 in Salmo, has not been officially cancelled, yet.

“On the advice of the public health authorities, we continue to actively monitor the developing situation and cautiously prepare our festival operations for the summer – however, we are aware that the future and aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown at this time,” festival organizers said in a statement.

“Although we currently have the green light to continue with planning, we want to make sure that our guests are prepared in the event that the COVID-19 situation escalates. These are unprecedented times and we would never move forward if it was deemed not safe to do so.”

The announcement comes just a couple days after Burning Man, held annually in the Nevada desert since 1986, announced it would be cancelling its 2020 event, which was set to begin in late August. 

Shambhala has been held at a 500-acre Kootenays' farm since 1998, slowly growing into one of the world's premiere electronic music festival, attracting top acts, both local and international. This year is set to showcase DJ Premier, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Rezz, Tycho and What So Not, among many others. 

In its statement, Shambhala said in the event of a cancellation this year, ticket holders would be able to use their tickets at one of the next three years' events.

“Know that we’re here with you, and whether it is this July or at a later date—in time, we will all find ourselves dancing and embracing one another at the Salmo River Ranch once again.”

Shambhala saw a brief cancellation mid-festival in 2017, due to an encroaching wildfire, but overnight rains on the Saturday brought the party back to life on the Sunday. 

This year's date were actually pushed forward into July, from August, in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires. 

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