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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Have a heart when it comes to homelessness

When we de-humanize people, it’s easier to be cruel to them, says letter writer

Military police motorcycle relay roars through Nanaimo

National fundraising ride visited Mt. Benson legion en route to Lantzville and Campbell River

Wildfire southwest of Nanaimo now largely under control

Crews have been on the scene since Friday

Island Health warning of spike in overdoses in Nanaimo area

Substance users advised to visit overdose prevention site on Wesley Street in Nanaimo

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 5

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Three screening officers at Vancouver airport test positive for COVID-19

The public is not believed to be at risk of exposure

VIDEO: B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote with head stuck in jar

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Agreement between province, BC Hydro, First Nation, ends legal fight over Site C

B.C. will work to improve land management and restore traditional place names in areas of cultural significance

Investigators still hoping to solve 2015 homicide of Penelakut Island woman

Tips being sought into Penelakut Island woman’s death five years ago

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Most Read