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Shambhala Music Festival and The Festival Babes: A Testament to Safety and Empowerment for All

Written by: Kat Yung

The idea of a “Festival Babe” is a bit of a misnomer.

We are not just babes at festivals. We are women, we are men, we are non-binary people and we come from all walks of life. We may be different in many ways — but one thing that unites us is our love of music. And what better place to share that love than at an electronic music festival?

Shambhala Music Festival is one of the largest electronic music festivals in Canada. It's a 4-day event that draws thousands of people to the small town of Salmo, BC every year. Since 1998, Shambhala Music Festival has been a celebration of music, art and community. With over 25 years of history, it's one of the most iconic festivals in the world, attracting tens of thousands of people from around the world each year.

In recent years, Shambhala has also become known for its commitment to harm reduction and safety for all attendees. This has led to some incredible innovations in harm reduction practices at music festivals across Canada.

For us at The Festival Babes, it’s also a place where we can show our support for empowerment and safety. As a community and as a company, we believe that everyone has the right to feel safe at their events — and to be empowered by them. This is one of many reasons we are excited to be at Shambhala this year.

The festival itself is held on private land, which allows much more freedom to create a curated experience. Furthermore, Shambhala Music Festival has implemented a range of measures to guarantee the well-being of all participants. In this article, we will delve into the precautions taken by Shambhala Music Festival to create a secure environment for its attendees.

Drug Testing

The RAVE Act is a law passed in 2002 that banned any kind of harm reduction at raves in the U.S. While many Americans are currently advocating to change this, due to the passing of this bill, American music festivals could not legally offer supplies, education or any information about drug use. However, in Canada, there’s no RAVE Act. Shambhala is also on private land, which also allows for much more autonomy to curate a safe environment for its guests.

ANKORS is an organization that has been serving the Kootenays for over two decades and is always an important presence at Shambhala Music Festival. They provide complimentary, judgment-free drug testing, harm reduction supplies, services and information about safer sex and partying.

Safe Sex Services

The festival has many volunteers through ANKORS that provide harm reduction supplies and services, such as free drug testing and condoms, free sexual health testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea (for those who are sexually active), and information about safer sex and partying.

Furthermore, Options is Canada’s largest non-profit provider of sexual health services, and are on site 24/7 to provide free condoms and safe sex supplies.

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary, located amidst a serene grove of old-growth trees adjacent to the Medical Services area, embodies the spirit of Shambhalove as a tranquil and secure refuge. It is a judgment-free environment where individuals can find a safe and quiet place throughout the festival to relax or unwind. Whether you're experiencing stress, overwhelm, isolation, discomfort from the weather, or simply yearn for a peaceful moment, the Sanctuary is the spot for you.

Safe Space for Women and All Individuals

In recent years, Shambhala Music Festival has also expanded the mandate of the previous Women's Safe Space to encompass individuals of any gender or non-binary identity within the community.

Measures are put in place to emphasize the importance of consent and fostering healthy communication, as well as crisis support services and post-festival resources.

We're so excited to bring The Festival Babes to Shambhala Music Festival this year! While we started out as a female-focused group, we know how important it is for all festival attendees to feel safe and supported, and Shambhala is the perfect embodiment of our mission.

Follow our journey to Shambhala on our Instagram here.


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