Updated: Aug 16
By: Jackie Yencik
If you’re attending (or considering attending) the incredible Shambhala Music Festival in BC, Canada, it’s more than likely that you’ve already spent a good bit of time contemplating the best way to get there.
While planes certainly offer a swift and direct route; after The Festival Babes attended our first Shambhala this year in a Sandy Vans Luxury Sprinter Van Conversion, we can say with full confidence that van life is by far the best way to experience Shambhala!
What are Sandy Vans?
If you’re new to the van life scene, Sandy Vans is about as good as it gets when it comes to sprinter van conversions. Their cutting-edge builds and sharp attention to detail showcase their unique and luxurious approach to life on the road. If you can dream it, they can build it!
But talent and craftsmanship aside, we chose to travel to Shambhala in a Sandy Van because we felt that SV’s values perfectly aligned with those of Shambhala’s – they both pride themselves on breathing life into beautiful spaces where artists, creators, and adventurous spirits converge.
“This is the essence of Sandy Vans - where passion, creativity, and exploration aren't merely encouraged, they're celebrated.” – Sandy Vans Team
We knew based on these principles alone, that Sandy Vans was the perfect team to handle the custom van build for our journey to Shambhala (A.K.A. - one of the most loving, creative, celebrated, and well-respected music festivals in North America).
The Journey to Shambhala
Nestled among the Selkirk Mountains in one of the most beautiful parts of British Columbia, Shambhala (Shambs) is a festival you are absolutely going to want to drive to. We began our journey in San Diego, driving up the stunning California coast on US Highway 101 and continuing on to make some picturesque lunch stops in both Oregon and Washington.
Sitting tall at a height of 67.7 inches, the views from our Sandy Van Sprinter were unparalleled. Imagine having front row seats to crystal clear waters, breathtaking mountain ranges, and incredible rock formations. If you’re lucky like we were, you may even stumble upon some exciting wildlife during your drive to Shambs, especially as you near Salmo in British Columbia.
Another favorite part of The Festival Babes’ Shambhala Van Experience? The ability to work comfortably along our journey! The SV Signature Layout is known for its spacious interior with plenty of living (and working) space. Our team loved being able to pull over in some of the most beautiful locations along the way to Shambhala to answer emails, DMs, and phone calls all from the comfort and safety of our Sandy Van – a huge win for hardworking digital nomads that can’t quite take the full week off from work to get to Shambs!
Entering Shambhala: Less Waiting, More Cooking
Shambhala is notorious for their long wait times and thorough security checks when first arriving onto the festival grounds – a very small price to pay to guarantee your utmost safety during the most incredible weekend of your life (we promise!) Before entering the festival grounds, we recommend stopping at a local Canadian grocery store to stock up on your favorite foods so that you can do less waiting, and more cooking!
Our Sandy Van came equipped with a surprisingly roomy half-sized refrigerator, dual-burner propane stovetop, a dining table, benches, a large kitchen prep area, a sink with a 20 gallon tank, and plenty of space for food storage. The wait to enter the festival flew by as we used the time to put away our groceries, wash and cut our fruits and veggies, and prepare ourselves a delicious pre-festival snack.
No sooner had we started washing the dishes in our Sandy Van’s sink than did the security officials start waving us forward to enter the festival! Thank you Sandy Vans!!!
Comfort is Key: Camping at Shambhala
We arrived at our campsite just before sundown. Situated picture-perfectly in a grassy valley surrounded by mountains with dense green vegetation, Shambhala’s campsites are, hands down, the most beautiful festival campsites we’ve ever seen.
Because our Sandy Van came equipped with internal overhead lighting fueled by a combination of solar and diesel, instead of stressing out over setting up camp before dark (as most do), we were able to climb on top of our Sandy Van to leisurely unwind by enjoying an unobstructed view of the sunset.
After sundown, we were able to use our power switch to turn on our van lights, play our music, plug in our phones, and set up our Festival Babes Van Life paradise. Complete with all the makings of a luxuriously comfortable festival glamping experience, our Sandy Van setup included a memory foam mattress topper, fuzzy blankets and pillows, string lights, tapestries, a galaxy ceiling projector, and squishmallows (of course!).
New Festival Friendships: Unlocked
After setting up camp, it was time to socialize and make new friends. As it turns out, attending Shambhala in a souped up, show-stopping luxury Sandy Van sprinter will expedite your friend-making experience by leaving your neighbors with no shortage of intricate van life questions!
It should be noted that Shambhala is by far the friendliest festival we’ve ever attended; so it came as no surprise when letting others tour our SV layout quickly led to new connections, memorable conversations, and everlasting friendships!
Beating The Heat At Shambhala
While nighttime at Shambhala is fairly cool, the days are known to be exceptionally hot (be sure to pack correctly!). Luckily, the beautiful Salmo River runs directly through the festival grounds and offers festival-goers the chance for a refreshing ice cold dip as temperatures climb throughout the bright & sunny afternoons.
However, back at camp, the heat can make typical tasks such as getting dressed, putting on makeup, preparing food, sleeping in, or taking a power nap pretty difficult. Luckily for us, our Sandy Van offered the luxuries of shade and air conditioning, which made our afternoons extremely enjoyable and leisurely. We were also able to keep our waters and gatorades chilled in the van refrigerator which was a HUGE plus when it came to staying cool & hydrated.
25th Annual Shambhala Music Festival
Shambhala is truly a magical place, and if there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss, it's traveling to BC next year for the celebration of the 25th Annual Shambhala Music Festival!
Just make sure you do it right by traveling there in a Sandy Vans Sprinter Van Conversion.
SEE YOU BABES ON THE FARM!