Shambhala Music Festival
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27-07-2012, 04:50 PM
RE: Shambhala Music Festival
I have no idea why I wrote 8 years there, I know better than that. Must have been multitasking. Poorly. I'm happy for some input from people who know what they are talking about. I'm always hesitant to tell someone they are wrong when I'm not 100% sure of the facts either. I am cognisant of the safety measures and protocols of the festival, but wasn't wholly aware if its entire history. I think the simple lack of the most dangerous drug, alcohol, makes Sham safer than a majority of festivals.

I've honestly heard nothing but good things from the dozens of people I know who have been going to Sham for years, some of whom have even played there. My girlfriend calls Sham home, as in "I can't wait to go home this year." She practically lives on the Sham forums. You guys probably know her if you frequent them lol. I was somewhat hesitant about going, but the closer it gets, the more excited I am.

I don't know how many times I've seen the Shambhala documentary in the last year. It is a brilliant piece of work. Maybe I can be in one in the future, I'm really good at climbing trees Smile

I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.
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27-07-2012, 05:59 PM
RE: Shambhala Music Festival
(27-07-2012 02:10 PM)britzbitz Wrote:  
(26-07-2012 10:35 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  When I hear the word shambhala all I can picture are people crazed on meth, and now I picture on bath salts.

I probably have an overactive imagination and I do have a fear of large crowds, so maybe it's just me, but stay safe! Smile

I'm curious - why do you picture that? What aspect of a music festival creates that picture in your mind?

Hi. I'd be happy to let you know what makes me feel this way, or at least what I think does. Smile

I have dozens of friends who have attended shambhala not only once, but several years. I have also heard of the great time they've had and that they love it.

I am not saying I think the place should be boycott and I'm not saying I'd never go to check it out. However if I did, I can't help but think I would be a bit fearful for my safety.

I have worked as a volunteer at live festival events around western Canada before. Similar in nature to Shambhala, but of course none as big. I love live music and I love the ambiance of a good festival. I have, however, seen things happen at festivals that don't go reported. I have seen violence, I've seen people so high out of their minds (and when I talk about drugs here in the reply, I don't mean pot- that drug should be legal IMO, but that's another conversation somewhere here on TTA forums) that they need medical attention, they are just given water and the friends asked to monitor them. It goes with the music festival culture. I appreciate the laid back attitude, but in some cases it seems a little too laid back. Yes, these things are a societal problem, but I have been many places in society and not seen things this concentrated in a weekend.

Those friends I talked about, pretty well every single one of them have done drugs at Shambhala when they go. Mushrooms and ecstasy mostly, but they've been offered meth as well.

I also have heard of two scenarios that are common at this festival, more than go reported. These are the ones that make me cringe a bit. Overdosing is a big one, and rape is the other. Most of it is unreported because people are embarrassed and feel they brought it on themselves for being in an inebriated state. A simple article on the subject. I have heard of friends and friends of friends who have been assaulted and worse. Horrible stories that are secrets. Anytime this stuff comes in the open or media, it seems shut down and minimized, too. I have heard enough to form a personal opinion, it may not be everyones and it may just be based on heresay. I am fine with that, it's not something I vie for or live for anyway.

Also, many people I know have gone there to try the harsher drugs for the first time because they feel it is safe and they won't be bothered by police. I know you say there are hired law enforcement, I am betting that is for crowd control, but that's my assumption. Shambhala has been around since I was in high school, and this is where a lot of people from my school would go in the summer to do just this. Also, many youth I worked with over the years have made these comments. A few have said it's changed their life. Well it did, two I know who began taking ecstasy on weekends regularly, chasing their first shambhala high. Not saying this wouldn't happen somewhere else for them or there aren't other factors, but it appears to me to be a breeding ground for the activity.

I know there is a documentary that is the official documentary for Shamhala and that's not the one I had in mind in my off hand comment. It was more like a dateline special I saw, but I can't remember exactly what (was awhile ago, may not have been dateline but something like it). It was what was on TV at the time, and it was a special on meth and where people go to do it. Shamhala was a part in it for a man they were showing a case study of. I could try to find out, but really I am not that interested, if someone really cared that much they could look. I retract my statement about a few deaths- that was hasty-, but I could of sworn I heard about at least one overdose. I can't find anything on it now, though. Maybe that was another festival I heard of, but I am nearly sure I had it right because my ears tune into Shambhala when it's mentioned since it's a topic that comes up every summer since I was younger.

My bath salts comment came from the rumour of a similar BC festival, earlier this summer, where a man was found murdered. Not sure if it's a rumour that bath salts were involved, but that is what I've heard that the police have discovered after investigating. I just think it's a drug that is going to get out of hand and rear its ugly head, and a festival in this nature would be a place it may happen- people trying something for the first time in a relaxed environment.

I think festivals make money, Shambhala makes millions. It's important to keep a clean and straight record with no problems.

I am not saying everyone that goes is in it for this, and I am sure there is a majority healthy crowd. I've just formed an intuitive feeling and impression based on what I hear from other people who have gone, is all. Maybe it's unrealistic, but like I said, it's what I picture and I may have an over active imagination. Just me Smile
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27-07-2012, 08:05 PM
RE: Shambhala Music Festival
I don't think any of the concerns you are raising are an issue with the festival per se, but more a question of population dynamics. In any population of thousands of people, there are going to be problems. Think of it as a large town. Towns have administrators and enforcers as well. Does this prevent all crime? Of course not. The best you can hope for is a minimization of crime and harm. I'd be willing to wager the crime rate of Shambhala over 5 days is lower, or at least comparable, to any town with that many people in it. As britz alluded to earlier, drug use or experimentation are not unique to festivals. Neither are assaults, rapes, murder, suicides and general asinine behavior. I'm from a town that contained between 6 and 7 thousand people when I left. The police report after a weekend was consistently shocking. I've personally known people who have been beaten nearly to death, raped, hospitalized with ods or alcohol poisoning, killed in drinking related car accidents and jailed for any and more of the above examples. That isn't heresay, that is your average weekend in any city or town. I don't think the average person should fear for their safety any more at a music festival than they should simply living in any population center. Or going clubbing. I'd have to say again, alcohol is a far more dangerous drug than any of the others you brought up, outside of meth.

From what I can gather, the organizers of Shambhala do a damn good job of minimizing the harm and danger to the thousands that attend their festival. Can they prevent all problems? No more than any city can completely eliminate crime.

I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.
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27-07-2012, 08:41 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2012 08:45 PM by britzbitz.)
RE: Shambhala Music Festival
(27-07-2012 05:59 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  
(27-07-2012 02:10 PM)britzbitz Wrote:  I'm curious - why do you picture that? What aspect of a music festival creates that picture in your mind?

Hi. I'd be happy to let you know what makes me feel this way, or at least what I think does. Smile

I have dozens of friends who have attended shambhala not only once, but several years. I have also heard of the great time they've had and that they love it.

I am not saying I think the place should be boycott and I'm not saying I'd never go to check it out. However if I did, I can't help but think I would be a bit fearful for my safety.

I stand by my statement - Shambhala is one of the safest festivals you can go to. We have health & safety programs in place that I've never seen at ANY other event, electronic music focust or otherwise.

One of our internal mottos is "We care about people" - we design a lot of our safety programs around that.

That being said, there's that old saying - "You can lead a horse to water..."
We have lots of support & services available, but you can't necessarily make people use them. Although lots of people do.

So at what point is the festival at fault, and at what point is someone just not seeking the help they may need?

Quote:I have worked as a volunteer at live festival events around western Canada before. Similar in nature to Shambhala, but of course none as big. I love live music and I love the ambiance of a good festival. I have, however, seen things happen at festivals that don't go reported. I have seen violence, I've seen people so high out of their minds (and when I talk about drugs here in the reply, I don't mean pot- that drug should be legal IMO, but that's another conversation somewhere here on TTA forums) that they need medical attention, they are just given water and the friends asked to monitor them. It goes with the music festival culture. I appreciate the laid back attitude, but in some cases it seems a little too laid back. Yes, these things are a societal problem, but I have been many places in society and not seen things this concentrated in a weekend.

I've seen all that too. It happens at lots of events. It's unfortunate, but people make the choices they are going to make.

We, as event organizers, can only do our best to make sure they have the support & services they need when the worst case scenario comes about.

As I mentioned, we also have Harm Reduction services available. Which many people mistake as being "okay with drugs", or condoning them, but that is not the case at all. It is empowering people to make informed decisions - giving them the facts, which is a major component that is lacking in drug education in North America. The results are incredible - there are many people who opt not to do a certain drug they may have been planning to do, based on what they learn. Prevention through education. It's powerful.

Quote:Those friends I talked about, pretty well every single one of them have done drugs at Shambhala when they go. Mushrooms and ecstasy mostly, but they've been offered meth as well.

Your friends don't account for the entire population. We're talking about an event with a population of 13,000 people (10k tickets sold, plus support crew). There are a lot of people, myself included, who attend sober, and have for many years. Sure, I was offered meth ONCE at Shambhala. 8 years ago. I've been going for 10. In that time it's only happened once. But so what? You say no, and go on your merry way.

I think meth is a horrible drug, but I'm not going to let someone who represents a minimal part of the overall festival population ruin the festival for me because they offered me a crappy drug.

Quote:I also have heard of two scenarios that are common at this festival, more than go reported. These are the ones that make me cringe a bit. Overdosing is a big one, and rape is the other. Most of it is unreported because people are embarrassed and feel they brought it on themselves for being in an inebriated state. A simple article on the subject. I have heard of friends and friends of friends who have been assaulted and worse. Horrible stories that are secrets. Anytime this stuff comes in the open or media, it seems shut down and minimized, too. I have heard enough to form a personal opinion, it may not be everyones and it may just be based on heresay. I am fine with that, it's not something I vie for or live for anyway.

"Overdosing" is not as common as people think it is. I'm not going to say there have not been close calls, and there have not been people we were not seriously worried about when they come to First Aid - but most of what people mistake as overdoses are dehydration, and bad/dangerous combinations of drugs (as opposed to doing too much of one drug). I've written more about first aid incidents further below....

Rape.... let's talk about Rape. Rape happens everywhere. I was raped when I was 18, intoxicated, in my own home, by a friend (it's usually someone you know, apparently) on a Tuesday night. Supposedly, 1 in 5 women has been raped. That's a pretty damn high statistic. This is not an issue with any one venue/festival - this can literally happen ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. I have a girlfriend who was jumped walking through a park at night when she was in high school. The issue with rape is men's attitudes towards it, that it's somehow ok.

That being said, we do whatever we can to discourage this horrible behaviour. We have a Women's Safe Space in our Health & Well-Being Zone, where only women can go (sometimes if something traumatic happens, even with a boyfriend, the last person a woman wants to talk to is a big beefy security guard). We also have "NO means NO" posters in many of the port-o-potties, explaining that if one or both parties is intoxicated, it is *always* rape (consent when you are intoxicated doesn't count, technically speaking). We've introduced that program in the past couple years, and people have been very appreciative about it - we got very positive feedback.

I think it's interesting that you quote THAT article/blog/whatever it is. It's the most extremest piece of garbage I've ever read about Shambhala.

The person who wrote it has never even been to the festival. Anyone can find horror stories about something they blindly hate. There is nothing about his "article" that is founded in facts.

The police report he links is actually poorly reported on, but it's also a low-budget online paper that I think wasn't paying it's reporters at the time. They just reprinted whatever was sent to them, where as The Nelson Star actually follows up with questions.

For example "Police made 101 drug seizures including: cocaine; hashish; psilocybin; ecstasy; LSD; marijuana; heroin; methamphetamine; GHB; ketamine and various prescription pills." - What they don't mention is that the bulk of those seizures were marijuana. The one the RCMP put out last year (2011) noted 96 marijuana charges to 5 MDMA charges, and even fewer charges of other illegal substances. The largest offence they encountered in 2011? 157 tickets - for speeding.

Quote:Also, many people I know have gone there to try the harsher drugs for the first time because they feel it is safe and they won't be bothered by police. I know you say there are hired law enforcement, I am betting that is for crowd control, but that's my assumption.

We do have a policy of non-judgement, and education. We are not there to tell people what they can and can't do - chances are they're going to do whatever they're going to do anyway.

But that does not mean that we condone use of illegal substances. There is a very big difference.

As for security, you wouldn't be correct in assuming they are primarily for crowd control. That's actually the most minimal of their duties (mainly because our crowd doesn't cause a lot of problems. We have a .02% violent incident rate, and a .08% medical incident rate - those are very low for an event of 10,000 attendees).

One of the biggest jobs they have is Seaches & seizures on the way in. They also deal with usually at least 200 attempted sneak-ins each year, and bust & evict drug dealers. There is an undercover security team, as well as an investigations team that focus just on the last once. We work in with the RCMP and hand those matters over to them after we get them into custody.

Quote:Shambhala has been around since I was in high school, and this is where a lot of people from my school would go in the summer to do just this. Also, many youth I worked with over the years have made these comments. A few have said it's changed their life. Well it did, two I know who began taking ecstasy on weekends regularly, chasing their first shambhala high. Not saying this wouldn't happen somewhere else for them or there aren't other factors, but it appears to me to be a breeding ground for the activity.

Shambhala did change my life. Profoundly, in a positive way. And the same can be said for hundreds of people I know personally.

If Shambhala is a breeding ground for anything, it is self-discovery, acceptance and creativity. I have seen this, first-hand, for 10 years.

Quote:I know there is a documentary that is the official documentary for Shamhala and that's not the one I had in mind in my off hand comment. It was more like a dateline special I saw, but I can't remember exactly what (was awhile ago, may not have been dateline but something like it). It was what was on TV at the time, and it was a special on meth and where people go to do it. Shamhala was a part in it for a man they were showing a case study of. I could try to find out, but really I am not that interested, if someone really cared that much they could look.

I feel like you may be blending 2 dateline docs in your head - I do know that Owen Rooney, an Australian man who went missing after Shambhala 2010 was on a dateline special on missing persons. There was speculation that he was paranoid from doing drugs. He got beat up in Christina Lake, and dropped off at the Grand Forks hospital. IHA "lost him" after doing a brain scan - he just wandered off, never to be seen again. Even though we were cooperative with CBC for that, they were determined to paint us in a negative light - better story I guess? The irony is that Rooney's family are completely lovely - they don't blame the festival at all, and are grateful for every effort we made to help them in the search of their son.

If what you saw was something different, I haven't heard about it. But meth is a much bigger problem even in some of the small towns around here than it is at the festival.

Quote: I retract my statement about a few deaths- that was hasty-, but I could of sworn I heard about at least one overdose. I can't find anything on it now, though. Maybe that was another festival I heard of, but I am nearly sure I had it right because my ears tune into Shambhala when it's mentioned since it's a topic that comes up every summer since I was younger.

Do we have drug-related visits to first aid? Yes. Certainly. But there aren't as many as some people seem to think. As I mentioned, we have a .08% medical incident rate (that's 104 out of 13,000 people, over 6 days). That's directly from the first aid stats. Of course, those are medium to more serious visits, not all of them drug related (we see a fair number of sprains, breaks, allergies as well).

But at First Aid, the bulk of what we see are actually quite minor - #1 being dehydration / heat exhaustion from people being out in the sun too long, and #2 being bumps, scrapes and bruises - tiny things that just need a bandaid.

Last year there were 6 ambulance calls over 6 days. The BC Senior games happened in Nelson 2 weeks after Shambhala. There were 14 ambulance calls over 3 days. Completely different, I know - but just to put things in perspective.

Quote:My bath salts comment came from the rumour of a similar BC festival, earlier this summer, where a man was found murdered. Not sure if it's a rumour that bath salts were involved, but that is what I've heard that the police have discovered after investigating. I just think it's a drug that is going to get out of hand and rear its ugly head, and a festival in this nature would be a place it may happen- people trying something for the first time in a relaxed environment.

...I take issue with people (the media) pointing to bath salts whenever there is some weird random shit that happens these days. Yes - bath salts are a terrible drug. But whats been going on with that in the media lately is fear mongering - nothing more, nothing less. The toxicology report on the "zombie guy" actually came back with only marijuana in his system. Which seems bizarre to me, but maybe it was really a mental health issue, and it was simply easier for mass media to blame a drug - our culture has serious issues with understanding mental health. Our culture also has issue with finding compassion for people who suffer from mental health issues - surely it's their own fault!

But that's beside the point. The point is, falsely, much of the public now thinks that, plain and simple, bath salts turns you into a zombie.

Reefer madness anyone? It's just newer propaganda.

Similar to the zombie case, there is absolutely no evidence that the tragedy at Entheos had anything to do with bath salts. But it only takes one RCMP officer to even breathe that it might have been for the public to go around trumpeting it as truth.

...on the bright side -

Bath salts are a shitty drug considering everything I've read / heard about them. And perhaps the misinformation will work to an advantage in this case, even though it IS misinformation. Who wants to turn into a zombie?? I can't see people intentionally trying it, at Shambhala or anywhere else, simply based on the press it's gotten.

Quote:I think festivals make money, Shambhala makes millions. It's important to keep a clean and straight record with no problems.

Festivals make money? Hahaha. If people knew how small our profit margins are, they'd wonder why we do it. Think we're insane. Haha. Smile

We SPEND millions to produce a safe, fun, cutting-edge event. Without sponsors, which is very unusual in the world of festivals and events. Our festival actually costs more to produce than we make on ticket sales - if it weren't for revenue during the festival, we would have gone under a long time ago.

Quote:I am not saying everyone that goes is in it for this, and I am sure there is a majority healthy crowd. I've just formed an intuitive feeling and impression based on what I hear from other people who have gone, is all. Maybe it's unrealistic, but like I said, it's what I picture and I may have an over active imagination. Just me Smile

That makes me sad. Really sad. It just sucks that you've been exposed to so much of the negative.... because truly, that's like.... the bottom 1% of what happens.

There is so much beauty, and light and positivity. By the time the festival ends, my face hurts from smiling so much. But I guess if you're not physically at the festival, you just can't see to what extent the light outweighs the dark....
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01-08-2012, 12:49 AM
RE: Shambhala Music Festival
I was at a music festival in my hometown this weekend. I polled a lot of people there who have been to shambhala and loved or did not love it, people who really want to go but haven't and people who have heard of it but don't want to go. I asked "What is the first couple things that come to your mind when I mention Shambhala music festival?" Every person said drugs. When I asked what they meant, ecstasy was the unanimous answer. I always tried to ask in a general way, never leading my own thoughts or feelings. When people started to talk about it, it sounded how I pictured, kind of an organized crazy place. Many said they did love it, though.

The opinion of people I know in real life is held a little higher than someone I talked to twice on the internet, just to say.

I do wish you both, and whoever is going, tons of fun though! Sincerely. Stay safe Wink Please report back how it all went this year. Smile
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