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.”

Just Posted

Here’s why you may not have seen many federal election signs in Surrey

Earlier this year, Surrey council banned election signs on public property, highways

‘Jail’ time for Surrey business and community leaders in Crime Stoppers fundraiser

Metro Vancouver organization to host Jail & Bail event Friday at Central City’s outdoor plaza

Charges dropped against officer who shot and killed Hudson Brooks in South Surrey

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

Police, volunteers to deliver South Surrey students’ road-safety messages

Elementary designs aim to remind drivers to slow down, pay attention on the road

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Rainbow crosswalk coming to Chilliwack school district parking lot

Fractious debate at school board meeting ends with 4-3 vote

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Woman held at gunpoint during carjacking in UBC parkade

University RCMP say the vehicle is still missing, and two suspects are at large

Most Read