Dates: 22nd - 25th August 2019
Location: Secret Northamptonshire address (revealed to ticket buyers)
Shambala, possibly the greenest festival out there, has a staggering amount of entertainment for its relatively small size, across 12 live stages and a smattering of smaller venues. Their environmental ethos is truly encouraging and spreads beyond just recycling and green energy sources; it is a discussion point and educational element throughout the entire event. The creators were “dreamers, thinkers, artists, radicals and romanticists” – and their festival draws the same.
In 1999, a group of friends with a strong eco conscience and a desire to create a party that encompassed fun, beauty, open-mindedness, learning and insight got together and dreamed up Shambala. They started off as a party of 150 in a field and grew to around 7000 – whilst still remaining non-commercial and providing a very personal, family-friendly feel to the show – with a bit of a wild side intact.
It has been described as being “so much more than a monumental party. It’s a haven, a think-tank, a happening – all infused with a heartfelt, purposeful hedonism.” Chris, the inspirational chap who organises the event, works tirelessly towards the goal of a totally sustainable festival where almost 100% of waste is recycled – biodiesel is used throughout, and in 2016 they are even going vegetarian.
The music is as diverse as the workshops, comedy shows, talks, poetry, films, acrobatics and circus performances that all play a role in the weekend. They are known to keep their line-ups under wraps to keep gate-crashers under control; so often their tickets are sold on reputation alone, which is a real testament in itself. The sounds might range from Rock to Pop, Folk and World Music – with lots to fill in the gaps. The numerous stages and venues are all fantastically well decorated and planned out, and you’ll find a refreshing mix of well-known and new artists.
The festival also prides itself in its theatrical presentations – with three main venues on offer for your thespian requirements; The Play House, The Compass Presents Tent and The Social Club will host a number of shows for children and adults throughout the long weekend. Fancy dress is strongly urged – particularly on the Saturday night – self-expression and creativity are vital components of the festival’s ethos.
Their attention to children’s fun has won them prizes – that go nicely with their eco awards – and every year it gets better and better. They have a special Family Camping Field so your little ones don’t have to be woken by all-night revelers. There are masses of activities and adventures for them to join in on – face painting and sand pits, bush camp craft and the Enchanted Woods – are just a few of many.
As we mentioned earlier, this year the festival has set itself the challenge of going vegetarian, as part of their environmental awareness campaign. That doesn’t mean, however, that the cuisine won’t be totally delicious – food from around the world (some parts are well practiced in the art of forgoing meat in their culinary triumphs) will be on offer. And whilst there’ll be no sausage sandwiches, you might be lucky enough to find some experimental insect dishes…
Kelmarsh Hall has been the setting of festival for years – though they do not publish confirmation of the venue until much closer to the date – and then only to ticketholders. Nevertheless, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be a splendid site, and probably one best enjoyed with a spot of boutique camping. Glamping at any festival is an affordable treat that is always worth it.