‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ said Alice ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the cat. ‘We are all mad here.’
My first time experience of Shambhala was honestly like a live version of being in Alice in Wonderland.
I felt like the little-lost girl just trying to find her home. Completely afraid of my surroundings, it was very hard to take it the magical aurora floating in the air. We also did roll in a little late on Friday with lack of nutrition and sleep which had everyone a little more on the tense side.
We set up camp and had a quick dinner before heading out to some festivities.
That definitely made me feel a little better and capable of tackling this crowd.
For those of you who are unaware, I suffer from anxiety and claustrophobia,so a majority of my friends were baffled when they found out I was going to this festival.
You’re so out of place??
How are you going to survive?
Well, it was tough at times I’m not going to lie, That is definitely not my scenery anymore or a lifestyle that I live anymore.
I don’t party, I rarely drink,, I don’t do drugs other than smoking a little marijuana every now and then to help with my anxiety and without that, I probably would not have survived that weekend!
For the past 3 years my boyfriends sister has been invited to this festival by one of our favorite DJ’s, DJ-Z-Trip.
She has been a super-fan since day 1 and has supported him in any possible way she can so in return he has given thanks with giving her the experience of the festival through artist passes, this year my boyfriend and i got to be apart of it. Also this year was special as she had the opportunity to create Z-Trips Crew shirts, only a few were made and we were lucky enough to be part of that as well.
The Legend Has So far 2 spirit animals that come out during different sets played at certain stages.
Team Wolf- The Village
Team Elphnt- Fractal Forest
Last year z-trip performed a miracle at the village,Dustin and i wished we could have experienced it live, luckily it can be heard here.
We were excited in hopes to see the 2 performances like had happened the previous year but z is a busy guy and only had time for one performance this year which was in the fractal Forest but we still rocked team wolf 😉
We got to hang out on stage and dance up a storm during his set and snapped this group photo!
The costumes and totems that people put together are absolutely UNREAL. I can’t believe some of them and couldn’t even begin to imagine how much time people put into them, it was inspiring.
Everyone’s having a great time, there is absolutely no judgment, you are free. From bunny onesies to giant robots to electro light helmets down to the flashing lights on the totems, the extraordinary signs it was imaginative.
The all-around love was just ..wow. Seriously no words. You hear about the sham love but never will get a grasp of it until you truly experience it for yourself. On the day we rolled up we were lacking some brain power and really had no idea what to do without camp area, we asked this group that seemed to have a legit set up if we could use part of their canopy to tie our tarp too, absolutely ..not a problem.. We struggled and realized it wasn’t going to work out the way we thought and were giving up, they came out just full of life like ‘ Lets Help ! what can we do to help ! an completely took over trying their best to make our camp area comfortable.
My heart at that moment, just felt filled, i felt i was in a place of love and purity.
For the remainder of the weekend these ladies were wonderful and fascinating!
They Where go-go dancers for the stages and I was able to catch a few of their looks and performances and grew mad appreciation and respect. To do what they do and make it look as simple as they do shows how professional they truly were.
The Rezz followed by Malaa performance was mind blowing, not knowing what was coming next and not thinking it could get any better, it did over and over again. we had tried to make our way to the main stage to watch Rezz’z performance well, that was also the plan of like 10 thousand people if not more. At one point you could not move, you had people leaving from the previous performance and people trying to get in for the biggest headliner of the festival.
People started to just PUSH… there was nowhere to go but into more and more people, I could feel my heart starting to beat through my chest but at the same time as if someone was pressing down on my chest with all their strength, my knees began to weaken while my breaths shortening,there was no way I could go any further I felt as if I was going to faint at that moment until I heard the words of my boyfriend … let’s get out of here. we squirmed our way out and had to watch a little out of the entrance.
Luckily the festival was filled with PK sound, so hearing anything was no problem.
After Rezz people poured out of the pagoda stage (why i don’t know)
But there was more room for us to actually get up to the stage and have more of a personal space to dance and enjoy Malaa.
Malaa absolutely killed it, it was our first time watching a house performance and Malaa at that, hearing his music through your speakers at home is not the same after watching this performance, life-changing for sure and i am really happy I was able to experience it!
On Sunday there was a Funk Jam in the fractal forest, playing nothing but old school funk from 2 pm to 7 pm, the vibe was magical, it was just like one giant house party with everyone having a great time feeling the vibes and dancing, we managed to get back up on stage and have a few drinks and dance with with the DJ’s who where also up there.
It was so much fun and to experience the music from their angle is something else. To watch the crowds faces and movements as they appreciate the music.
I loved to watch the hands in motion as the music is made and just being surrounded by all those people who live for this, it’s beautiful and magical
It was a weekend of stepping out of my comfort zone, however, again this type of this is just not my scenery of lifestyle. How does one survive Shambhala with anxiety?
Don’t Drink- Shambhala is actually a booze-free event with a happy hour in the artist lounge. You can, however, risk hiding your booze throughout the car and pray they don’t find it at the checkpoint. As drinking can make one with anxiety feel free for the time being, it will actually harm your mind later on. When the booze wears off it lingers in your system and can leave you with a foggy unclear mind allowing the anxiety to seem more extreme when it doesn’t need to be. I waited until the day before we left to have a few drinks and luckily enough to just have a good vibe going with no hangovers but still could feel a strain in my brain and could only imagine what i would have been like if i drank during the whole 3 days.
Don’t Do Drugs-i actually got asked by someone why I even went if I didn’t do any drugs…
Well simply because I love and the music.
I have had my share days of doing these drugs and I just know they are not what’s best for me.
A lot of my anxiety comes from years of consumption and I have worked very hard to better myself. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression .. do .. not .. do … these. festival drugs!
Ecstasy can affect the release of a hormone called serotonin( a hormone and neurotransmitter that influences your feelings ). Suffering from depression or anxiety your body has a low level of serotonin so after taking the ecstasy, there’s likely to be a large increase of serotonin that makes you feel like you have more energy and confidence, but once it starts to wear off your body loses that temporary serotonin and can leave you feeling more depressed and anxious than you did before.
So just don’t do it.
Stay Close With People You Feel Safe With – this ones really important for me, at any time i am going through anxiety in a crowded place. Being around people I feel safe with brings such an ease you know they are there for you and nothing bad is going to happen. At any time i felt overwhelmed my boyfriend was right there by my side and would casually rub my back at times he could tell I was overwhelmed. When places got too crowded we would move and find a better area that gave me more space.
Bring Lots Of Supplements – I have iron deficiency and can rise and fall regularly, if I am not on top of my diet or workouts my iron can become a huge problem in life, leaving me with no energy and weak to the point I can’t get out of bed. This can now increase my anxiety and depression levels so being in the wilderness for 3-4 days I knew that this was going to be a possibility so to do my best to not create that I brought Greens, Ener-c, collagen, and electrolytes. I had 3 mini 1 use containers of an iron liquid that I took every morning.
EAT– do not let your nerves get the better of you like I did. Your body needs fuel you must eat because my body was struggling with nerves from the start of our trip up I did not eat that much and ended up running myself down before the festival really started. I honestly did not make it the whole night on Saturday ending up missing some of the performances I wanted to see the most because my body felt as if it was going to collapse and I had to listen to myself and go back to camp and call it a night about 4 hours before the others.
Don’t make plans- this is a festival meant for being free and spirited, getting caught up on set times definitely put a strain in some of our freedom, stressing out that we were gonna miss it or be lately put a damper on some of our time , Don’t make plans . just go with the flow, if you miss a performance .. just know in your lifetime you will get another chance to see them perform, it may not be in this setting, but there are several other performances you may never have heard of before and find yourself loving
And lastly, open your heart and let it all in. Let your fears go, step out of your comfort zone and open your eyes to see that you are all one of love and peace.
I read a lot of negative comments about the campground and it makes me wonder if I would have been able to get through the weekend like i did by having the opportunity to camp in artist relations surrounded by all those amazing loving people.
But if I were to try I would just be aware of my surroundings, make sure to partner up with good neighbors that we could watch each other’s belongings (friends if possible) and lock up anything valuable if it must be brought.
Thank you to all who made this trip possible!
Thank you Kush Nugz & Ronan Considine Photography for the photos !