My friendship with one of my favourite people in the world, all-around cool dude Hingle McCringleberry (alias), began with a shared love of music — hip hop and reggae to be exact. Almost no one else in my life dug these genres like I did at the time, and while there were other things that formed our friendship, it was here that we had the strongest bonds. But then something happen. McCringleberry stepped across to the dark side, into the world of electronic music. “It was just really different than anything I’d ever listened to before. It seemed really cool and interesting. It combined a bunch of different things from music I like, like hip hop and reggae, and gave it a modern twist — music for our own times,” says McCringleberry of his beginnings in the dark arts.

A wedge had been hammered between us. We’re still the best of friends, but I miss excitedly sharing the latest Talib Kweli guest spot or dropping some news about the latest Marley son to get into the game (Seriously, these guys are the Wayans brothers of music).

Where my nirvana is a little place called Bonnaroo in the heart of the Southern U.S., McCringleberry’s annual pilgrimage takes him to the remote forests of Salmo, B.C., for the Shambhala Music Festival. This year, marks his ninth trip to the Salmo River Ranch for the festival. Year after year, I hear about the great time I’d have, if only I took the trip with him. Despite my repeated, though sometimes half-hearted, attempts to get into electronic music, I’ve never been able to crack the code, and the fear of four days of submersion in music for which I have no frame of reference has kept me away. There couldn’t possibly be enough good times in the world to distract me from the dark, sweeping vortex that descends upon me when I hear music riddled with electronic noises.

I want to get excited like I used to when my friend gives me music. The time has come for me to mend the fences — to jump in head first, with an open heart and open mind. There’s a gap in my listening, and it needs to be filled. This year, I will saddle up and make the pilgrimage to Shambhala, in hopes of healing the sonic wounds. My good friend Hingle McCringleberry will be my guru, my “Guide to the Cosmos.”

Shambhala has grown to mythic status in the festival world. A go-for-broke joy party that will convert even the most stone-eared skeptics. My guide has already given me more knowledge than I can process before getting to the festival, and I now pass these precious tidbits of Shambhala wisdom on to you, dear reader, in case you become infected with the same fearful but open-minded curiosity that has overtaken me in recent years.


1. My five Must-See Acts as given to me by the great Hingle McCringleberry, my Guide to the Cosmos.
“Kill Paris — that’ll be really good. Stanton Warriors, obviously.” (These guys are Hingle’s true love.) “I would say check out Metrik, [not the very famous Vancouver band Metric]… You should check out Nick Thayer; that guy throws down hard. It’s a relentless assault. It’s so good. He’s so into it. For pure DJ skills you gotta check out JFB. He does an audio/visual set so everything was queued in with the lights.”

2. Best Stage — The Fractal Forest
“It will be great this year with the lineup they have, so many good breaks acts. They have the big sound in there as well now [PK Sound, world-class audio company]. Just the whole setup. The stage is in the middle and everyone goes around it. It’s in amongst these trees, and there are balconies around the back. There’s the most ridiculous laser light show going on, shining on the trees with screens set up. It’s crazy.”

3. “People are overly friendly. Can be a little annoying, but it’s generally pretty nice.”
I’m not an unfriendly person by any means in day to day life, but I will almost never initiate friendliness. I need people to break my shell and pull me out sometimes. I’m excited and terrified at the prospect of being surrounded by people who do this.

4. “In the morning, after partying all night, like 5 or 6, and you’re winding down, just get the breakfast poutine with some eggs on there. It is amazing. So good after a night of dancing.”
Yes, you are reading that correctly. One of the people I trust most in this world has recommended to me that I intake poutine topped with eggs. I remain skeptical.

Maybe I’ll see you in the void. If I don’t, I’ll let you know how it at all is when I come out the other side of this great unknown.


Shambhala Music Festival
Aug. 9 – 12, 2013
Salmo River Ranch (206 Lakeside Dr., Nelson, B.C.)

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