For the first time in its 23-year history, Shambhala Music Festival will be held in July.

It’s been confirmed that for the first time ever Shambhala Music Festival will be held in July starting with the 2020 event. The move is based on the advice of the Province and the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Because 2018 marked the worst fire season on record for British Columbia and the fact scientists say climate change means the province’s wildfire season is becoming longer and more explosive, festival founder Jimmy Bundschuh says they’ll be moving the event’s dates forward by two weeks. General Admission tickets will grant access to the Salmo River Ranch starting on Friday, July 24th to Monday, July 27th, 2020.

“We stand at the precipice of a new era, that’s not lost on anyone in the Kootenays here in British Columbia,” says said Bundschuh. “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…Our guests’ safety and security is our number one 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. According to the province of BC, who shared statistical information with Shambhala Music Festival, there is a significantly lower risk of wildfire in July in the Kootenay and North Columbia regions of British Columbia as compared with August, particularly over the last decade.

The Southeast Fire Centre, which monitors and responds to forest fires near Salmo, B.C., the site of the annual music festival, has published that on average over the last 10 years there are 11 days of high and four days of extreme fire risk every July in the area between the US border and Mica Creek, some 400km North of Nelson. 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.

“It’s been an ongoing conversation we’ve had with the regional district and with the province,” says Bundschuh. “We are so grateful for the important work they do and have taken their professional advice to heart.”

Tickets for 2020’s Shambhala Music Festival go on sale September 16.

Feature photo by Blake Jorgenson.