Fire risk moves festival dates

For its 23rd year, one of the Kootenays most iconic music festivals is moving to July, due to the increased risk of wildfires later into the summer.

Shambhala Music Festival has been held at the Salmo River Ranch since 1998, usually on the second weekend of August. For 2020, the festival will start two weeks earlier.

"We stand at the precipice of a new era, that's not lost on anyone in the Kootenays here in British Columbia,” festival founder Jimmy Bundschuh said in a press release. “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.”

Bundschuh says the move comes after discussions with the Regional District of Central Kootenay and the B.C. government.

He says statistical information shows there's a significantly lower risk of wildfires in the Kootenay region in July when compared to August, especially over the last decade.

"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."

While this year actually saw significant rainfall throughout the festival, Shambhala's Sunday was briefly cancelled in 2017 due to an encroaching wildfire, before the decision was reversed Sunday morning. 

In Kelowna, the Apple Triathlon and Okanagan Pride Week were both moved to earlier in the summer this year because of previous years' smoke issues. 

Shambhala 2020 will run from July 24 to 27. Tickets go on sale Sept. 16.

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