Think Burning Man With Less Sand, More Mud, and Better Music; That’s Shangri-La.
Imbuing the South East stretches of Glastonbury with edgy art installations, off-centre acts, and envelope-pushing live performances, Shangri-La is a festival within a festival, weird within weird, counter-culture within counter-culture.
The most crucial thing to remember is that Shangri-La has stopped Glastonbury from becoming just another festival; there’s nothing safe or advertiser-friendly within these walls. A razor sharp sense of political awareness ties everything together, from ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’ themed stages to interactive exhibits and walking art pieces, with each year defined by a central narrative that continues to evolve from festival to festival.
2010 saw the ruling Administration toppled by the rebels of the Badland Alleys and the opening of the city to revolutionaries from across the galaxy. By 2013, the residents of the new pleasure-city were dead, and visitors experienced either the Dantean horrors and Dionysian pleasures of the Shangri-La afterlife. By the next year, Shangri-Hell was revealed to be a corporation powered by the profiteering elite, while 2015 saw the Shang Re-election. For 2016, the power-centres of the corporate 1% have been seized by the 99.
All contributors react and respond to these narratives, and that includes you. If there’s one rule to follow during a trip through the subversive alleyways of Shangri-La, it’s that there are no spectators here. Simply put, this is no place for tourists.
It might sound a little intimidating, but, well, that’s the point. Shangri-La is meant to be truly engaging, pushing boundaries on the personal as well as the political level. It’s also incredibly inventive and not an experience that you’re likely to forget. Thousands of artists come together to see to that each year, and music programming – mostly pounding drum and bass – has been designed to engulf your senses and free whatever lurks within. You have been warned…
Shangri-La represents the corner of Glastonbury that is completely free of pop acts, commercialism, and day trippers. It will challenge you just as much as it challenges society itself, all to a heart-pumping soundtrack that rocks among ground breaking performance pieces and installations.
This year’s rise of the 99% is set to be just as raucously unhinged as previous generations of Shangri-La madness, and you’ll be able to check it out on every day of Glasto. If you’re looking for the entrance to the rabbit hole, look no further and don’t look back.