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An update from Shambala Festival.

As a team and festival community we remain heartbroken by the tragic loss of Gboyega Odubanjo at last years’ festival. Gboyega was an extraordinarily talented and important young poet with a unique voice, booked to perform at one of our venues in 2023.  

We have felt deeply uncomfortable about not being able to offer statements or further information about his death, since those made immediately after the festival in 2023. However, until the circumstances of his death were formally established at the inquest, and until we had the consent of the family, it was not our place to speculate or comment.

The inquest took place earlier this month and Gboyega’s death has now been ruled as a tragic accident. We cannot imagine the loss felt by Gboyega’s family and friends. Looking to the future, it is our intention to honour Gboyega and to help create a longstanding legacy.

This death has also affected our festival community, the poetry community and our team significantly. We continue to provide support to those in our community who have been affected by this incident, and endeavour to navigate the situation with sensitivity and respect. 

We will have a dedicated place for grief on site this year. Our ‘Love Shrine’ venue will return for its second year – a place for anyone who is missing somebody, or has lost somebody, to take a moment and reflect. If you are attending Shambala this year and are struggling with the loss of anybody in your life, or any sort of grief, the team at The Love Shrine will welcome you. 

We have always strived to do our utmost to look after everybody who attends the festival. Whether performer, crew or public, we want everybody to be as safe as possible. To find out more about the measures we take to keep everybody safe at Shambala and the support services on offer at the festival please see our Keeping Safe pages here.