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Shambala has ‘Gone Off Milk’

As of 2019, all hot drinks purchased on site are free cow’s milk. Instead, our traders offer a range of dairy-free, plant-based alternatives. We know some of you will be well up for this – but some of you may have some questions or concerns, which we have tried to answer below!

‘Is Shambala going completely plant based?’

We are not a vegan festival – we are however developing an understanding of a responsible diet and choose to live our values. Our food providers, whilst remaining meat and fish free, continue to serve up eggs, organic cheese and some other dairy ingredients. Eliminating cow’s milk from our hot drinks was the the natural next step for us, in our on going journey to see how small dietary changes can make a big difference when done on a large scale.

Also, quite frankly if it pisses off Piers Morgan, we’re game.

‘Why on earth are you messing with the humble brew, you heathens?!’

We have done this to inspire important conversations about the impact and the role of food in our future, and reduce the impact of the food and drink we consume at Shambala.

Our decision to go meat and fish free in 2016, was an environmental one. The evidence is overwhelming that reducing your meat and fish intake is one of the very best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and ecological damage. The cow plays a real starring role when it comes to agricultural emissions, so swapping cows milk for plant based alternatives is a simple and small step we can take to reduce our impact. There’s some great alternatives out there!

‘Hang on, not all dairy-free milks are environmentally positive!’

Yep, true! The sustainability of any plant-based milk is dependent on crop type, supply chain, travel miles and individual brand ethics. We’ve done our research, and trawled the Ethical Consumer ratings and will only be providing the most sustainable options – in a nutshell, oat, coconut, (European grown) soy and hemp are on the menu. Rice and almond milk are not.

We’ve put together a breakdown of our findings when comparing different dairy-free milk options – check out the comparisons here.  ‎

“I just don’t like non-dairy milk in tea and coffee.”

We understand that a morning coffee and a decent cuppa is sacred to some, and that a different taste can be off-putting. We’ve selected some particularly delicious and planet friendly plant-based milks – and remember that it is only a few days. If you haven’t tried it before, we hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t, that’s fine too – this is an experiment and we welcome all feedback, positive or negative, after the show!

“Who are you to dictate what milk we consume?”

As a festival, a community, and a purpose-led organisation, we are doing our very best to reduce the environmental impact of the event itself, and take the opportunity to inspire important conversations. Be the change, innit.

However, we are not saying that we think you should be 100% plant-based. We are saying that we absolutely believe that a more responsible diet contains far fewer animal products than we have become used to, and that the poor old dairy cow is a significant source of environmental impact.

We dearly hope that Shambala provides an opportunity to explore often complex issues, break bad habits and get inspired to make changes that are good for health, happiness and planet.


Every non-dairy option has it’s pros and cons, but the science shows that even keeping the negatives in mind, cow’s milk is by far the worst for overall environmental impacts – and (whilst this is an environmental initiative for us rather than an ethical one) it seems important to at least mention the brutal reality of most dairy farms. If you want to go down that particular rabbit hole, you can do so here.

With the help and support of our audience – the most open minded, conscious bunch out there, we’ve been pioneering new green initiatives for the past 18 years – we’re 100% renewably powered, seven times carbon net positive, proudly vegetarian and disposable plastics free. However the climate clock keeps ticking, as laid out in the recent IPCC report and we refuse to stand still.

We’ll pop the kettle on…