As I stood in the open field with stars shining above and hearing the distant circus lullaby making the perfect soundtrack to the fireflies in the bushes, I realized that the weekend ahead was going to be amazing.
Not being from Montreal, I cannot say that I am aware of everything that goes on in the area but I am very happy to know that ShazamFest exists. This festival, now in its 11th edition, is hard to describe. It is an “everything” festival: burlesque, a skate park, circus acts, rockabilly music, bubbles, yummy food, and delicious organically made beer (Beau’s). This festival is great for all ages and is for you if you’re looking to have some fun in the outdoors on a summer weekend.
It was nearing 9 p.m, which meant that the sunlight was fading fast and the sky was slowly getting darker with incoming clouds. Fortunately it only turned into a slight drizzle as my friends and I quickly set up our tents.
To get to the main area of performances, you walk by a field filled with tents, then through a narrow road lined with trees and colorful lights. Once you exit the bend, SHAMZAM! The festival emerges at the bottom of a hill.
Rockabilly solo artist Blood Shot Bill made quite the impression with his fast paced rockabilly guitar playing and hilariously timed pants and snorts.
The festival’s creator and host Ziv Przytyk is all about using locally made goods. He was raised in the Barnston West region (where the festival is held) and offer this advice to festivalgoers: “Don’t sh*t in the forest unless you bring a shovel with you”. Although you are camping, all necessary facilities are close by as more than 15 porta pottys and running water are always available. There’s also a river nearby where you can sit on the rocks or take a dip.
Other notable performances were by the Tribal Roses, who looked like land mermaids, the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, who kept you hopping around and moving, folk band Old Time Honey and burlesque group Capital Tease.
Unfortunately, I was too distracted from the many activities that I didn’t catch all of the bands. I did think about taking a turn on the slip and slide and made a stop at the vendor shops. It was a surreal experience being given a flashlight before wandering through what the vendor had to offer with the festival music playing in the background.
Once all danced up and ready for food there were several meal options(vegetarian or for the carnivorous at heart) with fresh garnishings or delicious homemade ice cream sandwiches made with the local Coaticook ice cream. Of course, aside from the food vendors, festival goers are able to bring their own food and prepare it by their tent or in the shared fire pit at the center of it all.
Being from a small town, finding a festival where you can feel a sense of community is a very nice thing to find outside of the big city.
I will certainly be returning to this festival next year and will tell as many friends as possible about this event, highly recommended if you are interested in fun.
More information of Shazamfest here.