“Shazam is a state of mind” Ziv Przytyk, the founder of Canada’s only neo-Vaudeville festival, ShazamFest, confidently states as we walk away from having just watched a man walk across a 30 foot slack line over the river. Upon first seeing this slack line my friends and I speculated that something this high and precariously placed couldn’t possibly be used for this. To our relief he was attached to a bungee cord just in case, but it wasn’t even needed as he went as far as doing upside down flips and crazy movements to Australian inspired didgeridoo music.
It had been my first time back to the Eastern Townships festival after five years and it was as if I had never left. All attendees were just as warm and friendly as I had remembered.
Our first evening was filled with circus themed events such as watching The Mighty Leviticus ram objects into his face, rip phone books in half, and smash his own fingers as well as burlesque and a fire show. I sneakily ran away from my friends to catch DJ Bella on a smaller stage which was set deep into the forest to dance my butt off to house music. Dancers held glowing hula hoops and fluorescent whips as they moved to the beats.
Later on in the evening after enjoying my first dinner of delicious pizza and fries and then a cheeseburger for my second, we headed to the small side stage to watch Sloe Gin Fizz. A perfect rockabilly sound for the country setting. These Eastern township natives combine swing, jazz and blues along with masterfully slicked back hair.
Being not the most outdoorsy individual, I was awoken by the sheer fear of an earwig type creature above my face inside our tent. I let out a quick morning call (I screamed and it was 9:00 a.m.) and that morning call was quickly followed by another as a daddy longlegs was coming in hot towards me. I demanded that my friend sharing the tent take care of this so that I could relax and enjoy the wonderful sunny reggae jams, perfect to hear in the background while cracking open a refreshing drink. It was on this day — day two our of Shazam experience that we decided to tackle the Everest that is the Shazamburger: two beef patties, carmelized onions, no lettuce, but very needed bacon and cheese. Absolutely delicious.
The slack line was to be used yet again but this time secretly and late in the evening. The performer was held by his very own hair. The crowd looked up and down in amazement as he bobbed and bounced on the river below. He resembled a very toned marionette doll.
Aside from the absolutely gorgeous hamburger I had consumed, the highlight of the day was watching Friendly Rich whose music is delightfully absurd and very catchy. At times it was difficult to make out which actual language they were singing in but it didn’t matter. Arched eyebrows and big smiles stayed glued to most of the crowd’s face as the band lead them through their set.
Fire throwers and eaters also returned and charmed the crowd with their mesmerizing and beautiful tricks. After this set, Shazam continued but I was ready to tap out and be cozy in my tent. The beauty is that when you’re done for the night you can just walk the short trail back to where you have set up camp and see your friends the next day and continue the fun.
Art and artist merch was also available to offer sweet souvenirs of this magical weekend.
ShazamFest is truly a unique experience and I already miss it a great deal.
Make sure to catch it next year!
ShazamFest happened July 7,8, 9, 10 in Barnston Ouest, Quebec. For details about next year’s festival, click HERE.