ShazamFest 2023

ShazamFest 2023


ShazamFest’s 18th Edition Features an Eclectic Mix of Music, Circus, Burlesque, Dance, Wrestling, Camping & More in the Eastern Townships Countryside.


BARNSTON WEST, QC – If a four-day stay in a lush countryside, neo-vaudevillian entertainment heaven is what the spirit craves, then ShazamFest is the promised land you’re looking for. This year, from July 13 to 16, 2023, the 18th edition of the annual ShazamFest — a cornucopia of outdoor music, burlesque, comedy, circus, dance, food, storytelling, wrestling, games, workshops, camping and more — is gearing up to be an even greater celebration of all things artistically whimsical and exhilarating. Whether you’re 7 or 77 years old, the festival is a vast, action-packed playground where you can let yourself run free.

A welcoming, culturally-diverse and family friendly event, ShazamFest takes place a short distance from Montreal in Quebec’s Eastern Townships on a sprawling and picturesque organic family farm. Each year, “it takes the freak shows and carnival atmosphere of vaudeville of the past and brings them into the future,” says Founder/Director Ziv Przytyk. “ShazamFest is basically The Muppet Show — a collection of colourful characters who do amazing things on stage. You can’t really describe it until you’ve lived it. It’s become such an incredible animal over the past 18 years. We really have it set up so people can experience something completely different that’s also about community and collectivity.”



Music is the linchpin of the festival, and organizers go to great lengths to find an eclectic mix of both emerging and established music artists who play to a broad range of tastes. “ShazamFest is really about discovering new things and new music, so a lot of the programming is not necessarily well known but has been meticulously curated,” says Ziv.

The weekend kicks off with a crazy punk night featuring Eastern Townships headliners General Fools, while several of the many other highlights include Kobo Town (intoxicating calypso & dub poetry from Toronto), Plomberie (groovy brass from Sherbrooke), Risa (time traveling house & techno via Mexico), The Sunset Drip (heavy psych rock from the 514), Ultraptérodactyle (pop-punk-garage-grunge crazy for dinosaurs & heavy guitar riffs), The PMR Ska Collective (a blend of ska, reggae, jazz, pop and more), Digital Fire (dirty electro, drum & bass and hip-hop DJ stylings), Tiguidou Braziou (Brazilian percussion) and Will E. Skandalz (“Hailing from Kahnawake, he’s a veteran of Montreal’s hip-hop scene, and he’s bringing a two-hour show with nine up-and-coming MCs, so that’s cool,” enthuses Ziv).

Discover the complete ShazamFest 2023 lineup here.



Music is only the tip of the entertainment-berg: a neo-vaudeville rainbow of multidisciplinary arts and activities awaits festivalgoers, including but not limited to circus sideshows, burlesque, musical improv, comedy, clowns, fire breathers and more than a few freaky things that defy categorization. “The ambiance is ridiculously carnivalesque,” says Ziv. “It’s like you walked into the 1880s.” 

Wrestling, a fan-favourite tradition of ShazamFest since its inception, returns this year on the Sunday with The Fight for Shazam!, featuring Johnny la Magouille and his Acolytes. Expect tragedy, humour, betrayal and heroism to be on the menu during their epic gladiatorial exchanges. “A huge crowd comes out because of the wrestling,” says Ziv. “Admission is free all day on Sunday, so lots of folks with kids come to watch. It’s like a spectator sport all around: the squares watch the freaks, the freaks watch the squares, and everybody watches the wrestling—it’s a lot of fun!”

Other attractions include glassblowers and a blacksmith onsite this year doing workshops & demonstrations, an artist market and an Olympics-style series of games and activities for both kids & adults that runs throughout the festival (attendees are divided into four teams upon arrival at the gate for family-friendly cooperative challenges that test skills of the wit as well as physical prowess, not to mention an epic capture-the-flag foam sword battle). And got a beard, a moustache or a mullet you’re especially proud of and want to show off? You’re in luck, because there’s a multi-category competition with numerous trophies and prizes awarded, including “Best Fake Beard” for hair-challenged children and adults of all genders and ages.

Check the complete programming for dates and times.



When Shakespeare wrote that “all the world’s a stage,” he couldn’t have imagined just how especially true that is at ShazamFest. “Over the years, the festival has gotten larger, so now there is more space for more things,” says Ziv. “A lot of the festival grounds have become performance space because there’s tons of roving entertainment going on. There’s a little beachy area by the river for swimming, and performances happen there as well. A tightrope walker doing crazy stuff might just suddenly appear, and there are sometimes secret shows happening in the woods.”

All of this, of course, complements the fest’s four official stages:

  • The Shazam Stage: The main-stage centre of the action where most performances take place.
  • The Amphitheatre: A revamped electronic music stage reminiscent of an ancient stone amphitheatre. It has a new dance floor that can accommodate 300-400 people, and features more programming than ever before.
  • The Temple: Where teenagers, numbering around 200 each year, enjoy programming tailored specifically for their age group.
  • The Small Stage: At the close of each night, this is where the party’s at. Don’t be surprised to find people dancing, or even performing, on the bar.



The festival’s KidzZone is one of the most popular aspects of the festival and a place to spread the ShazamFest magic to all ages and keep the little ones entertained. This unique space devised for children is set to dazzle once again with weekend-long programming comprised of age-specific performances, workshops, activities and a talent show on Saturday afternoon.

The famous FamFood meal plan for kids is back, offering an unbeatable deal for feeding famished young’uns: 3 nutritious meals per day plus 2 daily snack times throughout the entire run of the festival for a very modest $25 per child, with discounts offered for multiple children. Additionally, there’s free, unlimited spring water tapped right at the source onsite and free festival access for children under the age of 14, as well as free camping. And the older kids won’t want to miss out on the epic Saturday sword battle, a capture-the-flag game with foam swords that’s equally as entertaining to watch as it is to participate in.

Find out more about FamFood & KidzZone here.



Literally. In addition to the newly reimagined Amphitheatre stage, and among several new additions and infrastructure this year, are newly built hot water showers in the campground courtesy of two new wells “that we dug by hand,” says Ziv. Speaking of camping, festivalgoers who don’t have camping gear but want to partake in the experience will be pleased to know that this year ShazamFest has partnered with Bivouac Underground to offer deluxe turnkey camping, a.k.a. glamping: they provide attendees with all their camping needs (bed & bedding, coolers, communal kitchen, lights, charging stations, etc.).

And while Groucho Marx famously quipped that “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member,” ShazamFest — “Where the misfits fit in” — is offering a multi-tiered membership program, Membazam, that even Marx might have found hard to resist. Among the many advantages are a free weekend of camping in August, discounts on tickets to shows throughout the year, discounts on various products and an opportunity to lend your voice to this growing cultural community.



Bring a healthy appetite — emphasis on the word healthy — because fest-goers will be treated to quality food options that are locally sourced, including from the organic farm where the festival takes place and which Ziv lives and works on. The festival’s four kitchens will be preparing a wide array of food for every taste, including vegan and vegetarian options, as well as the famous ShazamBurger, “which people wait all year for, including myself,” says Ziv. “We have a great diversity of really good food. I’m a foodie, and I grew up on an organic farm with granola parents, so we ate great food all the time.”

Attendees are also permitted to bring their own food if they choose to.



Maybe, as a wise frog once sang, it’s not easy being green, but ShazamFest is a shining example of what you can achieve when you try. ShazamFest’s commitment to environmental and ecological responsibility is a defining feature of the festival, and has been since its very beginning. As in previous years, the fest discourages festivalgoers from bringing single-use plastics onsite. Reusable dishware & cutlery, compostable & reusable cups and, again, unlimited free spring water tapped at the source are all available onsite.

All the stages and structures are hand-built with recycled or reclaimed materials found on the site, and the annual Monday, post-festival garbage sorting party is back as well with free drinks and meals for anyone wanting to stay for another day and lend a hand. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to leave, so we go through every trash can, every recycling bin, and we re-sort it all,” explains Ziv. “Everything goes into the right streams, and we reduce the volume of waste on the site usually by two thirds.”



  • Close to 2,000 people attend ShazamFest each year.
  • 1,500 people took advantage of the free camping last year (with space for over 3,000).
  • There are no vehicles permitted on the actual camping site
  • 85-90% of attendees last year came for all four days (an amazing, and amazingly affordable, quick getaway).
  • It’s only around a 90-minute drive from Montreal and a 30-minute drive from Sherbrooke.
  • Admission to ShazamFest is FREE for children 13 years and under.
  • Admission to ShazamFest is FREE for everyone on Sunday.
  • Admission to ShazamFest includes FREE camping
  • Due to recycling and reusing efforts, last year’s festival produced a grand total of only 10 bags of garbage.



July 13-14-15-16, 2022
2722 Way’s Mills, Barnston West, QC J0B 1C0

Day & Weekend & Family passes available
Free entry for children 13 years & under
Free admission all day Sunday


ShazamFest is a four-day outdoor summertime extravaganza featuring live music, circus, burlesque, dance and other performance arts, as well as wrestling, activities for kids, an artisan market and locally-sourced food vendors, on a pristine multi-generational organic family farm in Quebec’s picturesque Eastern Townships.

2024 PMA Magazine. All rights reserved.

Dear readers,

As you might know, PMA is an independent consumer audio and music magazine that prides itself on doing things differently. For the past three years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to bringing you an authentic listening experience. Our commitment? Absolute authenticity. We steer clear of commercial influences, ensuring that what you hear from us is genuine, unfiltered, and true to our values.

However, independence comes with its challenges. To continue our journey of honest journalism and to maintain the quality of content you love, we find ourselves turning to you, our community, for support. Your contributions, no matter how small, will help us sustain our operations and continue to deliver the content you trust and enjoy. It’s your support that empowers us to remain independent and keep our ears to the ground, listening and sharing stories that matter, without any external pressures or biases.

Thank you so much for being a part of our journey.

The PMA Team

If you wish to donate, you can do so here.

Search for a Topic

and receive our flipbook magazines early


Email field is required to subscribe.