Shazamfest is Back!

Shazamfest is Back!


BACK FOR ITS 19TH EDITION, CANADA’S FAVOURITE MADCAP FESTIVAL IS MORE FLAMBOYANT, MORE FREAKY AND MORE FAMILY-FRIENDLY THAN EVER!

July 11–14, 2024

ShazamFest’s 19th Edition Promises an Explosive Mix of Music, Circus, Burlesque, Dance, Wrestling, Camping and Wild Workshops, All in the Relaxed Surroundings of Quebec’s Breathtaking Eastern Townships

BARNSTON WEST, QC – As Quebecers scurry all over the map looking for a way to escape the sweltering cities, those in the know are hip to the fact that THE place to be this summer is ShazamFest, a unique four-day cornucopia of exhilarating neo-vaudevillian entertainment, all set in and around the lush riverside woods and natural amphitheatre that skirts the organic Eastern Townships ShazamFarm, childhood home to festival Founder/Director Ziv Przytyk.

Back for its 19th edition from July 11 to 14, ShazamFest’s four official stages – the Shazam Stage, the Amphitheatre, the Small Stage and the Temple – will host outdoor music, burlesque, comedy, circus, dance, wrestling, family activities, workshops, and so much more that defies description.

The keyword this year is “Flamboyant,” and whether you’re dancing to the hi-energy bands and DJs, gasping at the antics of sword swallowers and giant-bubble-blowing clowns, strutting your stuff in a talent show or in a DIY fashion parade, or basking by one of the world’s biggest campfires, you can be sure that you’ll soon be leaving your inhibitions behind and hoisting your freak flags high. Quite simply, ShazamFest is a vast adventure playground catering to free spirits of all ages.

⚡ A FLAMBOYANTLY FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEST ⚡

Since its inception in 2006, ShazamFest has been a proudly diverse, bracingly cutting-edge and family-friendly event, and this year, the organizers are going all-out to make families feel extra-welcome—fittingly, given that the event grew out of an organic family farm.

There’s the festival’s specially-devised outdoor space KidzZone, which this year includes a wealth of workshops and activities – circus skills, hula-hoops, inflatable costumes, even a how-to-assemble-an-adventure-playground tutorial in the woods, among many others.

Meanwhile over at the Temple of Doom, Doctor Doktorâh’s Laboratory will keep the kids entertained with its mixture of mad scientists, strange musical instruments and mind-challenging games, while the mysterious Malicio (of Sherbrookes’s premier clown collective Les SomnamBulles) will enthrall young and old with his amazing giant bubbles.

And, of course, there’s ShazamFest’s famous FamFood meal option for kids: at a modest $35 for the entire run of the festival, hungry mouths will be supplied with 3 nutritious meals per day plus 2 daily snack times and additional treats. And there’s no danger of them wilting in the summer heat, with free unlimited spring water tapped at source onsite from two hand-dug wells. Another irresistible incentive to make ShazamFest a family occasion is the free festival access for under-14-year-olds and free camping for everyone.

Even the most wary of helicopter parents will feel confident enough to drift to their own patch of blue sky, secure in the knowledge that their young charges will be entertained and enthralled – and looked after by the artists and organizers, by the over 150 volunteers, and of course by the new friends they will inevitably make at the festival. As ShazamFest President (and trumpeter of local drum & brass band Plomberie) Elisabeth Besozzi puts it: “Most of the parents know they can benefit from the meal deal and just relax. With so many activities and other kids around, they have peace of mind all weekend knowing their kids will be safe, fed, and having fun.”

At ShazamFest, of course, there’s plenty of entertainment families can enjoy together, and though it’s often edgy, it’s never over-the-edge—even when it comes to the festival’s famous neo-vaudeville/sideshow/circus lineup, which this year’s highlights include ShazamFest burlesque veteran Bonbon Bombay, Bibi Lolo Bangbang (the “Monster truck of burlesque”), Mania (“the Iron Jaw”) Knox, and sword-swallower extraordinaire Daddy Red, whose antics will definitely have audiences gulping!

Kids are welcome to join their more hirsute guardians for the Beard & Mustache Competition, as fake fuzz is permitted (with Mullets and Chest Hair this year’s added categories). And older kids and adults can together rise to the challenge of the epic death-defying Foam Sword Battle on Saturday.

⚡ MUSIC FOR THE SOUL ⚡

ShazamFest is largely a showcase of local (and sometimes international) musical talent, and this year’s program features a particularly scorching, wide-ranging and, yes, flamboyant array of styles to make the hills, woods and waters jolt alive with the sound of music.

The weekend kicks off in raucous style with pounding punk from DVTR (“up and coming superstars in the Quebec scene,” says Ziv), then carries on with the Francouvertes winning neo-soul duo Rau_Ze, and Brooklyn’s finest, That Handsome Devil, whose melange of styles ranges from rock, jazz, blues, surf to creepy hip-hop. Other highlights over the weekend include Kirá Chao (son of Brazilian superstar Manu, but forging his own manguebeat identity), Kamendja (instrumentalists fusing polka, klezmer, tango, Electro, dub, funk and more), and Sherbrooke’s Rotin and the Princes with their ‘80s-themed rock-kitsch repertoire, as well as ShazamFest’s three Battle of the Bands winners: Moronic Inferno (punk trio from Montreal with a Hendrix and hip-hop twist), Mate (high school pals turned rock, folk & jazz outfit), and Verre Moutarde (whose unique pop-rock sound was born of Drummondville’s open mic competitions). Hot vinyl will be provided by a host of DJs including Da Joint Doctor (connected to ShazamFarm since the ‘80s), reggae maestro DJ Morzion, holistic DJ Prana Papa (primal soundscapes, with a serving of twisted hot yoga!) and wacky electronic duo Pain Naan.

Montreal hip-hop godfather Will E Skandalz makes a welcome return to ShazamFest, as do groovy big band Plomberie, who join forces with Townships trad folksters Excavation & Poésie for the final show of the fest, one which, true to ShazamFest’s socially conscious roots, proves it’s more than just fun, games and grooving. Together, they’ll present Rénoviction: both an epic musical spectacular and a protest against Quebec’s tenant-abusing Bill 31. Says Ziv, “a lot of our friends have been renovicted since the new law passed. We’re going to raise some money to help the cause and for anybody who’s been wrongfully evicted.”

Discover the complete ShazamFest 2024 lineup here.

⚡ INTO THE WILD! ⚡

If sword swallowing clowns, drunken yoga and neo-vaudevillian punk-funk-and-creepy-hip-hop combos aren’t quite crazy enough for you, there’s plenty more to guarantee a four-day extravaganza of freakiness, including:

Lutte à l’Est: Wrestling has always been a big draw at ShazamFest and this year a league of female wrestlers are here to tie the patriarchy in knots and bring down the elbow on tattletales who would violate the grappler’s code of silence.

Les Roberts: Eco-conscious entrepreneurs Robert and Robert, of circus/dance/physical theatre troupe Labokracboom, bring you a deluxe flea market where every item tells a story.

Tribal Roses: ShazamFest’s resident dancing land-mermaids whose fabulous costumes, headdresses and make-up guarantee a mystical, fun and colourful experience.

– Quebec sculptor Philippe St-Denis joins forces with Burkina Faso’s Brahima Kone (of Propice Collectif) to create a menagerie of metal characters from recycled materials, all destined for a massive brazero (fireplace) lighting up the festival after sunset.

– Roving reporter and relational clown Jasette will be making the rounds with her sidekick camera-person for vox-pops of the real stars of the festival – you, the public!

And if during your stay you happen to encounter cosmic hula hoops, kooky contortionists, inflatable costumes, giant puppets and a mini-Olympic games in the woods, you’re not having some bizarro fever dream – you’re just experiencing the magic of ShazamFest!

Check out the programme schedule for the full list of acts, dates, and times.

⚡ FOOD FOR THOUGHT ⚡

We’ve already mentioned the FamFood option for kids, but don’t worry, we’re keenly aware that bigger mouths need feeding too! And ShazamFest keeps a moveable feast of mouthwatering goodies coming, with the great majority of food options locally sourced, including, of course, from the organic farm Ziv grew up on. This year, ShazamFest has also invited Montreal’s popular Omnivore restaurant to set up stall with healthy and fresh Lebanese fare.

As with the entertainment, all possible tastes are catered to, with vegan, vegetarian and carnivorous options all available from the various kitchens and food vendors. And as you take advantage of the free unlimited source water, you can also bring your own food without worrying about “the man” hassling you to consume only what’s bought on site – it’s not that kind of festival!

⚡ A FABULOUSLY AFFORDABLE FEST ⚡

Did you know that ShazamFest offers a camping holiday for you and your family that will cost no more than most other campsites? With four furious days of top entertainment thrown in, that’s infinitely more bang for your bucks!

ShazamFest partners Bivouac Underground offer affordable rental of tents if you haven’t brought your own, ranging from simple single units to family-sized deluxe glamping, with all your camping needs provided (bed & bedding, coolers, communal kitchen, lights, charging stations, etc.)

This year, for the first time, a free round-trip shuttle service is being laid on on Sunday, bringing in festival-goers from Sherbrooke-Waterville-Compton-Coaticook and taking them home at night.

And why not consider becoming a member with Membazam? At just $35 per year, you can take advantage of various perks and discounts AND help families-in-need to join in the festival fun.

⚡ A NATURAL IDYLL – AND LEAVING IT THAT WAY! ⚡

ShazamFest is situated in an idyllic natural setting. Even the bugs hold off from plaguing festival-goers, a seeming miracle that Ziv ascribes to the gentle breeze coming off the Niger river – which, by the way, has a shallow beachy area allowing for safe, secure swimming.

ShazamFest’s respect for nature is paramount, and its commitment to environmental and ecological responsibility has been a defining feature since the very beginning. As in previous years, everyone is discouraged from bringing single-use plastics onsite. Reusable dishware & cutlery, compostable & reusable cups and, again, unlimited free spring water tapped right at the source are all available onsite.

Even 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 another day and lend a hand.

SHAZAMFEST XIX

July 11-12-13-14, 2024
2722 Way’s Mills, Barnston West, QC J0B 1C0

www.ShazamFest.com

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

For accreditations, interviews, and other inquiries:

Jane Murray
514 248-5102
janemurraycommunications@gmail.com

Alex Nitsiou
514 443-3731
alex.nitsiou@gmail.com

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