An Overview of ShazamFest 2020 (with Photo Gallery!)

Caption: The soulful Perfect Strangers rock the stage at ShazamFest 2020.

Click here to see more photos of the festival (taken by author Robert Portnoff)

After months of self-isolating, the attendees at ShazamFest welcomed the opportunity to get out and see some live music. The great weather and idyllic festival grounds only added to the positivity of the day. There was even a bit of Montreal rock royalty and ShazamFest alumni at the Eastern Townships site with Lee-La Baum and Tom Shemer of The Damn Truth trading their guitar and microphone for a pair of lawn chairs.

If there was any coronavirus worry it was quickly dispatched once upon the site with safety measures clearly in view. It seemed as if there was a group sigh of relief at the chance to congregate at a safe distance with other like-minded individuals. 

Starting in August, since getting the governmental go ahead, the good folks that produce ShazamFest have been putting on small shows in lieu of their usual weekend blowout in July. The final mini-fest took place the Saturday of Labour Day weekend. The official title of the event was The Rockabilly Soul Series Finale.

Bloodshot Bill kicked off the rockabilly part of the evening with a dose of classic rhythm & blues punctuated with brief moments of guitar virtuosity. Next up was Montreal funk band Perfect Strangers. Formed in 2010 the band took over the stage providing the perfect mix of funk and soul that had the socially distanced fans dancing the night away. The band's party groove was the perfect panacea for these stressed out times. They played cuts from their most recent 2018 album Get Naked and some of their earlier work like "Let It Rain" and "Gotta Move On." Included in the set was a rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s song “Crazy” and for the encore they busted out Marvin Gaye’s ”Let’s Get It On.” 

The festival’s coordinator Ziv Przytyk who also served as the master of ceremonies said, when welcoming back the band for the encore, “They may have arrived as perfect strangers but they left good friends.”

Due to COVID-19 the festival was forced to scale back - resulting in the removal of the much loved wrestlers and circus performers along with the traditional waterslide and skateboard park. Despite this and all the other inconveniences that go along with most everything these days, the festival organizers proved to those in attendance that the show must go on.