The Shazam Festival 2022

The Shazam Festival took place over the weekend of July 9, where the hills of the eastern townships were alive with the sound of music and mayhem. Free from Covid restrictions for the first time in years, the festival was able to go ahead at full capacity. 

With just a half day on Thursday that saw some early birds get settled and a couple of intimate concerts at the Petite Scène by Suspicious Stew and Greg Alone. Then Friday the first full day saw the likes of P’tit Belliveau, Le Freakshow and Izza Flambé & The Fire Family; with the day being capped off with late night shows from Homebrew Remedy and Sloe Gin Fizz

Not to be out done by the previous day, Saturday saw the festival buzz with activity. From water slides, acrobats and costumed performers, there were lots of attractions and events to pass the time on a sunny afternoon. Returning to the festival were the fusion dance troupe Tribal Roses clad in colourful attire straight outta Bengal. One act in particular had the afternoon audience asking, “how do they do that?” This was none other than the gravity defying circus antics of LaboKracBroom.  

With the sun going down Miel and Cayenne walked onto the main stage to kick off the day's musical endeavours. Based around the sultry vocals of the Sabrina Konstas the jazzy quintet sounded far more polished then one would expect from a band performing in front of live audiences for only the third time. Performance artist Lili La Terreur had the audience laughing in the aisles as she demonstrated, in flight stewardess garb, the procedure to follow during the, "Canadian Apocalypse”.

Next up was Friendly Rich who is known for writing the background music to MTV’s “The Tom Green Show”. Even though the band is from Ontario they paid tribute to Montreal’s poet laureate Lenard Cohen with, “The Unforgotten Truth”. Or as Friendly Rich said, “a song about the guy that stole Leonard Cohen’s money”. The band was joined by Shuffle Demon saxophonist Richard Underhill. This inclusion added another level to their power klezmer hoedown that threw the night into overdrive. Friendly Rich finished their set with a tribute to French-Canadian singer song-writer Felix Leclerc

Taking a break from the musical part of the evening, Ziv’s Variety Hour hosted a unique display of burlesque and human feats of wonder. Kate Pearl (captured above) danced the evening away, surprising the adults and leaving the younger attendees stupefied with mouths agape. The Mighty Leviticus showed off his physical powers and immunity to pain by getting his hand caught in an animal trap before having darts thrown into his back. Or as the Mighty Leviticus says, “just another day at the office”. Speaking of the office, Martin the Stretcher donned the stage briefcase in hand, and proceeded to bend and contort his body in ways that are not recommended unless one is trying to get to the exit of a crowded STM bus. 

The Shuffle Demons got the Shazam crowd dancing even though many in the audience were not even born when the band had their hits playing over the airwaves. Starting their set with a New Orleans style line parade, dragging many along with them and away from the warmth of the bonfire on an unusually cool summer’s evening. With a mix of old and new songs played throughout their one and a half hour set, the band showed that even after all those years there was still some demon in their shuffle. One of the highlights was “Cheese on Bread”, where the band interacted with an audience member who sang the start of the song. The band then dedicated their next song, “Spadina Bus” to the Mighty Leviticus whom they called, “the strongest man in the world”. With steam visibly escaping from their horns the band ended the concert with a stupendous version of, “Get Out of My House, Roach”. Saturday was not over just yet, though technically it was. There were still fireworks and old school rockers, The Sunset Drip playing at the bar stage till the wee hours of the morning. 

The final day of the festival, Sunday, while quieter than the previous two, still had a few surprises in store. With wrestling courtesy of L'Académie de Lutte Estrienne and Bluegrass band Old Man Medicine kicking off a lazy Sunday afternoon of music. They were followed by the ruckus of Excavation & Poésie. It was only fitting to top off the weekend with a Shazam Fest first: a marriage! In front of hundreds of witnesses two long time friends of the festival tied the knot Sunday morning. There was nearly not one dry eye on site when the couple proclaimed their love under a shazam filled sky.