Home Away From Home

I have two homes and they are roughly 5 hours apart. I take the freeway and back country roads to get from one to the other and when I finally arrive I find a sea of cars, a river of bodies and personal belongings waiting patiently to enter, and a land of pure joy and fond memories that last for years to come…….Summer Camp Music Festival!!!! My heart pounds in my chest with excitement as I enter this amazing land and all I can think about is all the things I cant wait to do and see. It is hard to depict what I am most excited for when I hear some awesome beats coming from the campfire stage, I notice the amazing decorations differentiating from campsite to campsite as I mosey my way to the friends that await me, I can already smell the mixture of dirt and sweat you grow accustomed to throughout the four days that most people don’t use to shower, and I just smirk at all the outrageous outfits with colors that stick out from hundreds of feet away. As I venture through the Summer Camp lands and notice all these immaculate aspects of the festival, I think about all those things and come to realize what they all have in common and what I am most excited for, the people who make up the fest.

The beings that walk around and play music and entertain you with flames or hula hoops have truly got to be the thing I look forward to the most. All of them are what make the festival what it is to me. Famous or not, you all stand on the same level on my pedestal, #1. I love all of the different personalities that come together from different parts of the country and help make an amazing experience for one another. For example, just this last New Years at Umphrey’s in Chicago I met two amazing girlies (you know who you are) from New York that I immediately fell in love with. Because of the power of the internet and Summer Camp I am going to get to see these girls again and rage with them during that band that united us. It’s things like that that add one more butterfly to the large meadow that settles in my stomach. Everyone of course has friends and/or siblings that bring their friends that bring their friends that bring their friends to all unite into a small community of giggles and experiences to share with one another until the next year when we do it all over again. And then that brings me to the neighbors you run into throughout the fest that share the stories and laughs of how awesome that last moe. set was, or how out of no where, your best friend puked all over some random person’s tent (the tent was apologized to) and you felt bad but could do nothing but laugh at their expense. I love how you can pick out the courageous ones who you envy for having that ‘I don’t give a hoot’ attitude because they walk around topless or for the men who take comfort and pride in wearing a skirt. Man do I love people.

When thinking about an amazing festival a lot of people including myself are super stoked for that one bad (or many bands) that they are the most stoked to see. That is usually after all what brings people together. Don’t get me wrong, the bands are the ultimate reason I am going. Yonder, Keller, Widespread, Umphrey’s, Girl Talk, Steez, STS9, Moe and I could just go on and on but it’s the people in those bands that get you excited to be there. A band can have good music but put on a crappy show but at Summer Camp all the bands that I have had a privilege to see have been just as pumped to be there as I have been. You can tell by the way that Stasik smiles at Bayliss when the crowd gets super pumped over hearing one of the many segues that Umphrey’s is infamous for or the intense yet entertaining faces that Austin sports when getting down and dirty on the mandolin. It all just makes me think of how I love people.

So when you see me at the fest, come say hi because its what I am looking forward to the most.

Natalie Fletcher
Summer Camp Counselor In Training (CIT)