It’s been a little over two weeks since I got back home from Summer Camp
and I’m still buzzing from the experience. Everything about the Summer Camp
Counselor position from being selected by the people all the way to my private
Cornmoe. show was truly mind-blowing. Even now, I have a hard putting the entire festival into words. Having been to literally hundreds of shows and dozens of festivals in my 30 years on this planet, I have never lived through something like what I experienced at Summer Camp 2011. Never have I been so warmly received at a festival. From the moment Arlan put on my wristband and gave my backstage pass until the very end, it was like one long hug. I’m being a little warm and fuzzy now, but in retrospect, that’s exactly how I felt the entire time.
The four days of the festival were a blur of activity. I can tell any future Camp
Counselors, be prepared to do the work. If you do it correctly you will be left with an incredibly gratifying feeling. There were some hard decisions, but the nice thing about being Camp Counselor was that I got to handpick what I wanted to cover. At times it felt like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel of festivals; if you would like to see Bruce Hornsby turn to page 36. Other times I took the opportunity to decompress and enjoy the company of my friends. Those times were short in comparison though. From the time I got to Chillecothe until Monday morning, I was constantly on the move. And honestly, that’s how I am at every festival I attend. It’s all about consuming as much music as possible, and seeing all my favorites in one place.
For me, one of the highlights of being Camp Counselor was having total
access. I was able to float in and out of the various venues with relative ease. In fact, I could pretty much come and go any way I pleased. The security folks knew Amy and I by about the second day, so after that, it was clear sailing. For me, it wasn’t about being a fanboy backstage either. Sure I got to talk to Kris Myers, Ryan Stasik, all the members of moe., Jimmy Herring, and Kyle Hollingsworth but it was very casual. I tried not to bother them too much because I recognized that with access comes responsibility. The backstage area is a refuge for the artists and I never wanted to take advantage of my awesome situation.
Another huge highlight was being onstage for moe., Widespread Panic, and
Umphrey’s McGee. Being so close to your heroes as they do what you love is an amazing thing. In fact, the one set onstage with UM may have turned Amy into a legitimate Umphreak. Watching moe. play from the side of the Moonshine stage was just epic. This was perhaps the most powerful part of my prize package. I could not fathom the intensity of being so close as the music was created right before our eyes.
And finally, the icing on the cake for the Summer Camp Counselor position
was all of the wonderful people I met. On Thursday, a few people saw me and either asked if was the Camp Counselor or congratulated me on winning. After I introduced moe. on Friday it was like I was a rock star wondering through the
crowd. People were stopping me, taking pictures, and just talking about their
experience at Summer Camp. I found this aspect to be both wonderful and
enlightening. Summer Camp, as I originally stated in my video, is a melting pot. I met people from all over the country who were all there for a single purpose, the music. Whether they were there to see Bassnectar or moe. or any of the many bands on the side stages this was the unifying factor. We were a community that almost tripled the population of Chillecothe for a weekend. It was great meeting so many of you wonderful people at Summer Camp.
And there you have it. As the first ever Summer Camp Counselor I worked
hard to document and contribute to this amazing community. I tried to be proper with the access that was bestowed up me, and I tried to meet as many people as possible. My time at the festival went by like a flash but it is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Before I finish I would like to take one last opportunity to thank my crew; Amy, Sean, Cristi, Anna, and Pete for being my shelter from the action as well as Jay, Ian, Holly, Arlan, and moe. for making dreams come true. Keep an eye on the blog and on the Summer Camp Music Festival website in the coming months as my job did not end the Monday after the fest. I will continue to cover some of the many great musicians and bands that have graced the stages of Summer Camp out here in Colorado. I look forward to contributing some great content over the next year until we meet again at Summer Camp 2012.
Counselor In Training