Natalie Fletcher Recaps Summer Camp 2011: “And The Beat Goes On…”

At the end of every summer, you usually sit back and recap. You remember swimming at the lake everyday for two weeks straight. You remember those long car rides to those amazing shows just for the night. You remember sitting by the campfire as you and a bunch of good friends bs until after the sun comes up. I remember Summer Camp Music Festival. Ever since I started going to Summer Camp, I have smiled and laughed as I look at the ridiculousness of everything and how it can never be forgotten. Well, this year was no different than any other but I have to say it was better. I had the amazing opportunity as Camp Counselor In Training and I cannot thank Holly, and the folks at Summer Camp, enough for giving me the opportunity to learn more about the festival and the people it brings.

That was one of the amazing aspects of Summer Camp this year, the people. The festival (I’m pretty sure) doubled in just one year and that is just crazy to me. You have to admit for a fan base to double in just one year is spectacular; they are doing everything right and always have. from The Green Team pickup crew, to all the amazing music that is brought to us for our viewing pleasure, I truly think it is a remarkable place.

Now lets recap on this year alone and the things that stuck out to me. Where to begin? How about with the music that brings us to this weekend of joy?You have your awesome headliners like moe., with their crowd pleasers like Captain America, and Umphrey’s McGee playing some of their new songs off the album coming in September (and not to mention hookin up with Huey Lewis) You have your regulars like Keller Williams who opened his set with Ninja, Cornmeal who played at least 3 sets throughout the weekend (cant say for sure because I couldn’t make it to them all) and Yonder Mountain String Band who got me super pumped when I heard my first No Expectations. And then you get to the great treats that you hope to come back.

This year, I personally think the biggest excitement was Widespread Panic and the Everyone Orchestra with artist such as Kyle Hollingsworth, Al Schnier, Natalie Cressman, along with a group of other amazing artists. The thing that sticks out to me the most thinking about the Everyone Orchestra is what you had to do to see them. Summer Camp came up with an amazing idea for the fest goers. You see, you didn’t buy a ticket, you didn’t win one, you simply had to do things like pick up cig butts , take part in recycling, turn in bags for recycling and things of that nature that would not only promote you, but help keep the festival clean and do your part to help respect and preserve the
earth. I think that was a great idea and cant wait to see what Summer Camp comes up with next. As you can tell, I named off mostly jam bands. I’m not big into the dubstep or electronica scene but Summer Camp still has it. Featuring bands such as STS9, Big Gigantic, EOTO and Bassnectar , you know, the big wigs who know how to make a crowd go CRAZYYYYY. These were a good handful of the memorable music related memories that I will remember at least until next year when I do it all again.

Now, you want to talk aspects of the festival I can’t forget like the rain and mud. Yes, it sucked. Yes, it was cold, but man did it bring a lot of joy to a lot of people. From purposely mud sliding to accidentally mud sliding, I got a kick out of people falling into that thick juicy mud. I wont forget the mud sliders in the woods only feet away from our campsite or hearing about a friend who drank too much and slipped on his way back to camp to sleep. We all got a good chuckle in when he returned to camp super pissed and full of mud. The Sunday morning storm was awesome. I have never been in a tent during a thunderstorm and I personally loved feeling like I was up in the sky as it happened. May sound weird but it was pretty relaxing. The storm and the mud was fun, but the people made the festival. So many faces from all over the country. In our group alone we had people from Colorado, Wisconsin and New York. I met people from Indiana, from Tennessee from here, from there. It was pretty cool.

Everyone was nice and respectful. I personally didn’t see any altercations or brawls and that is exactly what I would hope to get from a fest, a comfortable safe environment. An environment with happy faces. I won’t forget the faces at Ryan Stasik of Umphreys playing kickball with us in the wee hours of the a.m. Yes that was fun. I was happy I made it this year and I’m sure Stasik and his team were very pleased when they took the victory. (by the way, they came prepared this year with more than one ball so no one could steal it again).

Recaping my recap, Summer Camp 2011 rocked my socks off. Well, I didn’t have socks, just mud but you know what I mean. it was EPIC. The lineup could not have gotten any better, the crowds could not have been any more energetic and high spirited and the experience could not be replaced with anything else in my book. I met some amazingly fun people who I wish I could have spent more time with ( Joe, Jon, Taraleigh, Jeff and Nick). And thanks again to Holly and Summer Camp. Without you, I don’t think my experience would have been so rewarding. Now everyone…..check out the fest, you won’t be displeased.

Natalie Fletcher
Counselor In Training