Finally. The moment has arrived. We are all one in the mad land rush that’s eerily akin to the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. Chillicothe’s newly established settlers staked their claim as the gates opened on Summer Camp 2012 and a flood of wagons were corralled up hills and down. Wind swept plains and swaying forests made staking that choice spot extremely important. Those who aren’t adept at knot tying need not apply.
Our CIT group met up Wednesday night to try and snag that premium spot along a tree line. Abby, Jason, Marisa, Maria, and myself all finally had a chance to put a face with a name and figure out logistics. For our blogging services Summer Camp graciously provided 2 Deluxe VIP camping passes so we were headed over yonder to throw down tents, then hopefully to the VIP bar around the corner.
After camp was secure and setup Abby, Mo, Me, and our +1’s (Luke, Adam, Liz) all walked the grounds in their purest state. Lightly touched with just the right amount of food vendors, and visual effects it was a treat to see everything before the gates opened. We could see a spectacular light display from Moonshine as last minute sound checks occurred. Shakedown street was rounding into form, and we met some cool hoop vendors near Vibe Tent. Thursday was Marisa’s 24th birthday so they actually gave her a present in the form of a collapsable hoop! Festival spirit alive and well. We turned in for the evening to prepare for a big morning where we’d meet with Camp Director Holly to talk about coverage, press, and our role as a representative of Summer Camp Music Festival.
Thursday started off with a bluster as tents were tossed like shoes in the laundry and poles were snapped leaving canopies looking like abstract art forms. Abby and myself went around with our +1’s and surveyed the changes to the site on our way to the white Church where our meeting would be. Along the way we checked out Appleseed Collective on the Starshine Stage whose old timey swing with just the right amount of indie flavored bluegrass and was the perfect way to kick off some dust and do some foot stomping hoe down action.
We also saw Zeta June passing back from the Camping Stage and I noticed a Familiar shirt adorning the bass player. What would Janis do (WWJD?) indeed.
Holly then took us around on a tour of the grounds on her golf cart and provided us with our complementary case of 312 beer. Now that was a thoughtful way of reminding us to stay hydrated! Dust and vehicles running about made having a bandana a necessity unless one enjoys a mouthful of dirt. We washed off our wookfoot near the Vibe Tent on a inflatable slip and slide and signed up for Field Day games. These exact bandanas are also available at the merch tent.
We stuck around Starshine for our good friends Family Groove Company and to me that was the first highlight of my evening. Summer Camp veterans Adam, Janis, Mattias, and Jordan put on quite a show. Special guest in Cornmeal’s Allie Kral joined the band for an encore cover of “Benny and the Jet’s.” As Chickenhead and I watched with numerous friends I felt a sense of relaxation and understood why people say this festival is different and special. Janis and Allie showed true camaraderie that was just awesome in a musically sense as they dueled as equals on fiddle and bass respectively.
Family Groove Company with Where’s Ronny! Note: Janis pre hair flip in background.
I headed back for a few hours of “work” and a quick bite to eat at the campsite. It was pretty interesting seeing the woods fill. People were hacking away with saws and weed wackers to clear the undergrowth and make room for their tents.
Chickenhead getting accosted by a pink bird of paradise.
Fully charged on a freeze dried meal of lasagna we made a bee-line for the Soulshine Tent for a epic saga that was the Superjam lead by Zmick with members of Old Shoe, Family, Groove Company, Jaik Willis, Strange Arrangement, and Cornmeal. There were two sets the first with Brad Miller (Zmick), Matt Robinson, Paul Priest, and Joe Day (Old Shoe), Janis Wallin and Mattias Blanck (FGC). They opened fittingly with “Soulshine” by Gov’t Mule with Joe Day saving something special up on vocals and keys. Paul Priest got the crowd whipped into a frenzy with Phish’s “Sand” that psychedelically played with the audience and was complimented greatly by the tent lighting. They broke out a super funky “Ragweed Jones” with Janis laying down a mean low end. Cornmeal’s Wavy Dave Burlingame helped bookend the set on banjo sitting in for the Grateful Dead’s “Big River” and “Up on Cripple Creek” by The Band.
The second set line up included Jaik Willis, Dan Andree (Henhouse Prowlers), Dan Huber and Paul Priest (Old Shoe), Adam Lewis and Jordan Wilkow (FGC), Joel Hettinga (Strange Arrangement). Jordan took us to a beach in Brazil with a rendition of Santana’s “Oye Como Va.” Guitar solo’s by Adam Lewis raged past 1:30am with the band playing “Cissy Strut” by The Meters. Jaik sang a lengthy version of “Stir It Up” by Bob Marley and beat boxed scat rapped battle style with Dan Andree on fiddle of Henhouse Prowlers. It was quite fun to see if Jaik’s vocal prowess could match Dan’s lively bowing. Since both are friends I’ll be Switzerland and say it came out equally righteous.
One nice thing that happened during the Superjam was a brief rain shower around 1am. This made the walk back to the campsite much more enjoyable as the dust settled down considerably. Physically exhausted by 3:30am, and with a long weekend ahead of me, I wanted to grab some shut eye to prepare for a full Friday.