Saturday was a little rainy…I geared up to prevent getting wet physically, although I was in for a day of getting wet mentally, and I didn’t even know it. Things started out for me at the Camping Stage. Savvy was putting forth their brand of Strange Funk which kept me dancing in the early hours of the day. On the way to the daily CIT meeting I stopped to see Truth & Salvage, Co. Personally, I think it is a shame that bands like this aren’t more popular. Great southern rock, almost a honky tonk vibe. With 2 players on keys there was a lot of sound coming from that stage, but it translated into some great songs that I was happy to get a chance to catch.
Right after some nice music to start the day I stopped by the 312 Vibes tent for some Field Day Ping Pong. I got to play a couple games and it was so much fun. I don’t know about you but I love ping pong. I learned everything I know about it from Espn 2 at 4am and Wikipedia but it sure is fun to play. I think now that people have an idea of what Field Day is going to be about we will see some increased participation next year. Also, based on the farmer’s almanac, we should have about 3 or 4 years straight without torrential down pours muddying up the fest. This should make it possible to play some more games and get some more people involved. If you didn’t get a chance to play this year, make sure you check it out next year.
The rest of my afternoon was pretty relaxing. Chilled in the wolf den, had some drinks, played some guitar, great afternoon in the trees. We got geared up and set for the night and made our way out to see some Girl Talk. What a bevy on stage, huh? You got to love seeing a bunch of girls shakin’ what their mommas gave em…thanks Girl Talk, if that is your real name. The music was pretty good to. Mashups of oldschool and newschool kept me and my crew dancing throughout the set. Honestly though, we were all just there to see the next band on the stage.
Umphrey’s McGee…If I haven’t explained it enough then you just won’t get it…these guys are the best. All in all these two sets really did it for me. Highlights included the opening 40s Theme, and Conduit, we got a debut of “Puppet Strings” a kind of floaty tune with lots of textures in the beginning that turns into a pretty hard charging rock tune. I really like the tapping riffs Stasik was employing to open up the bass line. Second set I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed the plunger haji glory, super epic, but for me, what took the cake was the cover of Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney, with horns. So much energy. A song with great juxtaposition of feelings, a love ballad, proggy guitar riffs, and reggae grooves, that is one you should definitely download. Between and after the UM sets we caught Moe. Always a treat. Great light show this year, and spirited performances. They looked a lot cooler than last year in the blazing sun and their suits.
The highlight of the night, however, was yet to come. With an hour or so to kill we headed to the VIP tent. By this time we had busted out or laser swords and were intensely battling near the DJ table. Shortly after we arrived, several buckets of ice and beer were brought out into the tent. Yes, that’s right…if you are wondering where the beer taken from you goes, well, some of it ended up inside of me…Get a VIP pass and party in the tent on your own beer! Anyway, most of my crew had a wristband for Big Gigantic in the barn so we headed over there after the VIP Tent. I was blown away. There was so much power and energy coming from the stage that I almost couldn’t contain myself. With great beats and drumming the saxophone over the top was so full and rich it was like the music was coating my insides with rainbows. Sorry, that was a little outlandish, but you catch my drift. If you ever get the opportunity to see Big Gigantic, especially in an intimate setting like the red barn, do not miss your opportunity. After Big Gigantic we headed back to the 312 Vibes tent for Mimosa. To say the least, it was dance party of monstrous proportions. The sun would soon come up and send me back to my site. Thank god for ear plugs. I’d sleep like a baby.
Counselor In Training
One of the best things I got out of my first Summer Camp experience, was a rekindling my love for moe…
Like many of you, I’ve been listening to moe. since high school and they were the band that really drew me into the jam scene. I still have my tattered blue hooded sweatshirt with the band’s name on it. But as time goes on, and musical interests change, moe. did take a bit of a back seat in my musical catalog. I still saw them whenever they played within 100 miles of me and sometimes, a bit further. Last year, I went back east to Boston for New Years Eve which also happens to be my birthday (yes, I was literally born to party) and brought my whole RI family with me to bring in the New Year with a little the guys and their families (anyone who attended that show knows what I mean).
At Summer Camp, I saw some of the most high-energy moe. sets I’ve ever seen. The band just seems at home here at Three Sister’s Park. The first set I caught on Friday was incredible. Opening with Akimbo is always a good sign. Singing along to Mexico, St. Augustine and Kyle’s Song felt good. Highlight from that set: Bayliss coming out and playing The Harder They Come! Saturday nights second set was on fire: Crab Eyes, Buster, Skrunk > Lazarus > McBain > Recreational Chemistry, E: Captain America
I also got an acoustic set from the boys. The last time I saw that was Bonnaroo 2004 where we also got an Okay Alright (plus Buster and Spine of a Dog) – just the perfect acoustic sing-a-long moe. song. There were only about 150-200 people watching this go down and it that made it even cooler. This set was presented by HeadCount.
Both Chuck and Al came out with KDubalicious for some serious fun – including a cover of Tell Me Something Good! On Sunday, I stumbled into the 312 Vibe Tent to find Rob sitting in with Trichome. These guys were funky and I walked in just in time to see Rob trading bass solos with Trichome’s Dave Frediani. They never stopped playing – it was impressive.
During their last set, Bela Fleck, one of my favorite musicians, sat in for a killer version of Shoot First. The whole set was blistering and when the came out for the encore one of my best friends, AJ, who I’ve known since elementary school and hardly see anymore due to living on opposite coasts, just looked at me and said, “Man, I just want to get a Rebubula before this weekend is over.” It was kind of like magic – the lights went blue and we knew by the first note, Rebubula was exactly what these guys were about to play. Now, I realize a lot of moe.rons probably weren’t surprised to have them end the night with that song, but that didn’t make it any less awesome for us.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Summer Camp kicks ass and helped me get back to my roots. Sometimes you need a reminder and moe. played a weekend of music I won’t soon forget. Since I’ve been home, they haven’t stopped playing on the ol’ iTunes and I really can’t wait for them to come back to the Fillmore in SF.
Counselor In Training
Ok so the thing that sucks about being up all night is the waking up late part. Man did that suck, but I am glad I had a meeting at 1:45 every day so I had a reason to wake up( besides the music of course). Not going to lie either, at this point in the weekend I was absolutely sick and tired of all the mud. You see I came prepared to Summer Camp with sundresses and one pair of shoes, very stupid on my part. I was hoping the weather would have been similar to last years with the scorching sun and a nice tan. NOPE, silly me brought nothing and I was pretty jealous of all those who had pants and rain boots. I would have given and arm and maybe my boyfriend for a pair of those rain boots (kidding about the boyfriend part). I had this day to make me happy though. You see today we all woke up to sunlight and man was it beautiful. We had almost a full day of sun and it was much needed, I mean I needed to get some color on this face for my interview with Stasik today . I will get into that more later. For now lets talk about the absolutely amazing line up that day. I think I should start another paragraph for this one.
Ok so I will just start in order, Family Groove Company missed it but I’m sure it was awesome, Two Fresh and Euforquestra were pretty sweet. I have never seen either of them or really listened to much of their music but I enjoyed both shows. I didn’t necessarily go to Gaelic Storm but when walking the grounds I caught a bit of the show and it made me giggle because they were talking about how awesome WI is for their drinking and partying and it felt good to represent. Now I was pretty impressed with Wiz Khalifa. You see I’m not a big rap fan but these guys knew how to throw down and put on a show. I wouldn’t have even gone to the show but I had to be at that stage when the show was over so I could get my interview I was and am super pumped about, but I was really glad I caught a good chunk of the show. I was pretty bummed that I missed out on Slightly Stoopid but I was interviewing Stasik at the time . Girl Talk rocked my world, I know I’m not a big rap fan but hey at one point in my life I was and Girl Talk really took me back with some oldies but goodies. I got down with my girlies which was a lot of fun. Oh so many shows, one of my favorites of the day was Keller’s Kdubalicious set. Al and Chuck from moe. Joined him on stage which made for a pretty sweet show considering those are all pretty sweet people. Umphrey’s, moe., Umphrey’s, moe., oh my oh my so much awesomeness, just oh so much. Umphrey’s added an amazing horn section to the second set and did an awesome rendition of Live and Let Die, while moe. made me really happy with a Captain America encore that was saweet. So much goodness. At this point I am exhausted from all the walking and getting down then remember I have a late night ticket. We all made a point in our group to get Saturday late night tickets, all except one….my boyfriend. He was real bummed he wasn’t going to make the late night at all and I felt super bad. You see I actually had Saturday and Sunday late night tickets and I only needed to go to one to satisfy my soul so I gave him my Saturday night so he could at least go to one. I know I am awesome.
So I am going to back track here to finally tell you about my interview I was SOOOOOOO PUMPED FOR. One of my top 5 favorite bands is Umphrey’s McGee. Oh do I love them and their music and their energy and their spunk (spunk is a big deal in my book). Anywho, the amazing Holly Brinkman hooked me up with an interview with the bass guitarist Ryan Stasik. I was looking forward to this all weekend long and the time was finally there. Yeah I didn’t realize how nervous I was until I watched the video hahaha. It was really sweet though. I got the down low on the new album coming soon and about his fabulous rat tail. I can not thank Holly enough for that amazing opportunity, it really made the festival that much better for me. The first of many more interviews to come I hope.
All in all Saturday was probably my personal favorite music day. It EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Counselor In Training
I woke up on Friday totally ready for the actual festival to begin. Thursday was awesome but it was time for the heavy hitters. I headed to the barn to get cleaned up. One of the perks of total access was getting a shower every morning and believe me, this is a luxury I’m not used to in a festival setting. After getting ready I made my way backstage. It was time to give my intro for moe., and I was actually pretty nervous. I took a little time to compose myself and think about what I wanted to say. How do you introduce your heroes? Wandering around before the set I got the chance to chat with Jim for about 10 minutes. I had met him previously at the now defunct Green Room when he played a show with Willie Waldman. Amazingly he remembered our meeting and congratulated me on winning the camp counselor position. Around 12:30 moe. gathered at the stairs and followed me onto the stage.
In the second of my many surreal moments of Summer Camp 2011, I stood in front of a crowd of 15,000 or so people and let them know moe. was about to play a show. As soon as I said, “…would you please welcome moe.,” they tore into a massive Akimbo. Here is the rest of the setlist from Phantasy Tour .
SET I: Akimbo, Puebla, St. Augustine, Mexico, Blue Jeans Pizza, All Roads Lead To Home, Kyle’s Song> Kids
Encore: The Harder They Come*
*with Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee
You can download it on Archive. Thanks to Bean for the recording.
I wandered out onto the lawn triumphantly looking for Amy and my friends, but they were knee deep in the crowd. So I took the opportunity to take some wide shots before heading back to the pit for some closer photos. This set was literally a collection of some of my favorite songs. St. Augustine was tight and Mexico was huge and featured a playfulness that really set the mood for Summer Camp. The closer of Kyle’s Song into Kids was face melting and as the sun blasted through the clouds for moe.’s only day set, I knew I was home. Bayliss came out for a cover of Harder They Come to encore and signaled a passing of the torch for UM to take the reigns Friday Night.
From moe. I went to my CIT meeting and discussed the previous days coverage and touched base on what was left on the schedule for Friday. I took a few minutes afterward to interview Tom Mcelroy of the Sun Foundation and Primitive Arts Collective who told me about some of the primitive living skills and native art forms that they teach. They led workshops all weekend that varied from fire making to hide tanning. It was a very enlightening interview.
I made my way to the Sunshine stage for the Punch Brothers’ set. Now I have wanted to catch this band for quite some time, I have been a huge Noam Pikelny fan since his days with Leftover Salmon and Chris Thile is always a bucket of energy. However, it seems like every time I plan to see them in Denver I miss the boat. Well Summer Camp 2011 cured me of this longstanding issue. I headed down to the pits for some photos and caught a little video which you can see here.
The Punch Brothers have a level of authenticity rarely seen in bluegrass these days. They dress the part and as a string band they are a sight to behold. I was thoroughly impressed with their set and after I finished taking photos, I simply stood back and enjoyed it for a minute.
I went back to camp to gather my friends for Cornmeal. Cornmeal as I stated in my previous post has really grown with Summer Camp Music Festival. They definitely took their evening set seriously by just nailing down good tight bluegrassy goodness. I shot some photos and again went over by the bleachers with my friends and just enjoyed the show. The nice thing about the scheduling at Summer Camp is that they allow different fans to enjoy what they like without having to make too many tough decisions. For me Friday was a bluegrass day bookended by moe. and Umphrey’s with just a sprinkle of Dead provided by 7 Walkers. But many, many other fans opted for the raw electro-funk of Big Gigantic and the hip-hop of De La Soul. That’s what I appreciate about Summer Camp. Cornmeal kept fans very happy on Friday afternoon and afterwards I took a minute to grab some food and watch De La Soul for about 15 minutes. They absolutely energized the crowd and it was refreshing to hear them at Summer Camp.
We headed back to Sunshine for Yonder Mountain String Band, we walked up to the bleachers just as they started Out Of The Blue here is the setlist from PT.
SET I: Out Of The Blue> Looking Back Over My Shoulder, Another Day, Little Lover, Just Like Old Times, Complicated, All The Time, Strophe For An Unsung Albatross (Peanut Butter Cup), No Expectations> Casualty> Whipping Post> Casualty
Encore: Crazy, Troubled Mind
Living in Colorado I usually get the pleasure of seeing these YMSB a couple times a year, I would say they played a pretty standard set except for the No Expectations>
Casualty> Whipping Post> Casualty which was fairly earth-shattering. I caught the beginning of that amazing run here.
At the beginning you can hear Jeff Austin pointing out what everyone in attendance already knew, and that the Sunshine Stage had been the bluegrass stage all day and then dedicated the next song to the greatest bluegrass band ever Umphey’s McGee, “…they play the old way.” My apologies for the Don’t Tread on Me flag that makes its way into the frame around minute two, that happens from time to time when you are shooting wide. I did my best to shoot around it but it is what it is. The Whipping Post was just stellar. They came back to encore the set with Split Lip Rayfield’s Crazy and a nice Troubled Mind.
I hit Tea Leaf Green but only for a song or two before heading backstage for my first onstage set with Umprhey’s McGee. It took us a minute to find someone in the UM management to let us go up, and as we were standing there I heard the Jaws theme played before they opened with Prowler. Here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
Set I: Prowler> 1348> Jimmy Stewart> Red Tape> Jimmy Stewart> Red Tap, Pay the Snucka> Bulls On Parade> Pay The Snucka, 2nd Self, Senor Mouse, Mulche’s Odyssey
Set II: Jazz Odyssey, Preamble> Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins > Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins, Rocker Part II, Day Nurse, Hourglass*, The Floor, National Anthem**
Encore: The Triple Wide> 1348
*First Time Played
**with Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic) on Saxophone
You can download the audience recording on Archive.
Thanks to tonedeaf for the post.
A moment or so later someone found us and took us onto the stage. Now I know Umphrey’s is intense but being 8 feet away from Jake as he is shredding a solo is a little mind bending. Amy and I didn’t stop dancing for their 80+ minute first set. The Red Tape was just massive clocking in at over 20 minutes; this song features both sides of the Umph coin. It allows for Bayliss’s prog-rock run, some cheesy 80’sesque jams, as well as lots or room to shred. The sheer number of notes Jake hits in between verses would make any metal guitarist envious. The real highlight of the first set has to be the Pay the Snucka into Bulls On Parade into Pay the Snucka. I caught this in Aspen in February but to see it on stage ten feet away from the band was life affirming. They ended the set with a tight Mulche’s and we were whisked off of stage and just like that my first of three was over.
Of course we immediately crossed the road to see 7 Walkers at the Starshine Stage. George Porter Jr. couldn’t make the show so they enlisted the help of Tea Leaf Green’s Reed Mathis on bass. I was pretty impressed with the band Billy put together. Papa Mali is a solid guitarist with an incredibly unique voice; he has the rasp to belt out Dead tunes properly. Highlights from the set included a sweet Bird Song and a rendition of 7 Walkers which they took their name from. You can see my recording of it here.
The audio is a little over modulated as I was in the pit and couldn’t find an audience recording with which to sync. I would say that overall they were a lot of fun and a nice breather between UM sets.
Umphrey’s came back on for their second set ready to rage. They opened with a quick unassuming Jazz Odysssey almost like they were trying to lull the crowd into a false sense of calm. Then they played the eerie Preamble before snapping the audience awake with Tinkle’s. The Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins > Miss Tinkle’s Overture> Higgins was just disgusting and the reason why I go to Umphrey’s McGee shows. The rest of their second set was all bonus as far as I was concerned. Additional highlights included a Day Nurse dance party, and Hourglass, which was debuted at Summer Camp. They invited Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic to play saxophone on the set ending National Anthem. They encored with a nice Triple Wide into 1348. I thought the UM sets from night one were very strong and they definitely took their headlining night at Summer Camp to a new level.
There was about a thirty minute break between the end of UM and the beginning of moe. in the Red Barn. We took the opportunity to sit at our camp and talk about the events of the day. Amy and I headed to the Barn past Greensky Bluegrass who was just getting started on the Campfire Stage.
moe. came out to play for 400 lucky souls with a sweet Dr. Graffenberg, here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
Set I: Dr. Graffenberg, Bullet, Letter Home*, Timmy Tucker, Downward Facing Dog, Big World> Ricky Marten> Time Ed> George
ENCORE: Spaz Medicine
You can download this set on Archive. Thanks to jessedscott for posting this recording.
I thought the barn was a blast. I always feel a little conflicted inside knowing there are about 15,000 other people who would like to be in as well. I can honestly say I have listened from outside a number of times over the years But moe. made magic in that little sweat box and despite my misgivings I would never miss them in the Red Barn. The reggae-ified Letter Home was awesome and you can see it here.
Timmy Tucker was big and they didn’t stop for the second half of the set. I had a great time and really enjoyed the fact that I got to start and end my day with moe. We stayed until the beginning of Spaz, which was close to 4 a.m. before heading back to our tent. We slept hard and good. It was already an amazing experience and the next two days would continue to impress, humble, and excite me. Stay tuned for my Saturday and Sunday recaps coming soon.
You can see all of my Thurday Photos here.
As well as my Friday Photos here.
With the help of my ear plugs I managed to sleep straight to about 11:15 in the morning…it was magical. I’d never slept that late at the festival before. Turns out I was up just in time to catch a little 56 Hope Road, a great band that has been around for years. I stopped by the Empenada stand and cored a potato egg empanada, perfect for breakfast. Great part of the food vendors, I think I visited them 3 or 4 times throughout the fest.
It was getting to be time to go check out Moe. And see Camp Counselor Nick Stock introduce them. On the way I caught the Reverend Peyton warming up and snapped a pretty good pic of him. I love seeing the performers backstage getting into their mental or zen or whatever it is they do for themselves before a show.
Musically, Friday was pretty low key for me during the day. I did, however make it out to the guitars workshop at the Church. Al and Chuck from Moe. were there to answer a lot of us guitar nerds questions about gear, playing styles, ideas towards playing the guitar and more. They were so personable and played a couple little jams for us. My favorite question though came when an audience member asked if they ever felt like they need to get some of the other artists like Jake Cinninger from the festival up to jam and show them a thing or two. Al and Chuck kind of looked over at each other puzzled, Chuck turns to the audience and says, you know, Jake’s a pretty accomplished player himself so sometimes it’s like he plays something and I’m like, wait, what?
For me, really, Friday was about the night time, which is the right time…Umph, Sound Tribe, Umph, I couldn’t be happier. The shows were amazing. UM went a little extra effort and set up their light rig in the shape of a “U” and an “M” pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. They pulled out a Senor Mouse during the first set and debuted 2 new songs second set, Day Nurse and Hourglass. I liked both very much despite one being a dance track and the other rock…it just goes to show you don’t know where those guys are going to go next. In between sets I caught some STS9 on the big stage. What an amazing job of lighting that was taking place. The crowd was so packed I didn’t even try to get within what seemed like 100 yards from the stage. It was great to see the Summer Camp crowd so big.
After the second UM set the wolfpack headed back to the site to recharge the batteries for a minute. We got some food, got some drink, got some glow sticks, and headed out to the Vibes tent. We caught the end of Team Bayside High, but we were really there for Wyllys & the New York Hustler Ensemble. First of all, I just have to say that the upgrade in the 312 tent was AWESOME. That tent is actually a great stage and a wonderful alternative to the red barn late nights. Wyllys & the New York Hustler Ensemble, though, those guys were amazing. Wyllys has been a phenomenal DJ since before his time with Umphrey’s as a crew member and adding talented artists to add a little something extra in the live setting, something to really connect with, I think is a lot of fun. We danced all night and made it back to the site before sunrise.
Counselor in Training
At five o’clock, the Summer Camp Counselors in Training met up with one another in the Chapel. Yes, there is a pretty little church on site at Three Sisters Park. *Try explaining to your friends that you needed to go to a church at the festival to meet up with camp counselors without them thinking you’re tripping. This chapel would literally become sanctuary for the counselors – we could charge our phones and cameras, use the indoor bathrooms, and interview rock stars (all this is off limits to you non-counselor types so maybe you should keep an eye out for next year’s contest!).
Anyway, it was awesome to finally meet all these folks. Nick Stock, who won the contest, is just a bubbling concoction of tie-dye majesty – a total rock star. Taraleigh Weathers was also an amazing soul to connect with, along with Joe Snacker-Albin and Natalie Fletcher – each bringing their own spice to this project. And Jeff Greenswag… well, let’s just say Jeff is the pirate of Summer Camp – a swashbuckling partygoer who I had wanted to meet since I split my side open laughing at his first contest submission: a parody of the Family Matters intro. These guys all rock so be sure to read and watch their highlights here.
So here’s my experience on the subject I’m sure you care the most about: music.
Ali Baba’s Tahini
After the meeting, the musical adventure began. Jeff and I made our way to see Ali Baba’s Tahini – a band I’ve been listening to since I fell into love with Umphrey’s McGee but had never seen live. These guys were fun and really got my blood pumping for the rest of the night. They’ve got this ska like sound and Jake shreds like a madman. I think Karl Engelmann made a ball buster at Brendan Bayliss about stealing Jake from the band – he said something funny.
Family Groove Company
Hot damn guys. Family Groove straight up killed it. One of my favorite sets of the weekend hands down. Just dirty, tight funk that had people groovin’ and movin’ from first note to last. This was my first time seeing Family Groove Company and I wasn’t sure what to expect but man, it was good. They raged a cover of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues and brought in the darkness with their sunset session. The bass lines and guitar solos coming from this gang particularly captivated me. By the end of the night, I had a pretty strong buzz going on (those 312′s just go down so smooth – a perfect festival session beer) and I ended up bumping into Adam Lewis in the VIP tent (yet another perk to getting a VIP pass next year folks!) and had a chance to shake his hand and thank him for making me smile from ear to ear throughout this set. Family Groove: If you’re reading this, please come out west – we’ll love you here.
Totally unscheduled. A couple friends pitched their tent stage-right of the Sunshine Stage and we’re just chilling out when I hear Bayliss’ voice. Bam – we’re up in a flash. Before I knew it, I was hit with a Partyin’ Peeps and it was all over.
I caught 30db last year in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall and also at Mayan Holidaze earlier this year. Jeff Austin and Brendan Bayliss come together for what can only be described as acoustic, feel good, messin’ around music (at least that’s how I’m going to describe it). Seeing them late night at the Campfire Stage was a treat and added to the fun of the whole event. I mean, this is total campfire music. The show was intimate and hilarious. Both those guys are seriously talented musicians with little to no seriousness in their personalities.
Whoa. Seriously Summer Campers, keep an eye out for these youngsters. Papadosio is getting big quick and after catching their late night set tonight, it’s no wonder why. These guys definitely bring a smooth and organic trance sound – clearly drawing on STS9 and Lotus as influences but also bringing a very unique and progressive sound to the scene. Inside the barn, they helped me warm up as it was starting to get awfully chilly outside.
Boombox is super fun. You like funk? You like soul? Sick of “dubstep” djs? Then Boombox is probably right up your alley. I made my way over to the 312 Vibe tent to catch the Boombox DJ set after Papadosio. I didn’t stay too long – just a few songs to get my groove on. I also caught their Friday set and these guys do a super fun cover of Shakedown Street – I wouldn’t even call it a cover: they make it theirs. It was getting close to 4 AM and I always try to keep in mind Brendan Bayliss’ words of wisdom: “Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.” With CIT duties ahead of me, I thought it best to head back to the tent and catch a few zzz’s before things really start moving. *
So now I’m in my tent, typing away as the sun struggles to break it’s way open.
Counselor in Training
As you read in my previous blog I hadn’t gotten my suitcase with my tent, sleeping bag, feathers, sparkles or warm clothes, but because of the amazing community of Summer Camp I was completely taken care of. I feel so grateful I received the position of CIT and got to experience such a fabulous festival and all of the people involved. Extremely early on Friday morning I was awoken by the sweet sound of Ice T’s voice singing Today was a Good Day. I was getting into the groove of the song when I realized it was my cell phone ringing. I answered it and the man on the other end of the line was from the airport and he informed me that my suitcase was waiting for me at VIP near the flushing toilets and showers. How perfect was that? I was able to get my suitcase and pee in a clean flushing toilet at the same time…well not the exact same time, but you know what I mean.
I frolicked through the woods to the VIP bathrooms where my big red suitcase was waiting for me. It was being watched carefully by two smiling security guards. I gave them both hugs and proceeded to walk back to my site to share the good news with all of my new friends. A man from Green Vibes saw me struggling to get my suitcase back to my site and graciously gave me a ride. I was sooooo thankful! This is another reason Summer Camp rocks. They actually care about their attendees. They do everything in their power to make sure that everyone is comfortable and happy. This is something that makes Summer Camp a festival on a level above many other festivals and keeps people coming back year after year. Not only do they keep people coming back, but they have people telling their friends how awesome it is and that is why the attendance reached over 25,000 people this year.
I got to my site, set up my tent, put on some sparkly feather goodness and headed out to check out some music. The first band I experienced on Friday was Moe. and something awesome happened. The first ever Summer Camp Counselor Nicholas Stock got to announce Moe.! You could tell how excited he was and how much he loved this band with all of his heart and soul. It totally shone through in his intro and I felt pride that he was one of us. He was a music lover to the core and his dreams were coming true. How fantastic is that???
Then Moe. took the stage and I screamed at the top of my lungs, spun in a circle, looked around, took a deep breath and took in all of my surroundings. At that very moment I felt how lucky I was to be here. It was 75 degrees and sunny and I was surrounded by thousands of Moe. fans…I mean seriously…does it get much better than this? Actually at Summer Camp it does. Moe. played some of my favorites like Mexico and Kids. Dancing around in the 75 and sunny weather reminded me that I had to go run and see the Ryan Montbleau Band immediately.
Ryan and his band are very special to me. My husband Dan and I had the privilege of having the Ryan Montbleau Band play our wedding ceremony and reception and Ryan is one of our dear friends. We were born only two days apart and from the second we met we knew we would be lifetime friends. I am so proud of the RMB for playing at Summer Camp and Summer Camp is extremely lucky to have them play. When they first started playing there weren’t that many people in attendance. There was me, a man dressed up as Santa and about 100 people. Then all of a sudden people must have gotten sucked in by the sweet sound of the band because the next time I looked up there were thousands of people. Woohoo!
After watching the RMB I was high on life and I started to feel even higher because one of my best friend’s Courtney was set to arrive on site any minute and it was her birthday. I ran to meet her and gave her the biggest hug ever! That day we danced non stop to Cornmeal, Orgone, The MacPodz, Big Gigantic, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lotus, Umphrey’s McGee, STS9, more Umphrey’s and then Moe. latenight. I remember being at Moe. and I was so tired, but they were playing so well that I couldn’t leave. This is saying a lot about a band because I have seen them over 100 times and I couldn’t leave until they played their last note.
As you can see…or read I had a blast at Summer Camp and I will be convincing everyone I know that this is the festival to be at. This is the festival that shouldn’t be missed. This is where you need to be. So…is it Memorial Day again yet?
Counselor in Training
Ahhh yes, the day was new, the mud was wet and no one was dragging ass. After a little R and R last night and a surprise visit from the fairies I knew I was ready to go. You see this was a good day for muah. I found out today that I was getting the chance to interview Ryan Stasik from Umphre’ys Mcgee. Yes this
made my day and woke me right up. I couldn’t get my mind off of anything else, until I remembered the amazing set up that day. Moe, De La Soul, Greensky Blugrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, Cornmeal, Tea Leaf Green, Umphreys Mcgee, and the list went on and on and on and on it was a bit overwhelming to be honest. How in the hell was I going to make it to all the shows I wanted to see and be satisfied? I managed just like everyone else did. I mozzied from show to show enjoying Moe.s first set to kick of the fest, Yonder playing “No Expectations” one of my favorite songs, De La Soul taking Pee Wee Herman on a stick on stage, Umphrey’s playing one of their new songs “Hour Glass” for us, it was things like that that tricked my trigger and that’s when I realized I was going to be up all night.
It’s an art staying up all night, it takes a lot and if you got it, you got it, if you know what I mean. After carrying a man who had a seizure out of the Umphrey’s crowd, I hit up the VIP bar with my copilot for the night Cherry. We hit up Team Bayside High in the Vibes tent after strolling the land and making many a friends and grooved there for a bit before making our way to the Campfire stage catching the last bit of Greensky Bluegrass. That was fun, I got to make Pee Wee on a stick dance and ran into another CIT Joe. That made for an interesting night. You see I personally think everyone needs to meet Joe, he is great to say the least. He is spunky as all hell, funny and a great slap the bag partner haha. So after the show Cherry and I followed Joe back to his campsite for late night festivities. We slapped that bag until it was gone bsed for a while. The pictures turned out amazing by the way hahaha oh where they funny.
Back to basics, looking at the time I realized that it was getting to that point of the night where we turn in…..NOT. In reality I looked at the time and realized heck yeah I am going to make it to kickball with Stasik this year . Last year I was awoken by the fun of kickball but could not get my butt out of bed to play, but this year I was ready to go. What a turn out, there was a good crew of people there and we were all pumped for 5 AM kickball. This year they came prepared, they had more than one kickball so it couldn’t get stolen unlike last year when someone ran off with the ball and ruined the game for everyone which is pretty lame but no no no not this year. Stasik threw the first ball and the game was on. Awaiting my turn to kick I got hungry and got some amazing cheese fries from one of the vendors close by, pretty happy they were still serving. I sat my happy butt down and inhaled those things as I watched the game, felt good. So many balls went out of bounds, some people missed the kick, it was a pretty good game. In the end Stasiks team won, YEAH BUDDY!!!! I giggled my sleepy butt back to camp, had myself a morning drink and went to bed wondering what tomorrow would bring.
Counselor in Training
For those of you who travel, I’m gonna be starting this Thursday blog with Wednesday. I think we finally got the car packed up and we got on the road around 7:30 mountain time. Coming to Chillicothe from Colorado, well, now that I think of it, coming to Chillicothe from anywhere is not the most scenic of drives. Vast flat expanses, smells of poop, it can get pretty boring. Fortunately Kelly mentioned the “Swift” game…anyone who spots and calls out a Swift truck on the interstates gets a point…ties are half points, like sacks in the NFL. For some reason though, driving through the night, listening to music, we were all a little too excited to sleep and talked through most of the drive. As we approached Chillicothe, the weather went from bad to ok to not so good again, and when we got there, we could see what the weather days before had done. It was gonna be a mudfest…get your boots on.
We arrived around 12:30 and got through the ticket line relatively quickly, I was at my site and set up by about 3. The next couple hours were spent reacquainting myself with the grounds, deciding which food vendors I’d frequent, meeting up with friends as I walked the campsites, and ultimately I met all the other Counselors in Training. What an amazing group of kids. We all come to this festival from different parts of the country and from different occupations; it was no surprise that we had different music tastes. If you are into more of the rock and electronic stuff those are the bands I was seeing and who I’ll mostly be talking about…Anyway, we were debriefed by the amazing Holly Brinkman. If you know her, you know how much she does for Summer Camp and the CIT program. Thanks Holly for making this possible. After getting somewhat of an understanding of what I was supposed to be doing over the weekend (I’ve never “covered” an event before) I set out to see my first show.
Ali Baba’s Tahini was awesome. It was great to see where Jake got his start…well, that’s not true, but to see that band that ended up becoming a big part of Umphrey’s sound was very cool. It was kind of a playful rockabilly vibe to it with a lot of good grooves setting up Jake for some nice guitar work. The guy on keys was slaying and could hang with Jake musically. Overall they were a real fun band who I would definitely go see again. I was lucky enough to walk in on a Got Your Milk (Right Here) which I found to be pretty much the same as Umph plays it. I went back to my site for a minute after that to check in on the rest of my people (wolfpack) who’d be trickling in over the next day and a half. The site was almost ready to go. About 6 of our 13 were there, 3 canopies for the living room/kitchen, about 15 chairs, rope lights (there’s power in the forest…you just gotta find it). I really feel like this was one of our best set ups yet. We didn’t bring so much it was a pain to set up, didn’t bring too much food. Just lots of “soda” and “juice”…
Anyway, we set out to see Brainchild but made a quick stop to see Family Groove Company. Now, I went to the University of Illinois from 02-06 and I remember seeing FGC a lot. Those guys continue to play great show after great show and the stage they were on and the attendance they received was evidence of their continued efforts to be one of the hardest working bands out there. Always upbeat with a great rock feel I love the way FGC jams. If you know ‘em, you know what I know, if you don’t, you should. Down at the campfire stage (where the fire was yet to start, I presume due to the wetness) Roy Ponce, his mustache and Brainchild were destroying. Those guys can really play. And If you are into a sound that changes on a dime with great tension and release build ups, then Brainchild is for you. After Brainchild it was on to a little bit of Cornmeal. Allie is so stunning and such an amazing fiddle player, that, despite my general lack of interest in bluegrass and related genres, I rarely miss Cornmeal play. And you know what, every time I see them I enjoy them a little more. This time was no exception. I love the way they can bring their whole band to this central place that is darker and heavier and then through their jam build it up and out to a twang explosion…like I said, this is my first attempt at blogging to if some of the things I say are weird, well, I don’t know what I’m doing.
By this time, we needed to go back to the site again for one more recharge, we met up with about 5 more of the wolfpack, we drank some more “juice” and “soda” (got to stay hydrated) and we set out for the rest of the night. We made it back to the campfire around 10:15 and saw about 30 minutes of the Pimps of Joytime. Now I have known about these guys for a few years now, maybe 4 or so, and they are awesome. If you like a kind of new school electro funk with a lot of soul then you should have been at this show. Pimps of Joytime are always a fun time and a dance party, which was great to warm up for what we were to experience next.
The first Red Barn “late night” it was only 11:00pm, was one of my favorite bands at the festival, Digital Tape Machine. What an awesome show. I interviewed Marcus Rezak, guitar player for DTM and he was saying that they tried to base a lot of their music on the video games of our youths. Well they did not accomplish that because I felt like I was in the video games of the future. These guys are super talented musicians, with Joel and Kris from UM they pull a lot of attention. But the beats are amazing, super danceable and usually up-tempo and every once in a while they will throw in a neo classical guitar riff or even complete breakdown that makes you remember there’s people up there and they are ROCKING. I hear DTM could be gearing up to tour some in the next year or so, so be on the look out.
After having my hair blown back in the barn I stepped outside for a couple hours of some of the best stage banter you will ever hear, and the music ain’t bad either. 30db is Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin’s project that came together at a time that was really difficult for both of them. But from this shared time they created some awesome songs. They play them together like two guys happy to be beyond that stage in their lives often sharing a lot of whiskey as well, only increasing the hilarity of their aforementioned stage banter. What a great way to wind down the first night of the festival. I had been up for about 42 hours at this point and decided to head back to the site to crash. Like any experienced festival goer I brought my landing gear; put my “ear plugs” on and slid gently into sleep. Goodnight Summer Camp.
Counselor In Training