You know I look forward to Summer Camp from the day it ends until the final day it comes. That’s why this year I left home on Wednesday night to cure the anticipation that burned inside me. After a 6 hour drive with my boyfriend and our buddy we finally arrived to the magnificent grounds that host such an amazing experience, Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL. You know it wasn’t the drive that bothered me, or the arriving at about 5 in the morning, it was the getting denied to enter because of the rain flooding the parking lot that made that anticipation just grow. I’m not saying it upset me at all, the upsetting apart was Mother Nature, but hey when have we ever been able to control her. Anyhow, finally entering was awesome. I immediately jumped in line and began the 4 day weekend ahead of me. I got my tickets, found a sweet set up in the woods (when I say sweet I mean sweet, 10 tents filled with people, an upstairs, a downstairs, and a sitting room with 10 tapestries surrounding it and not to mention a sweet little lit up trail that attracted many fairies) and began to plan the excursion that would follow.
It was easy knowing what band I was most excited to see, Family Groove Company. All I can think about is how they threw down last year and how pumped I was too see it again this year, I mean after all it is pre party day so PARTYYYYY!!!!! Family Groove is one of those awesome bands that everyone knows and enjoys to see. I live in the heart of Wisconsin so we see almost no music what so ever, however, Family Groove comes to the not so far away Stevens Point and plays and ya know it just makes me giddy knowing great talent can still come even though we don’t have much to offer. Before I ramble on pointlessly, lets get into 30db. Not much more to say I know. I mean Umphrey’s Bayliss and Yonder’s Austin, whoa. Two of my all-time favorite bands come together and serenade us with their witty lyric and amazing string talents. You really can’t get much better than that. I don’t even think I can justify the amazingness of it all.
With Thursday being Pre Party day and all, you can go all out but take it easy so you survive the rest of the weekend. That’s why we did our shows and went back to camp for some R and R from our long travels and exhausting camp set up. This brings me to fairies. Oh those wonderful fairies started our weekend out just right. Catching fairies came easier to us then we had planned. A few friends were just recapping the day when all of a sudden 3 girls came stumbling in on out lit up path into what they called “fairy land”. You see we had a tarp on the ground at the time and that was covered in glow stick juices and of course looked sweet. Well these fairies were so pumped about it they started rolling around on the tarp caressing each other and in a sensual voice kept saying to each other, “you’re a fairy, now you’re a fairy, oh this is a wonderful fairy land” and on and on and on. The guys are at this point sitting here thinking they are about to get a show (as if this already wasn’t one) but the fairies then turned to the group realizing, hey there are actually people here. So one by one the fairies started to dub everyone present as fairies by rubbing the glows tick juice on the arms of the audience, hahaha but nothing was rubbing off, and proceeded to say “you’re a fairy, now you’re a fairy”. Now comes my favorite part, one of our buddies decided to mess with the fairies by picking up some bugles that fell on the ground and said “you guys want some fairy food?” naturally you would hope they were smarter than that but nope, they moseyed their way over to him, took the floor food and ate it like they were cattle in heaven with the fairy food cupped in their hands. Strolling off the fairies disappeared into the night and that was when everyone realized what a weekend this would be, one of a kind.
Counselor In Training
I flew into Chicago from San Francisco last night. It’s easy to forget how big most major cities are when you live in San Francisco – Chicago is huge! I met up with a gracious fellow activist I know in Chitown and was able to catch a good night’s sleep before being picked up around nine this morning by Summer Camp’s very own Holly Brinkman.
We were about 20 minutes away from entering the pearly gates of Three Sisters Park when a police cruiser pulls up behind us and starts flashing the blues and reds. Before we knew it, there were two cop cars parked behind the car. If you’re not brushed up on how to handle a police encounter, check out this new film by “Flex Your Rights called” 10 Rules for Dealing With Police. Anyway, despite us not having anything illegal in the car, the officers indicated that their dog had signaled for narcotics (either they were lying or their German shepherd needs more training!). They kept us waiting in the cold for about 20 minutes while they ripped the car apart and found nothing. Then they sent us on our way (and accidentally kept Holly’s driver’s license!). It was an interesting way to kick off my adventure. We saw at least five other vehicles pulled over and/or being searched over the next 20-minute ride.
After that, arriving safely at Summer Camp was even more glorious then I could have imagined. I grabbed my gear and after some poking around, found out where to go to get my VIP credentials. While waiting in line, the fun began. About 10 close friends, all traveling in different groups (some I haven’t seen since college in New Hampshire, others I know through work, and some I’ve met on the scene over the years) found me standing here. We talked shop about where we would be camping and who we wanted to see the most tonight. This was proof that I’m in the right place and this was going to be a killer weekend. I already knew what Summer Camp was about: music, friends and family.
After getting my wristband, I lugged my stuff to the VIP area, set up my tent and quickly made my way to the VIP bar. I’ll tell you one thing is for sure, the VIP bar is pimp. You get couches, discounted drinks, and they blasted killer soul and funk music all day and night. After my experience with that K9 unit, a 312 on draft while sitting on a plush couch in the middle of a field in Chillicothe, IL is just what I needed to calm down the nerves. I’m in the party zone now and there is no turning back. Let’s rock!
Counselor In Training
On Wednesday night/Thursday morning I was too excited to sleep. My alarm was set for 5:05am so I could make the 6:00am flight from Burlington, Vermont to Chicago and the time couldn’t come soon enough. I kept on sitting up abruptly to see the clock because I was paranoid that I would over sleep. I got my butt to the airport and checked in my bag. I was so excited it weighed 49.5 lbs, which is .5 lbs away from having to pay a $25 charge. That is an accomplishment in itself, since it had my tent, two sleeping bags, two pillows, all my clothes, sparkles, feathers and rain boots in it. I flew to Chicago easily and effortlessly.
When I arrived in Chicago, I checked to see how my next flight to Peoria, IL was looking. I fly stand-by and the flight was oversold by at least 20 people so I figured I should take the Peoria Flyer bus to Summer Camp. My luggage was going to arrive in Peoria at 2pm which was perfect because that was the same time my bus was going to arrive. Yes! While I’m on the bus I get a call from two of my friends that were supposed to be on the Peoria flight and they ask me if I’m on a big red bus right now. I was! The flight we were all originally going to take got cancelled so they rented a car and that car was next to the bus randomly on the highway. They told me to get off at the next stop and they would drive me. Awesomeness!
Then I realized that my luggage was on the flight that got cancelled. No big deal except that my tent, sleeping bag, pillows, feathers, sparkles and all my warm clothes were in there. The airline told me I could have my bag delivered in the morning when it arrives, so I gave them the address to 3 Sisters Park and told them to bring it to the VIP tent.
I ventured to Summer Camp with just the clothes on my back, hardly knowing anyone there. I found a friend of a friend named Allison and she is my angle. She gave me a feather boa hat, gold lame’ leggings, painted my face with glitter, a sleeping bag and a space in her tent. We spooned that night to stay warm and I was told that I was a fabulous spooner. I will add that to my resume. Haha! Anyways, her friends took me in like I was one of their own which at the end of the weekend I ended up being and gave me some drinks and food. I have to say that besides the music one of the best parts of Summer Camp is the community. It is amazing how a festival with over 25,000 people attending could feel so small and connected. Everyone looks out for each other and we all make sure that everyone is comfortable and having a fantabulously rockin time…and fantabulously rockin times we all had! Seriously…like the best times ever!
This may be bad, but I actually don’t remember any of the music I saw on Thursday, although I do remember I danced a lot. It wasn’t because I was intoxicated in any way, but it was because I was so enthralled by the festival grounds and the people. Getting there on Thursday is the best idea ever because you get the best campsites, get to explore the grounds, you can prepare yourself for the big event, you can warm up your boogy muscles and break in your dancing shoes.
I flew by the seat of my pants from Burlington, VT to Summer Camp Music Festival as one of the first ever Counselors in Training and I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you everyone for voting for me and thank you to the beautiful Holly for creating an opportunity like this. I enjoyed getting to know the other CIT’s and the Summer Camp Counselor, Nick Stock throughout the weekend…but this blog is only about Thursday so with that…good bye and I love you all!!!!
Counselor in Training
After flying into Chicago Tuesday night and driving down to my old homestead of the Quad Cities, Amy and I were picked up by some very dear friends and escorted the last leg to Chillicothe. We drove down Il 29 past militant looking State Patrol officers and a few unlucky souls who lost on their roll of the dice. We made it to the lot where we quickly parked and assessed the situation. In stark contrast to what we saw on the highway, local law enforcement were spending their off duty hours parking cars and bumming beers. I looked around. It had been 5 years since I was last at Summer Camp and the old girl looked well.
Besides the troves of people who had elected to arrive on Thursday the new layout of the festival was efficient and organized properly. We got into line and I made my way to the window where Arlan Goldberg greeted me. He took the honor of bestowing my wristband upon me rather ceremoniously. It was the first of many, many surreal and humbling moments that occurred throughout the weekend.
We made our way back to the car but because I was informed that I would be interviewing moe. around 2:30 p.m. I was anxious to get inside and get my tent set up. Originally I was going to be camping next the 312 Vibe Tent but because they had recently been granted a permit to have music until 4 a.m. this was not going to be a good option for my busy weekend. So I headed into the VIP entrance around 1 p.m. and found a spot on the trail to general camping. We were also able to procure a spot just down the way for the rest of my friends. I quickly set up the tent and met with Amy before heading backstage to meet moe.
There I met Skip (moe.’s tour manager) who let me know that the band’s flight had been rerouted to St. Louis and they were not expected on site until later in the evening. I thanked him and headed over to my campsite. Everything was well on its way at camp thanks to Amy and my friends. They worked hard to haul all our gear into the fest utilizing the Love Tractor (a giant off-road wagon recently purchased for just this festival.) Meanwhile it was time to meet Holly for the initial press meeting at The Church. I arrived and met various members of the press, many of which were incredibly helpful in my first foray into access and real coverage. Up until now all of my blogging has been totally independent. So I was and am very appreciative of the help I received from the jam press at Summer Camp.
I went out and quickly shot my first standup before heading back to The Church to meet with the rest of the CITs. I will say the initial meeting with my former competition was a little uneasy, but that soon passed and we were all fast friends. We divvied up the various events we wanted to cover over the course of the weekend. Anxious to go catch some music, I said my goodbye and made my way over to camp and before heading directly to Ali Baba’s Tahini. Now, I have wanted to hear these guys ever since I first learned they were regularly playing together again beginning a few years ago. They obviously don’t tour extensively so having them on the bill on Thursday was a real treat for me. And honestly they sounded like a band formed by Jake. It was like his raw gritty guitar times five.
Here is the setlist from their Facebook Page
SET: Strollin, Got Your Milk, Vegetables, Veil, Running Down A Dream*, Aramdillo, Zero, Poster Prose, Carnival Chronicles, Second, Bikes,
*Tom Petty Cover dedicated to Brendan Bayliss
The Got Your Milk along with the Cinninger’s Beatbox vs. Wavy Dave’s Mouth Harp breakdown were the real highlights of the set. Also the Petty cover was spot on. Overall I found the Ali Baba’s Tahini to be a fun way to get my feet wet at Summer Camp. Here is a video I took from the pit. http://youtu.be/7VrKkQI4gMI
I caught a little bit of Family Groove Company before heading back to camp. All along the way a person here or there would recognize me as the Summer Camp Counselor. I would chat randomly with people as I ventured from stage to stage and really this was a huge highlight of my weekend. When I arrived back to camp I took the last bit of daylight as opportunity to blow up the air mattress in my tent. After getting a bite to eat my whole group made our way to the Starshine Stage for some much needed Cornmeal. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Cornmeal grow into the ridiculous bluegrass powerhouse that they are today. Going all the way back to 2002’s performance at the 2nd Summer Camp where I first saw them, up to now where they blow away audiences across the country, Cornmeal has earned every fan. And I have to say Colorado loves them some Cornmeal. They played a great set and really got the crowd energized for the long haul ahead. I am and continue to be impressed with how far they have come as a band.
Last but not least on the agenda was 30db. Now I guess I was spoiled when 30db played The Fox in Boulder because the lineup included Nick Forster, Eric Thorin, and Cody Dickinson. But honestly I could watch Austin and Bayliss go back and forth all day. They are like kindred spirits and they definitely enjoy playing together. That kind of dynamic is infectious. They got the crowd buzzing with a long soundcheck where they basically tried to get the crowd to curse their bandmate. Finally after a short break they came back and acoustically melted faces. The highlight of the set was a cover of Wilico’s Handshake Drugs. It was a totally unexpected and a pretty interesting choice of cover. Here is a video I took from the show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSwt33bl9kU&feature=youtu.be
So all in all it was a pretty productive and fun first day. Thanks to Amy and my crew for getting camp set up and schlepping gear. You guys are awesome and you helped me out immensely. Around 2 a.m. at the end of 30db I made my way back to my tent and fell tried to fall asleep. I was pretty excited for what was about to unfold over the course of the next three days so that was a challenge.