My fellow SCampers!
With many of my immediate festival family members driving across the country to Hulaween in Suwannee, FL for what I am considering the official END of outdoor festival season, I sit and ponder to myself what a great season it has been. I review over all of the material I have shot, all of the great music I have witnessed, and most of all the people I have met throughout this entire journey. I am one very happy and amazed festy goer. I don’t really know how I managed to pull off this run, but in hindsight I got nothin but smiles.
Here’s the Pun-Recap of my journey of four major festivals in one summer starting with our favorite festival:
Summer Camp Music Festival 2013
Being a Summer Camp Counselor in training opened more doors for me as a blogger than any past experience has. I feel that the Camp Counselors have an even greater chance at direct impact on the media aspects of Summer Camp than anyone who was official media. They gave me so much opportunity to shine as a blogger and to meet a lot of my favorite musicians on the planet to boot. I got a real good look on the operations behind how things roll and I hope to continue lending a helping hand for years to come. The family of folks behind the scenes that run this amazing event really do a great job at trying to make every year at Summer Camp better and better. It was an inspiring thing and it really brought out some of my best energy this year. It was a rainy year, but it didn’t stop me from running with my camera through a downpour to get to the VIP tent for amazing once in a lifetime performances or to the red barn for Everyone Orchestra shows that blew minds. A lot of love was shared.
Mountain Jam Music Festival 2013
This was the first time I ever drove out of the state by myself to a festival. This was also the longest I have ever driven to enjoy a fest. I truly enjoyed my time and experience at Mountain Jam. It is a very beautiful festival experience being literally on the side of a mountain. It was also another rainy weekend, but everyone still made the best of the weekend. This was the only festival I had no media obligation to. I just enjoyed myself and my friends all weekend long.
Electric Forest Festival 2013
Being from Michigan this is my home festival. I have been enjoying this venue since 2008 at the first Rothbury Festival. Every year since 2011, I have had the amazing opportunity to shoot highlight videos for the people at the festival with photo and video credentials. I attempt to trump myself every year and this year was really special for not only myself, but many of my festival family as well. It instilled an assurance that Rothbury really is one of the coolest venues and it lives up to the crazy expectation of bettering itself every year.
Lockn’ Festival 2013
This amazing festival popped up as a blip on the radar right away for me, as the line-up was just something that couldn’t be ignored. The amazing amount of epic jam they brought to the table sparked my interest enough to apply for media and led me to making the trek all the way from MI to Arrington, VA. I am really glad that I did because it allowed me to really have a once in a lifetime chance as a photographer to get as many amazing photos as I possibly could. The stages weren’t too large for my lenses and it really broadened my portfolio out. I couldn’t have been happier to be shooting some of the most amazing photos that I have to date. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Michael Kang w/ Zac Brown
Overall I couldn’t be happier with all of the amazing experiences I have had this year. With winter approaching quickly, everyone bundles up with anticipation for announcement and dates for what is to come next season. I know I am excited to shoot a few indoor local events to keep my festy gland from tingling out of control. I hope everyone finds a way to keep themselves at bay as we await the amazingness that is festival season 2014!!!
This year I ended my festival season with a bang by making the trek from MI all the way to Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, VA for the first ever Lockn’ Music Festival. What I found special about this particular event was the stacked line-up of epic jam mixed in with the idea of making the music never end in a seamless fashion. I was determined to not miss this one.
Luckily I got hooked up with a photo pass and had the time of my life shooting some of the most amazing artists all weekend long. In case you weren’t aware, Lockn’ featured three sets from both Furthur and The String Cheese Incident including special guest appearances and collaborations all weekend long. Widespread Panic, Warren Haynes, Trey Anastasio Band, Zac Brown, John Foggerty, The Black Crowes, and Tedeschi Trucks give you a good sense of what the festival entailed.
What made the festival so amazing for me was the fact that it was the first opportunity I have had to photograph many of these legendary artists. I was definitely one of the happiest souls in the photo pits all weekend long.
My favorite moment of the weekend was when Trey Anastasio came out and performed with Furthur for the first time ever. He helped finish out Casey Jones of Furthur’s rendition of Workingman’s Dead (the entire album) and played other favorites including Scarlet Begonias and Truckin’
I managed to snap some of the best pictures I’ve ever shot. Have a look and get a feel for what Lockn’ was like.
As some may know, Summer Camp Music Festival wasn’t my only festival this season. Thus far I managed to also catch Mountain Jam in Hunter, NY and Electric Forest back home in Rothbury, MI. I am also hoping to attend Interlocken, but it’s up in the air.
One artist I missed at SCamp this year was Nahko (Medicine for the people), but I luckily ran into him (literally) at Electric Forest this year and caught an amazing personal solo performance in the nest area of Reincarnation in Sherwood Forest.
Ever since this day I have been hooked on their music and I highly recommend checking them out ASAP!
This is their most recent music video of one of my favorite songs.
They have a newer album out called dark as night. I really hope to see them at Summer Camp next year!
Eric here and I noticed that our favorite post headliner blastoff band The Ragbirds is in need of a new set of wheels to be able to continue touring this fall with a new baby! They have 7 days to complete their Kickstarter goal and raise the money for their new eco-friendly vegetable oil powered vehicle.
In case you weren’t aware, The Ragbirds are one of Michigan’s top touring bands that has been moving up the ranks on the festival circuit for a few years now. They are a 5 piece folk-rock-world-fusion band out of Ann Arbor, MI and their sound is amazing. I highly recommend checking them out.
Here is the link to their Kickstarter campaign and a few videos for your listening pleasure!
Hello fellow SCampers,
I had a wonderful weekend at Summer Camp this year. My experience as an official Camp Counselor in training was amazing and allowed me to capture many moments I could not have without this sweet title. Having the experience of seeing how everything happens behind the scenes was a really special experience. I was able to meet many of the organizers who work year round to put on this amazing event every year. I was really thrilled to shake so many hands all weekend, as well as interview some of my favorite musicians. I am proud to become such an integral part of the driving force behind promoting such an amazing festival. Here are a few favorite moments from my weekend.
First a foremost, I was very excited to have my camera this year at Summer Camp and see what I could accomplish with it. Last year I shot most content with my Iphone and this year proved to be a good opportunity to vastly improve my photography skills. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the entire weekend.
I shoot a lot of amazing video with my camera as well. I was able to capture some absolutely once in a lifetime collaborations. First I caught was this video of Victor Wooten playing with most of the members of Family Groove company including Janis Wallin. Also seen here is a few members of brainchild and sitting in is also Roosevelt Collier playing slide steel.
Another amazing moment of collaboration I caught during the weekend was Everyone Orchestra. In case you weren’t aware, Everyone Orchestra is a collaboration put on at multiple festivals bringing the best talent together for a once in a lifetime jam session. On the lineup this year at Summer Camp was Victor Wooten, Al Schnier, Joel Cummins, Carly Meyers, Allie Kral, Mike Dillon, Roosevelt Collier, and Alex Steele. It was my first time catching an Everyone Orchestra set and I was amazed at the artists ability to pick up and jam.
I also had the ability to interview (coming soon) Victor Wooten of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Reed Mathis of Tea Leaf Green. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life! It was the first time the two had met and their energy hit it off right away. They did a jam for me after the interview that was just mind blowing. Here is the jam.
I also got to help shoot interviews for other Camp Counselors and managed to meet Jason Hann and Michael Travis of Eoto/String Cheese Incident. With Electric Forest being one of my home festivals, I couldn’t have been more excited to meet them.
Overall I felt like I was running around constantly all weekend trying to get footage of everything possible. Summer Camp did an amazing job giving me more opportunities than I could shake a stick at. I am so grateful I was able to capture this many amazing moments.
With all of the video/pictures I shot I made this short highlight video with some of my best shots. I hope you all enjoy. Stay tuned for more!
BTW I love festy sunsets!
Another wonderful weekend at Summer Camp is coming to a close, but not without another day of music. Sunday has proven to be a very wet end to the festival. The rain did not stop me from getting out and enjoying some music.
I managed to catch a strings workshop in the church including many great musicians from the weekend.
Later I caught some amazing footage I can’t wait to release of Everyone Orchestra.
To help stay dry I caught a lot of acts under shelter. I went to catch the Ragbirds playing in the VIP Lounge and it turned out for some great photos.
I truly enjoyed my weekend as a Camp Counselor in Training and all of the experiences that were put before me have been amazing. I will be working hard on getting some of my videos published for you all as soon as I am home.
Check out my crew’s Summer Camp Review!
As my eyes adjusted to the light the distinct pitter patter of rain could be heard falling on my tent. It was one of those cool mornings that make you want to re-wrap yourself in blankets, roll over, and go back to sleep. I fought that urge knowing that music would be starting soon and it was time to get ready for the last day of Summer Camp. After the deluge on Saturday along with rain overnight the mud had finally reached an unimaginable level. The roads became a sloppy consistency that made it hard to differentiate between what was a puddle and what was solid ground. Again I have to give credit to the organizers for continuing the show even though the weather and washed out roads made that much more difficult. After getting ready I sought refuge in the Church and waited for the Pickin’ Party to begin.
This was a bluegrass clusterpluck that included members of Floodwood, all of The Henhouse Prowlers, as well as Allie Kral. What followed was some of the best bluegrass that occurred at Summer Camp 2013. It was a blend of all the things that make string music so great. Allie took the unofficial lead talking about playing acoustically and not needing a PA. Ben from Henhouse said, “These songs are all the same… but seriously they kind of are.” He wasn’t so much belittling bluegrass as much as he was pointing out a fact. Much of what the genre is built on is tradition and even though the music can be incredibly innovative it never wanders too far from its central principles. They ran through a series of songs that was enough to warm the heart of any bluegrass fan.
Next it was time for Umphrey’s last set, which was already underway.
Set 1: Slacker, White Man’s Moccasins, Tribute to The Spinal Shaft> Wife Soup, Phil’s Farm, She Caught The Katy*, Dear Lord**, Higgins, Smell The Mitten, August> No Comment> August, Miss Tinkle’s Overture
*w/ Taj Mahal and Luther Dickinson
**w/ Luther Dickinson
Umphrey’s performs midday on Sundays, which is the cherry on top of their three days at Summer Camp. A two hour set allows them to stretch out a bit before taking their final bow. This show was fairly straight forward with a couple of amazing sit-ins. They opened with Slacker and soon after that the rain again ceased for the remainder for the afternoon. “Tribute To Spinal Shaft,” Umphrey’s prog-funk tune, was pure sickness. The real highlight of the set was the appearance of Taj Mahal and Luther Dickinson on “She Caught The Katy.” This song originally performed by Taj has not been played by UM since Summer Camp in 2011. Luther stayed on for a jam on “Dear Lord.” Jake shredded while Luther slid; it was an awesome sight to behold. They finished their set with a crispy “Miss Tinkle’s Overture.”
As soon as their set was over it was time for moe. on the Starshine stage. This has been their acoustic show for the last few years and it allows for a relaxed vibe to flow out over the crowd. It’s yet another favorite set of mine to see at Summer Camp. After they dialed in their sound moe. opened with “All Roads Lead To Home.”
Set 1: All Roads Lead To Home, Sticks and Stones> St. Augustine, Shoot First> Bring You Down, Tambourine, Four
Stretching just over an hour this seven song romp took the audience through some classic moe. The highlight was the “Sticks and Stones” into “St. Augstine” which featured a great back and forth between Chuck and Al. Jim on vibraphone added a nice touch as well. “Tambourine” took on a completely new feel as Vinnie snapped out the beat on the kit and Rob belted it out for the enthusiastic fans. They closed with another crowd-pleaser, “Four.”
After moe. it was time for another class act, Taj Mahal and his trio. Taj Mahal is blues music and has brought this genre to audiences for nearly 50 years. From his early career with the Rising Sons to his solo work, Taj Mahal has remained a major influence to young and old musicians alike. Taj has also stated he prefers playing outdoor festivals, which is why he seemed right at home at Summer Camp. He played a two-hour set with his band that included Kester Smith on drums and Bill Rich on bass. Taj recently celebrated his seventy-first birthday and he is still going strong. His set at Summer Camp was truly a delight.
John Brown’s Body was up next and these guys are insane. Focusing on a more “spaced-out” sound rooted in the reggae tradition, lead singer Elliot Martin has robust approach to his craft. He moonlights as a dubstep DJ, but JBB is all organic. Their inclusion on the Summer Camp lineup was one more feather in the cap of this festival. They are an energetic face slap that soothes the soul. If you enjoy an innovative approach to roots music check these guys out.
As the Avett Brothers took the stage the skies opened and the rain came down. They started their show with a traditional English folk song, “The Cuckoo Song.”
Set 1: The Cuckoo Song, The Fall, Down With The Shine, Will You Return?, Laundry Room, Old Joe Clark, Reno Lament, Distraction #74, Paranoia in B Flat Major, Live and Die, Got To Sleep, Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, Life, At The Beach, The Prettiest Thing, Gimmeakiss, Die Die Die, Kick Drum Heart, Geraldine, I and Love and You
Encore: Talk of Indolence
Much of the Avett’s studio work is melancholy, however their live shows are jam packed with gusto. The rain slammed on the stage as crew members hurriedly changed out guitars and banjos between songs. Alternating between drum backed songs and acoustic stand alones, they blasted their way through their ninety-minute set. They played some of their better known songs including “Down With The Shine,” “Laundry Room,” and “Live and Die.” They seemed as energized by the music as their audience. Kids danced in the mud with a vigor rarely seen throughout the entire weekend. At one point I saw a young man making mud angels for no apparent reason. They closed their watery set with “I And Love And Home” before encoring with their rapid spit-fire tune “Talk Of Indolence.” They were truly a high point for the entire festival and a surprisingly great live show.
We made our way backstage to meet up for the Private Camp Counselor Show, but due to the weather it had been moved to a small trailer behind Mooneshine. Kyle and three of his friends got a special show from moe. and Victor Wooten, but there just wasn’t any room for anyone else. I totally understood and was happy that despite the weather Kyle still got his show which included an acoustic “Kyle’s Song” and “The Weight.”
Finally it was time for Trey Anastasio Band. As lightening flashed all around the festival grounds Big Red came to the stage with his group. They wasted no time by opening with “First Tube.”
Set 1: First Tube, Cayman Review, Last Tube, Alaska, Pigtail, Dark And Down, Money Love and Change, Drifting, The Land of Nod, Tuesday, Push On Til the Day
Set 2: Mr. Completely*
*Show ended due to severe weather
Trey and his band consisting of Ray Paczkowski, Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, Russ Lawton, Tony Markellis, and James Casey seemed undaunted by the rain. They pressed on with a show that features a stunning series of guitar solos from Trey. He simply shredded his way through “Cayman Review” and “Last Tube.” “Alaska was a real crowd-pleaser and gave the rest of the band a chance to breathe. “Dark And Down” seemed incredibly appropriate and was the song that featured some the most intrepid jamming of their first set. As lightening continued to flash all around the rain subsided momentarily. “The Land of Nod” was epic, but the set-closing “Push On Til The Day” sent this show over the top.
The setbreak went for about 45 minutes, during which time I am assuming crew debated whether or not to let the band back on. Finally, probably from Trey’s insistence they did return. Trey uttered, “You guys are amazing,” as he came back, and as he did fat drops rained down from the sky. Trey and company went into “Mr. Completely,” as a small boy danced furiously on the other side of the rail. The crowd went nuts as the weather we had feared all weekend was finally hitting us. The small child waving his arms defiantly danced on until finally they finished what would be their only song of the second set. Trey walked up and gave the kid a fist bump before he was signaled to stop. He went to the microphone and informed the crowd that they were making him quit, but that he would be back. The audience slowly dwindled down to a few hundred as the steadfast fans, including my wife and myself stayed to see if the band would return. After about a half hour of the worst rain and lightening we had seen all weekend, Ian Goldberg appeared on the stage. “We know who the hardcore fans are…” He told us that unfortunately the rest of the show would be cancelled, but that he hoped moe. would still play their final set. At that moment I was completely soaked. I could not have been wetter if I had fallen into a pool with all my clothes on. We luckily snagged a golf cart ride back to our camp and got dry knowing there was little chance that moe. would be able to perform.
We got a good night’s sleep and awoke to the aftermath of the storm. Tents and gear were scattered all around the grounds and people were desperately trying to get their cars out of the now rut ridden lot. We loaded up our gear and got on the road back to Chicago. The festival seemed to just fizzle out rather than end with the bang many of us are used to. That being said with that much rain and lightening there is little that can be done, and ultimately the safety of the patrons is paramount to the music. Like I said before, I give credit to the promoters of Summer Camp that really only two sets of music were cancelled all weekend. The fact that we encountered so much rain, it would be easy to understand more shows getting cut. This was not the case, because of a high level of organization and perseverance by the staff. Sure we got some mud, but that was a minor inconvenience compared to all the amazing music I witnessed over the course of four days. Memorial Day Weekend in central Illinois is a crap shoot weather-wise. This year we got rain, last year we got sun, that is part of the overall experience at Summer Camp. However no one can complain about the musical collaboration that took place and the wonderful experiences shared by thousands at a tiny park in the middle of miles and miles of farmland. Until next year Summer Camp… Cheers.
Well Summer Campers,
It has been a week since I had the time of my life at Summer Camp Music Festival. It’s crazy to think of all the cool things I was able to be a part of as a Counselor in Training.
I went back and read my first blog to remind myself of my pre-fest expectations and it is hysterical how off I was! I don’t think there is any way I could have prepared to be a CIT. After 9 years of coming to Summer Camp, I really wanted to share all the essential parts that make me come back again and again. While music is a huge factor, the food, vending, vibe, and sense of community is unlike any festival I have ever been to.
This year I experienced how the fest operates first hand and I met a ton of amazing people who help pull all the parts together in order to give us all a home away from home on Memorial Day weekend. Without their dedication and hard work, Summer Camp would have ceased to exist many years ago. After talking with them and seeing their passion for Summer Camp, it is clear this fest will be around forever.
So based on my experiences, these are the real Summer Camp Counselors…
Mike Armintrout organizes the vendors, helps craft the line up, books artists, and oversees operations throughout the fest. He has been with Summer Camp since it’s very first year and is extremely passionate about providing Summer Campers with a well rounded festival experience. Most of the vendors that come to Summer Camp return every year thanks to Mike’s hard work and dedication. With the help of Ian Goldberg of Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment and Don Sullivan of Jam Productions, he carefully craft lineups that provide Summer Campers with an amazing variety of music year after year. If you ever wondered whose decision it was to book Lettuce, Big Boi, and Trey Band all on the same day, these are your men.
Vanessa Robinson is in charge of the Green Team and Make a Difference, which encompasses sustainability, non profits, volunteers, Soulshine and accessibility. She is the person to thank for the Live Art Gallery, raffles, treasure hunt, and the private Everyone Orchestra show held in the barn on Sunday. While she has a ridiculous amount of responsibilities, she runs Summer Camp like a BOSS! Every project she is a part of is well thought out and geared towards promoting a healthy Summer Camp community.
Gabrielle Falconer is in charge of media, marketing, and publicity for Summer Camp. This lovely lady is the main contact for all photographers, videographers, and press. In other words, she makes sure the fest gets documented so Campers can relive their favorite moments over and over again. Gabrielle is also the person who provides communication between the fest and those that attend it through social media like Facebook and Twitter. It is her job to let us know about changes in the line up, when ticket prices go up, or where to find some awesome videos from our favorite sets at Summer Camp.
Daniyel Turner and Graham Sauser run the Summer Camp Counselor Program with the help of their intern, Adam. These gentlemen worked diligently to get the Camp Counselors and CIT’s their most sought after interviews, made sure we had everything we needed to make the best blogs for the fest, and even carted us around from time to time so we didn’t have to miss our favorite music. Without their help, I would have never gotten the chance to interview Karl Denson or Allie Kral, sit in the photo pit while Umph raged “All in Time”, or witness all the hard work it takes to put on an amazing fest like Summer Camp. There are over a dozen bloggers and cameramen they take care of throughout the weekend in order to share the Summer Camp experience with the rest of the world.
I can not tell you enough how awesome this festival family is. The effort they put forth to enhance our experience is something I have never witnessed before. I find it funny that I have been to Summer Camp so many times and yet it never occurred to me that there was such a small group of individuals pulling all the pieces together behind the scenes. I can not thank them enough for providing me with the most amazing memories and helping me feel like a kid again every year at Summer Camp.
Friday night walking to the first Umphreys set I saw my shoes came untied. Since I was excited to get to the show I made the rash decision to wait and tie it once I got there (I like to live on the edge). A little later down the trail I ran into a group of girls that I started to chat with. It wasn’t long at all before they noticed my shoestrings and decided they needed to inform me of my situation, like i couldn’t see it. So sarcastically I tell them that I never learned to tie my shoes. I said that I thought shoestrings were just a fad and eventually everyone will move to Velcro. Velcro is obviously the better choice. These girls ate it up, the closest one bent down and tied my shoes for me while reciting, “See? You do the loop d loop and pull.” I just stood there flabbergasted. Never in my life have I witnessed such kindness paired with such cluelessness. I never even ended up coming clean about it. I think she must have figured it out by now though….right? The story would be so much more funny if she found out by reading this. I hope you are reading this shoe tying girl from Louisiana .