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 .
Friday was way to much fun. Woke up with an early morning bite to eat. The birds were chirping, the sky was blue, and all I could think about was Moe playing at 2! So after we had made our way back to the campsite and i had a quick change of clothes we decided to go do a little wondering around and find some people to hang out with.
2:00 rolled around pretty quickly, so we headed over to Moe. Thousands and thousands of people came in all different directions came flooding in before the first guitar riffs were firing up. Kyle came out on stage to announce the first Moe set of scamp and then the place got wild.
After Moe, we went back to the campsite to make a few adjustments before heading off to the wailers. Good jams even better times. So much funky reggae everywhere it was quite a site
Unfortunately, I had to pass on yonder this year because I lost track of time inside all of the fun we were having and just totally forgot all about it. We ended up walking around till about 8 when we started to head over for EOTO. A few people who have never heard of them before asked me what the show was going to be like. I couldn’t answer them because each EOTO concert is different than the last. Everything is just open jam an I just couldnt tell them what to expect except awesomeness.
Umphrey’s, Minnesota, to tribe oh my. Always moving forward never slowing down. Music, music everywhere. Always pushing forward and have the time of my life.
Big G was one of the best sets of the night. It was super loud and hype but was comfortable chill. Makes sense huh?
After everything was done we jumped around a lot going from tent to tent, through tons of trails running into people and objects all night. I would have to say that Friday was a total success and cant wait to see how my Saturday goes.
Until next time guys and girls, stay scampy!!
Its super early in the morning. You can smell the dew from the wet grass. Sounds of excitement is roaring everywhere. Summer Camp has officially started and people are pouring in!
Entering early Thursday was a great time. We were running everywhere through the woods looking for a spot. hundreds of others were fighting for spots trying to get closer to the 4 corners. We were a little late for that but still had a blast finding a new site to camp. After we set up the site and got everything in order we had to take a much needed nap.
When we woke up we refreshed ourselves with a little bit of food. I had a gyro that was delicious of course and my girlfriend had a meaty bowl from the Chinese food stand.
Around 5 p.m. I made my way to the church to meet the other counselors and to see where I would be writing for the next couple days. Its pretty nice. I have a/c and flushing toilets so you can start being jealous now. There was a press meeting where I learned about summer camp a little more than what i did.
We left the church after the press meeting and I went and got more food. I love eating and food and eating and food and food and eating with food to eat. After we ate, me and my girlfriend made are way to the general store to get our complimentary shirt and then to the VIP lounge to get our free beer. Because everyone loves free beer. Thanks SCAMP!!!
Walking through the trails all night. Meeting new people and seeing how they got here was awesome. I met this guy named Trent who was pretty sweet. He sat nest to us out in the parking lot when we were partying and i met up and saw him again when we made it inside. Our campsite neighbors is the grassroots gang so we really didn’t get to sleep a whole lot. Oh well, we are at summer camp, who needs sleep.
We took the rest of the night pretty slow, just relaxing and getting ready for the party to start. Went and saw Minnesota at the red barn to start our festival of right. After the red barn we went back to camp site to get some rest for another day tomorrow.
Well rested now, with a nice clean pair of underwear I’m ready for my Friday!
Happy Camping everyone!!!
This Must be the Band just came through Colorado and boy was it a treat. Don’t miss them at the Soulshine Tent, 1am Monday morning, the only way to bring this festival to a close. Click HERE to check out my video blog on them!
Preparing for another ritualistic venture to Three Sisters Park; I can’t keep myself from reminiscing about last year. The whole experience was crazy, everything about it – from deciding to enter and making the video to announcing moe.’s first set. Entering the Camp Counselor 2012 Contest wasn’t even my idea to begin with – my friend randomly suggested it and I thought to myself “why not?” In all honesty I NEVER expected to win when I sent in my original video. It didn’t help that I emailed it merely two hours before the deadline would turn any chances of it happening to zero.
Summer Camp had always been special to me for many reasons – Summer Camp was not only the first festival I ever went to, but it was also the one weekend of the year which I could spend with my old best friends from college. When I, rather incredulously, realized I made the first round of candidates the significance and meaning of the prize began to actualize. I realized that winning wasn’t just going to be sweet because of the prizes, but because I was going to have the opportunity to experience unique moments that are literally, and as David Byrne’s would say, “once in a lifetime.”
The competition was pretty fierce. I was up against some great people; they all were smart, interesting and suited for the role. Luckily I had some good friends on my team and we fought harder and harder on each round. By the time it came down to the final three I even had my family in South America voting and telling their friends to vote as well. When the announcement was made and I read on the Facebook post that I won, I had to re-read it several times. It was exciting – I was going to get to meet and announce moe., interview some great people, and sit side stage for some great shows; the anticipation began to grow.
Within a few weeks I was finally on the trip to Peoria to be the 2012 Summer Camp Counselor. As soon as we put that rockstar parking pass on the rearview mirror and parked right next to the VIP entrance, I knew that weekend was going to be epic. Out of the many years of attendance, last year was the first time I had someone drive up to the car in a golf cart and take us (and our bags) up to our campsite. For the first time out of the many years of attendance I walked up to the backstage entrance behind the moonshine stage and demonstrated my “I can go back here pass.” I was nervous and terrified because I was going to announce moe.’s first set in about half an hour. Then I see Rob sitting in a golf cart, chillin behind his black sunglasses and he can see I’m nervous and I tell him why. “Oh you’ll be fine, it’s easy.” I smiled and said “Yeah, coming from someone who has just a bit more experience…”
The entire weekend was a blur of hectic sweetness. I couldn’t believe that suddenly it was Sunday. In those four days I had gotten to watch moe., Gigantic Underground Conspiracy and Umphrey’s sidestage. I got to partake in Wavy Dave’s birthday festivities and watch his cake melt in the 100 degree weather. I sat and spoke to Vinnie who gave me some drums instruction. I had the opportunity to interview the members of Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, G. Love, Wavy Dave and Kinetix. Umphrey’s signed their names to a poster which now hangs on my wall. The best moments however, were those unscheduled interactions with the people that make the festival what it is –getting insights and wisdom from Vinnie and Rob, singing Happy Birthday to Wavy Dave, talking to Ian, Rex, Holly, Danny, Graham, Nick, the Counselors in Training and the regular festival attendees who posed for pictures and gave me their personal take on the event.
Being Camp Counselor also experienced the festival in completely new way; in my effort to capture the energy of the festival, I met more people, took more pictures, and saw more varied bands than any other year. Looking back on it all I wish I had done even more. There is no real way you can prepare for the experience however, and it all happens so fast there isn’t much time to stop and plan. I wish I could relive the entire experience with the experience of it under my belt, but I can’t. All I can do is sit and reminisce about the wonderful 2012 Summer Camp weekend and smile knowing that it all actually happened.
It could happen to you too…YOU could be one of the few people on this Earth who get to live Summer Camp in this exceptional way…but you will never know unless you try.
Congrats to Kyle Hess, Camp Counselor 2013!!
For the rest of you: Start thinking of your 2014 Camp Counselor Video!!
See you soon!!
Check out the video blog here:
I was also lucky enough to interview Todd Stoops. Check out the interview here:
Hola fellow SCampers!!!
As we approach the weekend we have all been anxiously waiting for, I wanted to take a minute and give you guys a better idea of who I am and what I am going to bring to Summer Camp this year. First and foremost I want to introduce you to the people I am coming to SC with; two of the main people who you will see in my vblogs are dear, close friends of mine who actually introduced me to Summer Camp six years ago and have been there with me every year since, Derrick Lawless and Steve Bannister. Two super chill, awesome people who I met in college and am proud to say will be a part of my life for the rest of it. Come Summer Camp 2050 we will be there rockin’ it out like ever before. There are other friends of mine who are coming, Matt Weiler, Brian Buss, Christina Fountain, and Jake Kuykendall, (if you meet anyone of them, buy them a drink!) most of them are also friends from college who share the love for good music and good times.
One of the reasons that Summer Camp is the ULTIMATE most AMAZING festival is the line up. Every year I think to myself “man there’s no way this year’s line up is going to be as killer as last year’s” and every time I am proven wrong. I not only get to see the bands I already love and follow throughout the year; but there are always so many new bands that I fall in love with.
Some of this year the sets that I am looking forward to seeing for the first time are Gigantic Underground Conspiracy; an awesome compilation of artists from several bands who are sure to put on some jams you most certainly don’t want to miss. Tedeschi Trucks Band, I have always wanted to check them out and for some reason or another have never gotten the chance, with that kind of talent I know it’ll be an amazing show. Sun Stereo a sweet local Champaign-Urbana band with a distinct and fresh jazzy-rock feel, check them out in advance on facebook.
The bands that I have seen many a time before but cannot wait to check out are Lotus, went to their Halloween weekend show in Pittsburgh, PA this past year and it was out of this world good, if you haven’t checked them out – seriously it’s a show you don’t want to miss. Eoto is probably one of the bands I enjoy seeing live the most – they NEVER disappoint and manage to keep every show super fresh. Lastly can we say Talking Heads cover band? This Must be the Band is definitely one of those I gotta check out, can I put a request in? Let’s hear the Talking Heads song your band is named after =)
Alright so I have limited space and limited time and there are tons of bands I am dying to check out (like two bands not mentioned above who are among my all time favorite bands and who I get to see every year 3 days in a row ONLY at Summer Camp? that’s right…moe. and Umphrey’s), but I can’t talk about them all. So to let you know more about myself, I grew up on the Beatles, it led the way to harder rock and then jazz, such as Zeppelin and Dave Brubeck, and from there evolved further to include jam and electronic rock. I appreciate all artistry and talent, but I have a soft heart for drummers as I like to pretend I know how to jam on my used Evans drum set. I love Summer Camp for various reasons, but one of the main ones is that it was the first music festival of my life. Music has always had such an influential role in the essence of my being and there is no other festival that I feel as in touch with the tunes I love as SC. This is not your impersonal mob fest, you come to Summer Camp once and you feel like part of an extremely, extremely, large family forever.
On that note, for you first timers let me tell you some of the things I make sure to pack. For all you ladies, TP is a MUST. As glorious an experience as port-a-potties are, most of them run out of toilet paper and the best thing to do is be prepared, bring some and put a few squares (can you spare a square?) in your pocket. Next bring some trash bags, it is a privilege to use Three Sisters Park and we need to be responsible, have plenty of trash bags not just for garbage, but you never know what the weather could bring and you’d be surprised how dry one of those can keep you. Glow sticks are essential, not only do they add to the beautiful sea of lights at night on the main stage but they provide a great atmosphere for campsite hangouts. With all the great shows playing all the time, you are destined to catch some day shows and when the sun is strong some sun screen is essential! I have seen way too many people painfully red from neglecting to get their rub down, so SPF 50 it is! Finally, make sure to bring your crazy. This is a once in a lifetime experience to let go of everything that ties you down and let your true inner-self soar, so bring a happy spirit and leave your worries at home!
As your Summer Camp counselor I want you all to seek me out, let me make this your best Summer Camp yet. I want encompass the sweetness that is Summer Camp, and the only way I can do that is with your help. You fans are what keep SC alive and I want to show how we bridge the gap between the fans and the bands. Summer Camp is so much more that just music. It is about you living life; lets celebrate it.
I am going to promote some special Summer Camp spirit; my fellow moe.rons and I will be awarding fellow scampers that show special spirit throughout the festival. For example we will award the sweetest campsite, the person with the wildest outfit, the dude/dudette with the most innovative accessory or the neatest jam shout, and many many more; so let us join together and make this year the best Summer Camp EVER woop woop!!
SCampers for life!
Summer Camp Counselor Maria
For the past few years Summer Camp has fostered an amazing opportunity for local bands. It’s a chance to perform at the festival, called the On The Road tour. It’s like the minor league of Summer Camp literally feeding the fest with fresh talent. It’s a prospect for bands who could get overlooked to make a name for themselves and reach a wider audience at a national event. As Summer Camp continues to grow and cultivate a vibrant musical community they continue to be on the lookout for new bands that could be the next headliner. Last year Trichome took the honor and got to play with moe. bassist Rob Derhak at Summer Camp. Local bands perform in cities across the country and are voted on by concert attendees. The band with the most votes at the end of the night gets a set at Summer Camp. When the On The Road tour wound its way through Fort Collins, I headed down to Hodi’s to catch the show and cast my vote.
On the bill were Sun Squabi, Trichome, and The Magic Beans. Up first was Boulder electro-fusion group Sun Squabi. They were a mixture of organic playing and pre-produced electronic tracks, very much in the same vein as bands like Signal Path. They combined the electronic and the rock seamlessly, but I would say that their instrumentation fell into a minimalist realm at times relying heavily on their Macintosh computers to fill out their sound. Given their youth I was impressed with their passion and ability to mix, but the combination of their opening slot with the lack of early arrivers doomed them from the start.
Next up was the aforementioned Summer Camp alums Trichome. Brining a full horn section as well a large group of local followers, they set themselves up for a good show. They opened with a funky Hands Up, here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Hands Up, Down and Dirty, 1999, Sway, Strawberry
Trichome blends elements of funk, rock, jazz, and electronic as they whip their crowd into a frenzy of fun. Having seen them several times since Summer Camp last year, one thing I can say for sure is that they bring the energy every time they play. They tossed in a special version Prince’s 1999 that really set off their performance. They would have to wait until The Magic Beans finished to find out if they had done enough to win the slot at Summer Camp.
The Magic Beans hailing from Nederland, Colorado have been exciting crowds up and down the Front Range for the past couple years. I’ve had the enjoyment of seeing them several times. My main criticism of them is that at times they have failed to play to the crowd. However, everything was fair game tonight considering this was their opportunity to showcase their style of music. The Beans did their best to rally the troops bringing a bus up from Boulder full of fans. This show was by far their best outing I’ve seen. They focused on jamming and playing in sync and showed the crowd that they were in it to win it. Here is their setlist.
SET I: Jam> Zumbai> Lazer Lady, Mountain Sky*> Space Cadet**> Zumbai
**I Got Your Number Jam
The show basically became two long extended jams with them returning to Zumbai to close. I was very impressed and would say they left it all out on the stage and put forth a solid performance to win the spot.
In the end it was announced that Trichome pulled the win for the second year in a row and once again claimed a their place at Summer Camp Music Festival. The On The Road tour is just one more great thing Summer Camp does to spread the love and give nascent bands an opportunity. And I for one fully support it.
For those of you who don’t know, the foundation of any good music event is the street team. If you are on one, you understand what I mean. If it wasn’t for the people on the street, spreading the word, how would anyone find out about that concert? Now imagine putting together a festival…how many concerts are there? There’s got to be at least 50. And since that’s 50 times the size of one show, well we need 50 times the street team. So I implore you Summer Campers, get your street team act together. Go out to your community and tell them about summer camp.
Recently, I made a video for the Umphrey’s show that came through Denver. Check it out here and put something together of your own for Summer Camp.