And there we were, pulling up to the festival, beautiful faces, beautiful weather, getting ready to just take it all in. This is my first fest and I am absolutely shocked by the energy here. I had no expectations other than good music and good music is what we got!!! We also got some damn good food too!!! Go check the Cresent Sensations right in the middle of the main vending area. Got in at about 3 and the first show we hit was Elephant Revival, and I tell you what, that chick playing the washboard was totally groovin! I recommend that you guys check them out, they’re kind of have a new age upbeat folk sound. They were playing just at the sun was going down and if you weren’t there on Thursday, the sunset was absolutely beautiful. Next up was Trichome and if they can’t get you to get your funk on I don’t know who will. They had a sax player that ripped it up, lots of energy and big sound. From what I hear Cornmeal is where the rage begins and they kicked it off like no other. I have never heard anyone play the violin with so much passion like she did. Next two bands we hit were The Werks and Future Rock. The Red Barn shows are amazing, I highly recommend that you guys go and buy at least one late night Red Barn ticket. Its a good time that you really don’t want to miss out on.
Lets see what Friday has to offer!
On Friday at Summer Camp Music Festival things really begin to pick up. For me the day started off writing my blog from Thursday and going to the press area to upload all my photos. One of the coolest thins about being a CIT is that you get a peek at the inner workings of a music festival, and you get to see just how much hard work is put into making Summer Camp run smoothly year after year. Friday I had a busy day checking out music and spent little time at our campsite. My crew and I were able to catch:
Les Claypool and the Dead Kenny G’s
Indigo Sun at Grassroots tent late night
I want to go over some of the high points in the day for me musically. First Keller Played an amazing set including “Tweaker by the Speaker” and “Doobie in my Pocket.” Things got kicked up a notch when Al Schnier of Moe came out and played guitar on “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf. The feel good sound of Keller is the perfect music for a mid afternoon set at Summer Camp.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band played a great show at the Campfire Stage between Umphrey’s sets. Anyone who was lucky enough to catch them would not disagree that the tuxedo sporting band has been the sharpest looking band at the festival so far. The band’s name coms from the legendary New Orleans venue, Preservation Hall. Anyone who likes New Orleans Jazz will love this band.
My favorite set at the festival has so far has been Primus. They busted out some of my favorites off their new album like “Moron TV” and “Eyes of the Squirrel.” What made the set so memorable was when Bob Weir came out to perform “The Other One” by the Grateful Dead. This jam lasted for 10+ minutes and was full of energy and passion. Any time you can see a member of the Dead perform you know you are in for a treat.
Lotus was another highlight. Their performance last year in the Red Barn was one of my favorite at the festival. This year I feel the headliner spot on the Sunshine stage was well deserved. They did not disappoint playing songs like “It’s All so Clear to Me” and “Greet the Mind.” We stayed in the back for this set and chilled. There was a lot of space, and I felt like dancing so I got my groove on and enjoyed the show.
We are camped in section B like we always do. This is my favorite spot to camp because you get the Camping Stage right there to provide you with good music all day long. I am really digging the new location and size of the camping stage this year. It was always one of the smallest venues on the festival grounds even though it has consistently provided some of the best up-and-coming bands on the festival scene. It is the perfect place to stop by if you are always on the prowl for new music.
Besides music I have been lucky enough to catch up with several friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I also am meeting new people every time I wander off from my friends, and it made me realize that at Summer Camp you are never alone cause we are all a big family. It was also cool to talk to Adam Alexander, a great photographer covering Summer Camp again this year. I owe him one because he is the one who took the photo of my in my chicken hat last year that was used as the camp caption challenge contest, and all my profile photos. Check out his photos, he rocks.
Make sure you check out my photos from the festival on the Summer Camp Flikr page
Follow @chickenheadfan on Twitter to stay updated on where I am at the fest.
After shaking off the night before with some wake and bacon and eggs my Friday opened with Keller Williams on the Moonshine Stage. Front row center I was able to finally witness the extraordinary one man band do his funky bass thang and was not disappointed. I’m not sure if Keller’s facial mannerisms signal anything to the other instruments onstage, but they amused the audience as they baked in the mid-afternoon sun.
Keller came out with a black bandana draped over his mouth and moved between his three guitars and a mixing board as he started looping his masterpiece. His set highlights included a throwback gem in “Freaker by the Speaker” and bass infused covers of Cage The Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and a baritone raspy version of Flight of the Concords “I Told You I was Freaky.” Keller is so tuned into the music he adapted to minor feedback issues in the monitor by simply moving it away from the speaker. Guess that’s what is to be expected considering he’s been working with the same sound guy for 15 years. For the last song special guest Al Schnier joined Keller onstage for Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”
Our crew stepped on over to Starshine to drop by and investigate the legendary Weir, Robinson, Greene Acoustic Trio. Slinking along the VIP fence I cozied up to a patch of grass just in time to hear “Truckin” which was played beautifully as cloud cover brought a hazy calm over the crowd. “New Speedway Boogie” with Chris Robinson on vocals followed with a nice little harmonization to end the Grateful Dead classic.
The soulful southern Dead classic “Deep Elem Blues” followed with Bob on vocals and transitioned into Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” with Jackie Greene playing a mean mandolin. I left after “Uncle John’s Band” and headed towards the Campfire Stage which would be my home for the next three shows. I met up with my pals in Family Groove Company for the first course in The New Orleans Suspect. FGC went to school out in Los Angeles with one of their musicians who also plays in The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and it was a nice appetizer funk fest near the Red Barn before the main course in Elephant Revival and Cornmeal later that evening.
I had missed the Thursday sets of Elephant Revival, the five piece folk ensemble out of Colorado, and was not going to let another chance pass me by as the buzz around this band has been high. After fiddling with the sound to get things just perfect they launched into a new tune opening with “Woodstock.” Wearing long white gloves and straddling a stomp box Bonnie Paine’s feathery lilting voice brought back memories of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan. She wore a perma-smirk for nearly the entire set as she strummed her washboard to an celtic influenced sea shanty jig with Bridget Law starring on a few timely placed solos. Bridget plugged the bands release of a new song book before Sage Cook and Daniel Rodriguez provided background vocals and plucking prowess on banjo and guitar with Bonnie on lead for the water inspired “Drop.” The energy of the set was felt on a changing tempo “Old Oak River” which was played a cappella style and had a Johnny Cash type feel as the late night revelers swayed and clapped along. I’m very excited that this group is touring the summer festival circuit more extensively and will get a chance to see them again later this year at Shoe Fest.
Cornmeal’s first two sets for the pre-party I also missed out on due to schedule conflicts, but was Allie side for the annual acoustic Campfire Stage set. They brought out Elephant Revival for the first few songs. It was awesome to see Bridget and Allie smitten and smiling and showing their collective fiddle chops in addition to Wavy Dave and Sage keep the time on dueling banjos. Wavy Dave Burlingame once again had his annual Summer Camp birthday and joked around that he forgot his geritol…good thing a handle of Maker’s Mark was present to help him re-remember as he instructed “the cap be left off” to celebrate in fashion. Cornmeal brought out Giving Tree Band violinist Phil Zee for a few songs during the second half of their set. Allie and Phil chased each other taking turns on fiddle solo as Wavy and Kris kept everyone in high spirits with a menagerie of Cornmeal classics. A final special sit in occurred when Floodwood’s Jason Barady got on stage to play on mandolin. I sat there and was amazed as sandwiched between Kris and Wavy he furiously moved his fingers around the frets with ease.
Well i’m currently sitting in the Church listening to Umphrey’s McGee soundcheck for a special off the grid set for rockstar guests. I need to wrap things up so I can set up and experience my third crazy music filled day here at Summer Camp!
More pictures to come later on:
Just want to give my experience as a first timer at Scamp and a recap of Thursday.
I must say that I love the layout of Scamp. I like how there is a large distance between the main stages, making the experience even more amazing when you can focus completely on the band that you’re seeing. I especially love how you can choose you’re camping spot, where at other festivals you are given a specific spot to camp. My friends and I choose to camp in Studio Tan (F area) along the tree line across from the Moonshine stage. It’s a fantastic spot since there plenty of shade and room to spread out. I definitely enjoyed the cheap fare for the Festy Cabs, this was a lifesaver for me when I was carrying my last heavy load of camping gear. And the free tractor shuttles are amazing; I’ve never seen that at a festival before! After setting up camp, I made friends with all of my neighbors who are totally awesome! I’ve never met so many friendly people at a festival before in ONE day. Everyone is amazing and super friendly at Scamp. Also my main man happened to mention my birthday yesterday out loud when we were walking around and the people walking next to us (Jen and Rob) over heard and wished me a happy bday and gave me a free hula hoop. Here’s a pic of Jen and Rob from Chicago who had a booth at Scamp of their hoop business called Hippie Hoops. If you need a hoop, definitely check these guys out, they do an fantastic job, and they’re amazing people!
Things like this would only happen at Summer Camp!
As for Thursday, I hit up some Infantree at the Campfire stage. These guys were really young, but they totally rocked it! Next I went to the Soulshine Tent and did some yoga. The instructor’s name was Tammy and since there were only about 20 of us, she was able to walk around and help us do the yoga moves properly. Later I walked up to the Sunshine stage since I could see a band setting up, but I knew nothing was scheduled for the Sunshine stage, so I checked it out, and low and behold, I see Brendan Bayliss and the rest of Umphrey’s McGee. It was their sound check! And they played a couple songs…so amazing!
Next I saw some Cornmeal, I LOVE bluegrass and have seen them before, so they awesome as usual. Also they covered the Ted Nugent song Strange Hold. I did my best to stay out late Thursday by catching some Team Bayside High (a Chicago DJ duo) before heading to bed. They use a great mix of rock, movie themes, and modern hits. Allover, Thursday was a nice clam day with awesome surprises.
Catch ya later!
Love, hugs, and thugs,
Thursday “pre-party” sets at Summer Camp Music Festival have always, in my opinion, produced some of my favorite sets of the entire festival. Last night was no disappointment. After we got camp situated we hit the shows almost right away.
The set that popped my Summer Camp cherry this year was Spread hailing from Carbondale, IL. They have been a staple at the festival the last three years after winning the Summer Camp battle of the bands competition. They came out in full force playing some of their originals like “Chocolatte Magna Cum Latte” and even busting out a song made famous by the Grateful Dead, “Corrina, Corrina.” The will be playing numerous festivals in the midwest this summer, and often play in both Carbondale and Chicago.
The next set I caught after a brief break at my campsite to re-hydrate was Family Groove Company. As always they brought the party. Let me just confess I LOVE Family Groove Company! I don’t think there is a band that exist that is more fun to watch than Family Groove. You can feel the energy that is flowing through the band not only by the music coming from them but by the smiles on their faces! They killed it as always playing many of their best numbers including a personal favorite of mine “Professionals Here.” The intensity level kicked it up to 11 when Allie Kral of Cornmeal stepped out to play a few including “Benny and the Jets” by Elton John. I also got to check out the show with fellow Family Groove fanatic and CIT Dave Weckstein. The set ended with one of Janis Wallin’s infamous stage jumps.
As I was leaving FGC I was drawn in to the 312 Vibe Tent once again by some of the funkiest bass I have heard in a while. Spare Parts was bringing the jazz-funk to Summer Camp, they are a band to I hate to say I am not that familiar with but see that changing now. I was blown away by there sound. I am from Chicago and will be seeing them there ASAP as they frequent the local live music bars.
Digital Tape Machine was the next to play. I am a huge Umphrey’sfan and I love their side projects as well. They are self described as video game music, and I think they are selling their selves short. Their music is video game inspired, but is so much more than the typical 8-bit electronica band you have heard.
Cornmeal took the stage after dark and played an amazing set. The love for bluegrass music is alive and well here at Summer Camp. Cornmeal has been a staple here for years and the fans love them. Everyone in the crowd was on their feet dancing the whole show.
On the way to the Red Barn we caught a song from Floodwood just as they were bringing up Allie Kral from Cornmeal. It seems like everyone wants to play with Allie! She always brings the extra energy to the show!
The Werks was the last band I saw last night in the Red Barn. I really enjoyed the music they were playing. Again, this is a band I am not the most familiar with but am soon to become a super fan. I also was able to meet another summer camper with a chicken obsession, only they had their chicken strapped to their totem.
What has also made my Summer Camp extra special so far is all the Love I am receiving from you guys! I wear the Chickenhat to meet new people and have fun. If you see me out at the festival come and say hi, take a picture, give me gifts, whatever you feel like. You all are amazing and I love ya’ll!
Happy Summer Camp!
The one thing that anyone should know about Summer Camp, is that it really starts on Thursday, not Friday. This year was no exception.
Things kicked off with a pretty insane windstorm. If you were camped in the forest, you probably didn’t feel it, but anyone in open air certainly felt like they were in Twister for a while there. Canopies were toppling over, tents falling to the ground, and dust at an all-time high. But once the music started, who cared?
My day kicked off with Appleseed Collective at the Starshine Stage. For an early set as people were just setting up camp, they really pulled a great and lively crowd. Then I headed to Zeta Zune at the Camping Stage. They were a little more rock than a lot of the jam & bluegrass bands around summer camp, which was a really nice change of pace. They handed out a 6 song sampler that I can’t wait to plug in on the ride home.
We headed back to the campsite for a while to see how our compound (we call it “Camp Jorts”) fared through the wind. Unfortunately, not well – but after putting things back up, we were on our way again! Fist to quickly catch James and the Devil with our new friends from Colorado that are camping nearby. James and the Devil were really great – sort of a rock & jazzy vibe with a sound that faintly makes you think of Sublime… but with a fiddle. Trust me, it works. You know what else works? The three band members that played shirtless – no women in the crowd had a problem with that one; they were adorable.
Finally, we knew that everyone had settled in once Digital Tape Machine started ramping up. DTM is an awesome project combining artists to create original electronic music. I’ve heard that they originally started the group to create music specifically to be picked up for video games, which is pretty cool… you can totally hear that as a possibility. Cornmeal’s set with pretty much flawless, and there’s nothing like a Cornmeal dance party to get you going. The glowsticks were out, the party in full force, and everyone was ready to rage all night.
Moving into Friday, we can’t wait for the rest of the campers to arrive and get the real party going… it’s going to be a long day of back-to-back amazing sets, so keep an eye out for updates! Don’t forget to follow #scmf2012 for updates on Twitter or check out those information boards around the park.
Check out this video of what to expect in less than 4 weeks!
Can’t wait to see you all soon!
Your Summer Camp Director
We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a cell phone drive at the Cornmeal, Hot Buttered Rum and Family Groove Company show on 4/20 at the Vic Theater in Chicago. All of the cell phones will be donated to Special Olympics Illinois Area in Chicago to be recycled! The money that comes in turn from the recycled cell phones is used to purchase sporting equipment, uniforms, host tournaments and more for Special Olympics athletes and activities. This drive is part of Summer Camp Make a Difference and is also a Field Day event, so make sure you mention which team you’re supporting with each donation. Each cell phone donated will receive 1 raffle ticket for a chance to win 2 tickets to Summer Camp Music Festival and 2 tickets to the SOLD OUT UM BOWL III at the Park West in Chicago on 4/27. So start getting your old phones together and we’ll see you at the show! Get your tickets now! http://event.etix.com/ticket/online/frontDoor.jsp?performance_id=1605259&cobrand=jamusa
Also, Getting Closer tickets to Summer Camp expire at midnight on 4/20 (founder, Ian Goldberg’s birthday!!). So make sure you get your tickets now before the price increases!
Can’t wait to see you all soon!
Your Summer Camp Director
Summer Camp stalwarts Cornmeal teamed up with three year SCamp veterans Hot Buttered Rum for an epic night of jamgrass in Denver. When we saw these two bands partnered up for a show on the Front Range I knew I couldn’t miss it. Occurring on the same weekend as the Snowball Music Festival in Vail, it was questionable whether or not they would draw a big crowd. Well the masses of bluegrass aficionados from up and down the Rockies made the trek. It would prove to be a wise choice for all that came to this amazing live experience.
Cornmeal over the years has become a not to miss show when they come to town. After seeing their stellar performances at Summer Camp and State Bridge this summer, I’ve become so enamored with their sound that I find myself anticipating their Front Range shows months in advance.Their co-bill with Hot Buttered Rum only added to my excitement for this particular night at The Ogden in Denver, Colorado. I haven’t seen Hot Buttered Rum since November of 2010 and in that time Matt Butler left the band to pursue Everyone Orchestra full time and they replaced him with Lucas Carlton. He has a slightly less prominent sound in the mix but is still very accomplished his role as their new drummer. They opened with a rowdy Crest, here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: The Crest, Texas Eagle, Late In The Evening, Missoula To Miami, Squall, Let The Love Come Through, Busted In Utah, Blackberry Pie, Entangled, Fruit Of The Vine, Angeline The Baker, Ramblin’ Girl, Beneath The Blossoms, Poison Oak, Working Man
The new Hot Buttered Rum has a fresh sound and the solid energy that made me a fan of their way back when. They still tour pretty heavily but have not been as prominent on The Front Range as they have in years past. The room began to fill in as they started the show. Set up on stage right was Denver’s most renowned live painter Scramble Campbell. Scramble danced wildly as he splattered paint on the canvas. It’s great when he’s in the room; it’s even better when he is on the stage for everyone to see.
Hot Buttered Rum slayed the crowd with classics like Busted in Utah and Working Man. The room reached a fevered pitch as they finished their set, which lasted about an hour and forty-five minutes. HBR is a powerful bluegrass experience and seeing them with Cornmeal was simply stunning, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Cornmeal has truly proven to me in the last year that they are a band that will always deliver. They bust their ass in every city they play. With their high-octane jamgrassadelic style, they produce a palpable energy that is infectious. Cornmeal began the show, as they seem to do most of the time with a flurry of sound. It’s almost akin to an orchestra tuning, before they go into their first song. Their two-hour set had so many highlights and great moments. Whenever I think I’ve seen them at their best, I get a show like the one performed at the Ogden and it just blows me away.
For a band that tours relentlessly, their road tested sound continues to develop. They are so ridiculously tight that their live show leaves nothing to be desired. High points of their set included a strong I’m Coming Back Home and a huge When The World’s Go You Down. We were also treated to a jamgrass version of Steve Miller Band’s Swingtown, which saw Kris Nowak in the pocket getting his rock on. They sounded great and if they had ended there that would have been plenty, but what the crowd received was a half hour encore of Hot Buttered Corn.
(With Cornmeal and All of HBR except Lucas Carlton)
What some of my friends have called a clusterpluck it was a giant stringed hoedown that culminated with Wavy Dave singing a brilliant Sympathy For The Devil. It was a great end to a truly amazing show. The energy from start to finish is the reason why I see both of these bands. The combination of both was something I could only dream of. As I walked out of the Ogden I was buzzing form the adrenaline that built up over the course of the night. My final thought of the evening was that Hot Buttered Corn needs to do a national tour.
The icing on the cake that night was that Mr. Ian Goldberg himself was at the show. I took the opportunity to say hello and let him know how excited I was for the lineup at Summer Camp this year. He wished me well and I told him I would be seeing him a just a few short months.
We are excited to present to you our take on Sh*t Festies Say. Featuring members of moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Family Groove Company, and Cornmeal, and a few of our favorite festies.
Your Summer Camp Director