At the end of every summer, you usually sit back and recap. You remember swimming at the lake everyday for two weeks straight. You remember those long car rides to those amazing shows just for the night. You remember sitting by the campfire as you and a bunch of good friends bs until after the sun comes up. I remember Summer Camp Music Festival. Ever since I started going to Summer Camp, I have smiled and laughed as I look at the ridiculousness of everything and how it can never be forgotten. Well, this year was no different than any other but I have to say it was better. I had the amazing opportunity as Camp Counselor In Training and I cannot thank Holly, and the folks at Summer Camp, enough for giving me the opportunity to learn more about the festival and the people it brings.
That was one of the amazing aspects of Summer Camp this year, the people. The festival (I’m pretty sure) doubled in just one year and that is just crazy to me. You have to admit for a fan base to double in just one year is spectacular; they are doing everything right and always have. from The Green Team pickup crew, to all the amazing music that is brought to us for our viewing pleasure, I truly think it is a remarkable place.
Now lets recap on this year alone and the things that stuck out to me. Where to begin? How about with the music that brings us to this weekend of joy?You have your awesome headliners like moe., with their crowd pleasers like Captain America, and Umphrey’s McGee playing some of their new songs off the album coming in September (and not to mention hookin up with Huey Lewis) You have your regulars like Keller Williams who opened his set with Ninja, Cornmeal who played at least 3 sets throughout the weekend (cant say for sure because I couldn’t make it to them all) and Yonder Mountain String Band who got me super pumped when I heard my first No Expectations. And then you get to the great treats that you hope to come back.
This year, I personally think the biggest excitement was Widespread Panic and the Everyone Orchestra with artist such as Kyle Hollingsworth, Al Schnier, Natalie Cressman, along with a group of other amazing artists. The thing that sticks out to me the most thinking about the Everyone Orchestra is what you had to do to see them. Summer Camp came up with an amazing idea for the fest goers. You see, you didn’t buy a ticket, you didn’t win one, you simply had to do things like pick up cig butts , take part in recycling, turn in bags for recycling and things of that nature that would not only promote you, but help keep the festival clean and do your part to help respect and preserve the
earth. I think that was a great idea and cant wait to see what Summer Camp comes up with next. As you can tell, I named off mostly jam bands. I’m not big into the dubstep or electronica scene but Summer Camp still has it. Featuring bands such as STS9, Big Gigantic, EOTO and Bassnectar , you know, the big wigs who know how to make a crowd go CRAZYYYYY. These were a good handful of the memorable music related memories that I will remember at least until next year when I do it all again.
Now, you want to talk aspects of the festival I can’t forget like the rain and mud. Yes, it sucked. Yes, it was cold, but man did it bring a lot of joy to a lot of people. From purposely mud sliding to accidentally mud sliding, I got a kick out of people falling into that thick juicy mud. I wont forget the mud sliders in the woods only feet away from our campsite or hearing about a friend who drank too much and slipped on his way back to camp to sleep. We all got a good chuckle in when he returned to camp super pissed and full of mud. The Sunday morning storm was awesome. I have never been in a tent during a thunderstorm and I personally loved feeling like I was up in the sky as it happened. May sound weird but it was pretty relaxing. The storm and the mud was fun, but the people made the festival. So many faces from all over the country. In our group alone we had people from Colorado, Wisconsin and New York. I met people from Indiana, from Tennessee from here, from there. It was pretty cool.
Everyone was nice and respectful. I personally didn’t see any altercations or brawls and that is exactly what I would hope to get from a fest, a comfortable safe environment. An environment with happy faces. I won’t forget the faces at Ryan Stasik of Umphreys playing kickball with us in the wee hours of the a.m. Yes that was fun. I was happy I made it this year and I’m sure Stasik and his team were very pleased when they took the victory. (by the way, they came prepared this year with more than one ball so no one could steal it again).
Recaping my recap, Summer Camp 2011 rocked my socks off. Well, I didn’t have socks, just mud but you know what I mean. it was EPIC. The lineup could not have gotten any better, the crowds could not have been any more energetic and high spirited and the experience could not be replaced with anything else in my book. I met some amazingly fun people who I wish I could have spent more time with ( Joe, Jon, Taraleigh, Jeff and Nick). And thanks again to Holly and Summer Camp. Without you, I don’t think my experience would have been so rewarding. Now everyone…..check out the fest, you won’t be displeased.
Counselor In Training
Sunday, the technical last day of the fest and I feel like I didn’t get my fix. This was the day to go all out and enjoy everything for what it’s worth. But not today, we woke up to a rain/thunderstorm which sucked but was sweet at the same time. It’s really cool to be that close to thunderstorms because you are so much more connected in a tent then you are in a house you know what I mean, but the rain turned all the mud into soup which caused me to retire the one and only pair of shoes I brought. I ended up going barefoot the rest of the fest but so was about 50% of everyone else so I felt I fit in pretty well. The rain also created a pretty sweet mud slide about 75 feet away from our campsite. Two ballsy people where mud sliding in their skivvies. On my way to a meeting I had I happened to line up right next to the guy right as he was belly flopping in the mud and got sprayed a little more than I wanted to but oh well. It’s not like I hadn’t had any mud on me at all throughout the weekend.
The mud not only created fun but a little bit of sorrow as well, it stalled the music. The set I was looking forward to the most was the Umphrey’s McGee and Huey Lewis set and it got a bit postponed. I was pretty bummed out about that but the set was everything you could ever hope for. Starting off with an All In Time and then followed by songs such as Women Wine and Song, Up on Cripple Creek, and I’m pretty sure I remember hearing some of the Ghost Busters theme song. I was pretty disappointed I still have never seen a live Front Porch and was hoping this would be the year but they say patience is a virtue ( I have no patience). This was a pretty big day for the Dubstep/Electronica shows. All the biggies played like Skrillex, Bassnectar, Eoto, Chalice Dubs Masquerade, not to mention Sound Tribe playing the late night. Im not real big into that style of music but I can still appreciate it. Bassnectar was absolutely epic, he played at the Moonshine stage and everyone went crazy. SOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE, it was a great turn out.
By the time the end of the night came I was absolutely pooped but that didn’t stop me from staying up a bit longer to enjoy the people of the fest. I ended up sitting at the end of our little lighted trial with a blinking light bubble gun. Yeah, it is a frickin sweet gun. So I sat at the end of the trail and bammed people, it was fun. Now if you have never been bammed by someone or bammed someone all you have to do is have a super sweet light or glow stick of some sort. You then take that stick or light and point it at someone and yell BAM!!!!! You then explain that they were bammed by the best and go on your merry may. It might sound lame or childish but hey when you catch people off guard it’s soo funny. I actually sat and did that for a good hour or more and personally I thought it was great. Now to sleep and prepare for the pack and haul back in the early morning, a sat night to come but he had to come eventually right.
Counselor In Training
Sunday was destined to be a weird day. The weather projections had been
strange throughout the week and ended up being completely right, it was strange – I’m getting ahead of myself. I woke up with my friend in my tent who asked me if someone had slashed or cut his tent. This bothered me and so we went to investigate, I mean who would cut up a tent? We got to the tent and sure enough the window had been cut open. A bit dismayed we asked his girlfriend if she knew anything about it and she said, “Yeah, last night I had to pee and I couldn’t figure out how the door worked. Actually I’m not sure if I opened my eyes.” She had woken up needing to pee desperately. The door zipper was either stuck or she just couldn’t figure it out – So she ripped a whole through the tent window so she could make it to the bathroom. This is when she was awarded the MVR, Most Valuable Rager. Outrageous.
We decided to go get a coffee at the Sunshine Stage and while waiting in line we
noticed one hell of a front rolling in. The clouds were just gigantic, the wind was
picking up and it looked like everything was about to turn to shit. So I headed back to the campsite, ran into Nick Stock on the way and told him everything was about to turn to shit. We tried to put as much of our stuff away as we could and hunkered down with a few 12 packs to wait the storm out. We were in the forest so the wind wasn’t as bad, but it rained like hell. And I turned out to be right – everything had turned to shit. We walked quickly to the Main Stage trying to catch the Wood Brothers, and instead we saw a pool, and a couple of kids dragging each other around on sleds. The rain had been so fast and so hard the ground had become sludge. We waited it out and by the time Bela Fleck and the Flecktones came on the Stage was ready. Well maybe, I’m not sure what you could to prepare for the Flecktones. Good God – these guys were just awesome. Bela Fleck- please come back to Camp, we need you.
I ditched Bela Fleck a little early (I know I can’t believe it either) to catch another
living, legend, Huey Lewis. I grew up listening to Huey Lewis and the News on every
family vacation and seeing him play with Umphrey’s was a real treat. While dancing
around at the rUMors show I found some people who had just given into the mud. They were covered head to toe. They had given in. I on the other hand decided to struggle to stay clean, what a waste of time.
Later that night, after scarfing down some more CeVapCiCi, we caught a little bit
of moe., and then headed off for some awesome, Widespread Panic. I still can’t believe that moe., Yonder, and Widespread were at the same fest. It gives me a jam orgasm just thinking about it. Anyway, Widespread started a little lated and we were standing in four inches of sludge and we had the best time of our lives! Widespread closed with Protein Drink/Sewing Machine and I had goosebumps. I raged so hard that my neck was sore for days afterward. And I would definitely do it again.
We headed back to moe. who closed with Rebubula which was amazing and we
made our way to the Wood Brothers. And thank God the Wood Brothers were playing. The earlier set had been canceled for the storm. There were some sound issues, but once they were on – they were on! I went in and caught some of EOTO, and they “covered” Say My Name by Destiny’s Child – I was in heaven. I came back out to the Wood Brothers, and Oliver Wood said, “You’re almost there, tomorrow you get to shower.” And he was right. The played Luckiest Man and I thought if I died right now, I could be happy.
The next morning, well it sucked. But Mondays normally suck and why would this
one be any different, right? It was humid and tempers were high, but I got my shower, and the experience of a lifetime. Thanks Scamp, and Scampers, I’m not good at goodbyes, so, “That’ll do pig.”
Counselor In Training
I am so grateful that Summer Camp’s venue is chock full of woods for your camping
pleasure. Besides the fact that the trees are beautiful, they provide excellent shade and you will never be “smoked” out of your tent from the blistering sun. This allows you to sleep in if you choose and on Sunday that is exactly what I chose to do. Upon rising I was about to be treated to learning a new trick. Before I tell you about the trick I know that it is not environmentally sound and probably not too good for your insides…but it was pretty freakin cool. My friends were making omelets and didn’t want to mess up a pan so they had freezer bags. They handed me a freezer bag with a couple of beaten eggs in it and told me to put some fixins in there like feta cheese, spinach and broccoli. I did and they sealed up the bag and placed it in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. When they were done they slid out the perfect omelet onto a plate and handed me a bottle of “Ass in Space” hot sauce. How awesome is that?!?! Ahhhh the things you learn at Summer Camp.
Shortly after the omelet extravaganza it started to get really windy. The clouds were
moving at crazy fast speeds and the sky was a strange shade of yellow. People started
cracking jokes like, “It looks like a scene from Twister 3: A Twister Hits a Festival” and “I don’t think we’re at Summer Camp anymore.” Shortly after that it started down pouring and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. It gave me the opportunity to stare into space for about an hour and think about all that I have experienced. It is exactly what I wanted to do at that exact moment so thank you mother nature. After the storm had passed we made a mad dash for the bathrooms and saw how muddy everything had gotten. At first I thought wearing my gold lame’ rain boots would be a good idea, but it started to feel like I was walking through cement as my
boots were getting suction cupped to the ground.
I am extremely afraid of worms (like I seriously freak out when I see them even though
they are good for the earth and great for composting) so the thought of walking barefoot in mud terrifies me. After some convincing by some barefoot warriors I decided to try it and it was the best idea ever. It felt awesome and I couldn’t have gotten a better mud wrap for my feet at an expensive salon. I was ready to move and groove and squish and squash through the mud to some music.
It was one fabulous band after another! You know life is good when your hardest
decision is which amazing bands to see today. The Wood Brothers, Bela Fleck, The Avett Brothers, Bruce Hornsby, EOTO, moe., Bassnectar and more moe. were some of the bands I chose! While I was walking to Bela Fleck my friend Courtney said, “I hear Al singing sweet songs to me in my ear.” I thought she was a little cooky until I heard Rob’s sweet bass thump in my ear! What is going on? There was a secret moe. acoustic set happening in one of the tents is what was going on. What a sweet surprise! That is something Summer Camp is good at. Always giving us surprises at every corner and keeping us on our muddy toes.
I left my favorite music experience of the day until last. It was Huey Lewis and the
rUMors. If you don’t know who the rUMors are they are Umphrey’s McGee with a horn section. Can it get any better than that? I’m not sure. Maybe if all four members of Phish were playing and Huey Lewis, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffet all sat in together to play “You Make My Dreams Come True.” Getting to see Huey perform with my friends in Umphrey’s was a dream come true for me. Huey gave me everything I wanted and gave it to me over and over. I am a huge nerd and sang loudly the words to every song and often screamed, “I love you Huey!” Yup…I was that girl. If I wore panties I totally would have thrown them at him.
As you can tell I love Summer Camp. If I had to give one reason of why I love Summer
Camp and I had to tell you right now right here I would have to say that I love it because I didn’t see one worm the whole time. Ha!
Counselor In Training
By Saturday Morning I was into my routine at Summer Camp 2011. I planned to rendezvous with my P-Town friends at Yoga around 10 AM This meant that I only got about five hours of rough sleep, which was intermittently, interrupted by the DJ at the next campsite. I will say that he played on tiny speakers so it was actually fairly enjoyable despite the fact that I kept waking up to it. I rose around 9 a.m. and let Amy sleep in while I got cleaned up at the Barn. I headed over to the Soulshine Tent around 10 a.m. and started taking some photos. There was actually a decent-sized crowd in attendance. The instructor talked about balance and structure with your body’s dance and movements. I tried to take that to heart for the rest of the weekend. I met up with Joe and Angie and headed to their RV to charge my Flip Camera.
Afterwards I made my way over to Ben and Erin’s Bus to copy off my cards and clear up some space. They graciously let me borrow their macbook so I could get that accomplished. Thanks guys. I hit up the press meeting around 12:30 and took the extra time to upload my content to Holly. It was only Saturday morning and I had already taken over 2000 photos and a ton of video.
I found out later in the day that Amy went and caught Gaelic Storm; she let me know they were a very interesting act. While doing research I learned that this is the same band that is featured in the Titantic steerage party scene. In addition to coving Paul Simon’s Cecilia they combined elements of traditional Irish/Celtic music with elements of rock, pop, and world I will definitely have to catch them next time they come to Colorado.
I ended up hanging out with the CITs for a few minutes before heading over to the Field Day activities going on at the 312 Vibe Tent. Red Team was definitely in attendance. I met up with my Purple brethren that included Chief, Will, and our captain Mike among others. I will say that purple was a small presence and I was not too happy about that. Obviously events were spread out through the day and some logistical issues caused some of the competitons to be rescheduled, but overall I was very impressed with this element of Summer Camp and how it was run. It was a fun distraction from the festival and a good way to get a little exercise. I arrived as they were getting set for Capture The Flag. They were a man short so I jumped in, I was tagged out in the first round but Purple won and moved onto the finals. We faced the Red Team but by trying to out maneuver and patiently wait for our spot we forced a sudden death. Will grabbed the flag and ran it over the line for the win. It was literally a millisecond before the Red player, but it was enough for the victory. I got set for tug-o-war next. I was the anchor but having lost a few pounds I guess I was not the giant stone that I once was. We were simply shredded by the Yellow team. It was a good time and with a record of 1-1 for the Field Day I made my way over to Euforquestra’s set.
Heis, Euforquestra’s manager and long time Summer Camp coordinator and I conspired to have me introduce the boys from Iowa for their 3rd time playing the festival. You can see that video here.
It was definitely cool but not nearly as intimidating as giving the intro for moe. the day prior. As the video points out I have a little biased towards Euforquestra having been in school at U of I while they were there as well. I was just lucky enough that the band decided to make a move to Colorado so I get to see them a ton and it’s always a great show. Within the last couple years they have revamped their rhythm section moving Grasso to drums and putting Ben Soltau on bass. It took them a second but they are playing so tight now it’s disgusting. They are a great foundation on which the rest of the band blends blues, reggae, funk, Afro-Cuban, and world music. They opened with a sick Cause A Reaction as soon as I finished my introduction. A massive version the Zalatel penned Free into their now classic ode to grandma’s cooking; Soup. Throw in a little Talking Heads and we have a pretty great set of music. Thanks Euforquesta.
I walked by Wiz Khalifa on my way to Slightly Stoopid. The kids seemed be having fun but I was looking for a different brand of hip-hop infused goodness. I have listened to a number of Stoopid recordings and just never really got it, well I have to say that SS is best ingested in a live setting. They have a serious ability to interact with the crowd and as the sun poked out for minute I got a chance to see them shine. It was a bouncy set with elements of punk, hip-hop, and straight rock. You can see a recording I did of Baby I Like It, here.
After Slightly Stoopid we walked towards Girl Talk and noticed a ton of people on stage and what looked like rolls of toilet paper spewing into the photo pit and onto the crowd. I headed to the camp and listened from there. We went back to the Moonshine Stage for Kdubalicious featuring Keller Williams.
Keller is a Summer Camp veteran if there ever was one. Having performed at 9 out of the 11 total, for me he will always be indelibly linked to this Midwest festival. This year was special in the sense that he was playing with his newly formed band Kdubalicions with Keller on bass, Jay Starling on keyboards, and Mark D on drums. I thought it was interesting to have Keller on bass which added an almost lounge-y feel so some of his classic songs. From the Feel Like a Stranger Kdubalicion played with Al to the Tell Me Something Good with Chuck Garvey, they began to feel more like a house band with rotating guitarists than their own entity. You can see the video I caught of Freeker into Golden Road into Freeker here.
I found the funky reggae-infused stylings of Kdubalicious to be exactly what my Saturday evening needed. I ended at the top of the hill between Keller and Umphrey’s watching for them to take the stage.
On the docket was a double-decker moe. and Umprhey’s sandwich that I was ready to take a big bite out of. Umphrey’s came out with Jazz Odyssey and given the fact that they kept going back into it throughout the entire weekend it almost felt like their theme song at Summer Camp 2011. That Jazz Odyssey really tied the room together did it not? … I digress. Here is the setlist from Phantasy Tour.
SET I: Jazz Odyssey> 40’s Theme, Conduit> Jimmy Stewart> Conduit, Divisions, Go To Hell, Puppet String*, JaJunk
SET II: Jazz Odyssey> Bridgeless> No Comment> Bridgeless, Forks*, Plunger> Glory> Hajimemashite> Plunger, Hurt Bird
ENCORE: Booth Love**, Live and Let Die***
*First Time Played (Original)
**with Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret Horns
***First Time Played (Paul McCartney & Wings)
You can hear the audience recording from Archive.
Thanks to tonedeaf for the post.
The two sets Umprhey’s McGee played on Saturday night were high water marks for the weekend. The musicianship of these guys never ceases to amaze me. They are perhaps the most technically proficient jamband touring today. They can stop on a dime and pick it up and put it in the meter. Jake got gritty on 40’s Theme and a busted Conduit with Jimmy Stewart in the middle was my highlight of the first set. Divisions was just too big, clocking in at over twenty minutes and Bayliss’s prog was showing. It’s songs like Go To Hell when I feel that the Death Metal moniker for UM is appropriate. I mean sure it’s laced with delicate playing as well but that song gets scary. You can see what Kris Myers had to say about that question here.
I was just getting used to the Flip so it’s a little shaky but the questions are still good. Moving on.
So as not to confuse subjects I will stick to my UM review then get to moe. Second set on from UM on Saturday was just exceptional. Once again Jazz Odyssey reared its head to open but went for an extended journey through Bridgeless to Not Comment and back into Bridgeless again. Showing their musical dexterity in that run the No Comment was just plain sick. Forks was a new song and it was okay, I feel like this song needs some more road testing before it really will blow the crowd away. The Plunger bookended Glory into Hajimemashite was the peak of the show as far as I’m concerned. Hurt Bird closed the second set nicely.
They encored with an unbelievable Booth Love featuring Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret Horns and the brass meshed with this song incredibly well. They rounded out their show with a cover of Paul McCartney & Wings’ Live And Let Die. This just was a giant punctuation mark to the night. I was totally happy with how UM handled their second night at Summer Camp. Well played gentlemen.
Rewinding to moe. The first set of on Saturday was my second of three onstage sets. So I got to watch from the side of the stage with the rest of the moe.ron elite. The boys came out and gently eased everyone in by opening with Wind It Up. I thought that was an appropriate opener, here is the rest of the setlist from PT.
SET I: Wind It Up, Tubing The River Styx> The Pit, Understand, Smoke*, Sensory Deprivation Bank, Waiting For The Punchline> Haze
SET II: Crab Eyes**, Buster, Skrunk> Lazarus> McBain> Recreation Chemistry
You can download the audience recording on Archive.
Thanks to Bean again, for posting.
The Pit was huge with a solid extended jam to begin with, and Understand was pretty straight. You can watch it from the stage and synced up the audience recording here.
Smoke was a new song debuted at Summer Camp and I have to say I liked it quite a bit. It has a carnival-inspired springiness, but the juxtaposition of the referentially serious lyrics with the music is pretty powerful. Nice work Al. Sensory Deprivation was my highlight of set one mainly because of Rob’s funky bass. They finished up with Punchline into Haze, which pumped up the crowd before they exited.
For their second set all five members of moe. came back onstage to small music stands and stood at the front . I was baffled as to what was happening but when the first notes of Crab Eyes floated out over the crowd it was obvious that moe. was making a statement. I like to think it’s a little nod to the other electronic acts almost as if to say, “See we can play on computers too.” The most eye-opening aspect of this is that on the recording other than a few slower transitions the Crab Eyes is spot on. They went into a fantastic Buster that lasted almost 15 minutes. I love this song and every time I hear “Pig Can Fly” I smile. The Skrunk> Lazarus> McBain> Recreation Chemistry section is the reason I see moe. It was jaw-dropping; I caught the beginning of that run on video from the crowd, which you can watch here.
That Lazarus was sublime but the Rec Chem was absolutely enormous. moe. came back to encore with a crowd-rumbling Captain America. Great choice and I remember the two brahs behind me arguing whether the encore would be Plane Crash or Captain America. Brah number one was correct.
After catching moe. late night in the barn on Friday I was pretty sleepy so I handed off my pass to CIT Jeff Greenswag, who went in to see Big Gigantic and Lotus at the Red Barn. Keep on eye on his posts for some detailed electronic coverage. I watched a bit of Cornmeal on the Campfire Stage before heading back down the trail to my tent. I had one more day as the first ever Summer Camp Counselor and Sunday would prove to be a non-stop adventure. Stay tuned.
You can see all of my photos from Saturday at Summer Camp here.
Friday ended up being a very late night – I mean any night that has bluegrass ‘til 3 am is probably gonna be a late night for me. Anyway, it took some work to get off the mattress and into the world that is Summer Camp. So after eating something a few friends and I headed out to see my hometown heroes, Rebirth Brass Band. And like always, I enjoyed the hell out of it. They are truly marching band virtuosos who have created and improvised blend of funk, jazz, and marching tunes that’ll make your ass move. I’ve seen Rebirth quite a few times and they never cease to impress me, if you make it down to New Orleans you should swing on by the Maple Leaf Bar, they play there once a week. So basically, I love Rebirth. And even with that deep love of rebirth I really wanted to catch the end of Family Groove Company and get over to field day.
One of the most ridiculously funny and disgusting moments of my life happened soon after I arrived. I checked in as a pie eating competitor. In high school I had won a few eating competitions and I thought that this was something that I could definitely help the red team, “RED TEAM RAGE!” win. I was desperately wrong. The pies were not really cooked and so the mix of cold pie filling with uncooked dough was barely palatable. It was so gross. And while my friend Matt screamed encouraging words, such as “Dive your whole face into it, you fat-ass,” it was not a competition I could win. It was awful. But I would do it again for the Red!
Now that afternoon passed by with a fun set by Wiz Khalifa, not my favorite thing, but it was fun. And then we went to Girl Talk. Now I’m not a huge fan of electronic music, but I have a confession. I have a terrible guilty pleasure – pop music. I love it. And I think a lot of us do – we hear the beats from “My Pony” by Ginuwine, and you just can’t help it. And then Kelly Clarkson blows up the scene. Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure, but Girl Talk is surely a member of the boogey patrol, and throws one hell of a fine party.
That evening we caught both sets of moe. which were just amazing. They played Recreational Chemistry and just set the place on fire. One of the really fun moments we had was during setbreak. We were restless but didn’t really want to have to move our chairs and bags, so we stayed. And we began to play four square. My friend Allie made the borders out of trash on the ground and we began an epic game of four square. Strangers became friends as people pummeled the ball into corners hoping for their chance of glory. While it was unorganized, confusing, and I’m sure at times annoying – God, I love four square. During the second set of moe., I kissed everyone I knew, and a lot of people I didn’t.
And that kissing continued right on through Big Gigantic and Cornmeal. I love the campfire stage. It’s just a magical place at night. I’m so happy it’s at the bottom of the hill and that the fire’s off to the side now. It’s just the best place to end the night. Dance in the barn ‘til you can’t move anymore and then come boogey to some homey bluegrass til the wee hours of the morn. It was awesome.
Counselor In Training
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
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