Summer Camp Music Festival continues to be one of the most diverse and interesting festivals still operating today. In an era were events come and go Summer Camp has been a constant going strong for their thirteenth year. This year plays host to yet another incredible lineup that is sure to please any music fan. One of the nice things that the organizers of this festival do that is rarely talked about is the way they break up the performances. Any festival is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type experience, but oftentimes fans of specific genres of music are left with tough decisions on whether to see on show or the next. At Summer Camp sure there is some overlap as there are at all music festivals, but for the most part they try to make it easy. By having say a bluegrass band, an electronic act, a jam band, a local group all playing at the same time you can see the show you want without missing too many of your preferred sets. With six stages not to mention the VIP bar stage there is plenty to see and do at any given moment.
Many of the events that have gone on throughout the years are back again with a few new features that are sure to add to the experience. Favorites like The Kid’s Camp, Field Day, and The Make A Difference drives culminating with the Everyone Orchestra Performance are all back. New this year there will be a Masquerade troop featuring hoopers, fire throwers, dancers, and more. The members of the troop will be paired up with specific musicians to add a visual element to their live performances. Also Make A Difference is expanding by including a Live Art Gallery for live painters at the festival. These little touches and that fact that the organizers are always expanding on them are a big part of what makes Summer Camp such an amazing experience. Kyle Hess has been named the 2013 Summer Camp Counselor making him the third ever in a short but prestigious lineage. Both of the previous counselors and several CITs will be making it back along with an entirely new crop of CITs for 2013.
Musically the lineup is top notch. Of course Summer Camp staples moe. and Umphrey’s McGee will headline again this year, but there’s so much more. Fan favorites Family Groove Company, Cornmeal, Floodwood, Brainchild, and The Henhouse Prowlers will all be there to share in the groove again this year. Electronic fans will be happy to know Zed’s Dead, Big Gigantic, STS9, and Thievery Corporation are all on the bill for 2013. Personally I am most excited about the inclusion of Trey Anastasio Band, which continues the SCamp tradition of having a huge Sunday headliner.
Words To The Wise: Make sure you bring all the essentials for proper festival raging. Sunscreen and rubber boots are must haves, but also be sure to bring plenty of water and food. Check your gear before you get to the festival to make sure your tent is in proper festival condition. Get plenty of rest prior to Summer Camp as you will most likely get very little sleep over the four days. Know that you are driving into central Illinois and police presence will be high on the way in. They will have dogs and they will search you if you get pulled over. Illinois 55 was the preferred way in, but it seems that State Patrol is savvy to this and that was where they seem to be focusing their attention. As Bayliss pointed out last year during the UM soundcheck on Thursday, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Know your limits and know when to rest. It’s easy to get caught up the excitement of the weekend and the next thing you know you’re dehydrated and in no condition to continue the party anyway. The residents of Chillicothe love Summer Campers by the way. They know how much money we bring in and tend to want us to come back. I recommend stopping by a local restaurant on Monday on your way out. You’d be surprised at the warm reception you’ll receive. Also there is a shopping center just up the road from the festival grounds, so if you forget something it’s fairly easy to hop in your car and pick up some essentials. Finally be prepared for any an all weather. Anything from rain to a blazing sun is a possibility so being equipped with warm clothes as well as summer attire is smart.
Summer Camp is a chance for all types of music fans to come together and bask and the beauty and wonder of Three Sisters Park. New friendships will be made, amazing collaborations will happen, and music will fill the air. Be safe and enjoy the ride.
There is something truly special about those small festivals that have local bands and small crowds. From the very moment we arrived at Beesonstock in Cisne, Southern Illinois, we already became friends with our neighbors to the right; and within a few more minutes became friends with our neighbors to the left. Both nights we arrived towards the late afternoon; enjoying the waning daylight and just slightly cooler weather.
Probably the most distinctive characteristic was the size of this festival, having only one small, wooden stage where all the bands played. I also have to say it was nice to be able to bring your own food and drinks; especially when the whole weekend, including camping cost $20! With a total attendance of 650, the venue was comfortable whether you stayed near the stage or took a break by your car as you played Cornhole, Hillbilly Golf or tried out twin hoops for the first time. Again, this environment just promotes a friendly, almost family-like camaraderie among the attendees.
Mostly local bands play this event, some with great promise. To be honest of the line up this year, I only knew of one band, The Smoke Rings, and they ended the first night with a great performance. It is refreshing to see a woman, Stephanie Smith, rock out the lead vocals. Though the entire band’s talent is evident, especially when they play their originals. The other band that really stuck out on Friday was the South Street Jam Band, especially when they covered one of my favorite bands Tool, with a great rendition of “Sober.”
I was expecting the number of people to increase tremendously on Saturday, but though the number of people did increase, it really wasn’t evident until later on in the night. Even then, it remained the perfect number that allowed everyone plenty of space to get their groove on. The different bands each brought their own sound, and it was a great mix, guaranteed to satisfy any musical palate. Downstate brought a fresh reggae sound to the event, while Cluster Pluck was more traditional blue grass and then SMASH! gave us an electronica, Soundtribe-like jam.
Overall it was a great time and a ton of fun. I feel like I am a culprit of seeking out those bigger festivals with all the big names; but that I shall be no longer! That special something that these small local festivals have is something I urge all of you to check out for yourselves. You will meet some cool people, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and definitely find some new bands to follow. Rock on Beesonstock, Rock on.
If you’re from Missouri or Illinois, I’m sure you’ve heard of or have seen Aaron Kamm and the One Drops. They are an act that no reggae, blues, or jam band lover should miss! AKOD have been around for over 4 years and have 3 studio albums out titled The Bomb and the Beast, grow, and gnu-gnu. I have all 3 albums, so if you want to check them out just ask me! Aaron Kamm himself plays guitar in which he shreds the most intense blues solos and is lead vocals with his soulfully smooth voice. The One Drops include the talented Andy Lee Dorris on bass and the Sean Raila on drums who plays beats faster than you can say “one drops!” They tend to play a couple times a month in St. Louis making them a key staple to the ever growing St. Louis music scene. They also have played several smaller festivals in Missouri and Illinois, and hit up Edwardsville, IL, Columbia, MO and Carbondale, MO at least once a month. I’ve seen them way too many times to coun, but my favorite time seeing them was in southern Missouri at Bearcat Getaway campground after a long day of floating. This is one band that I definitely would watch in 2013 since their shows are getting more and more packed by the month. So if you like reggae, blues, jam, and love to dance, then I suggest you get yourself to one of their shows soon! If you want to a taste of their sound, click here!