Nominated: Christian Hannon
“After I graduated high school and left my hometown, I wouldn’t have imagined keeping in touch with Christian Hannon for years to come. We were teenagers set on different paths and fair-weather friends. We would see each other via mutual friends on weekends, occasionally exchanging conversations about electronic and improvisational music. I expected him to vanish from my life after I left home for college.
Four years later, I was a college graduate and Christian and I had maintained constant contact, despite going to schools a thousand miles apart. We had attended at least one music festival together every summer following my leave from home for school. The people we surrounded ourselves with for each trip varied, but Christian and I remained constant friends and travel partners. We decided to make the dreaded 18-hour drive from Charleston, SC to the Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL for the second time, since we attended SCamp in 2011 and had so much fun. The results of that decision were the best road trip and music festival of our lives.
We left Charleston at 6pm on Wednesday with three friends in a completely packed Suburban SUV. Christian and I each drove six hours while the others, who excused themselves saying they couldn’t drive the extra-large vehicle, slept and read. The sun set as I drove northbound through South Carolina. As I drove, Christian sat in the passenger seat keeping me awake and entertained with conversation, and I did the same for him. We sang along to Michael Jackson and grooved to Break Science and Pretty Lights until the sun came up over the vast Indiana cornfields. We arrived at the festival at noon the next day, completely exhausted from having driven all night, sleeping only 3 hours in the morning.
6 hours and many heavily burdened car trips later, we sat down in a campsite that was better than any of us had hoped for. We managed to find a spot in the woods, making cooling off especially easy under the natural canopy of branches and vines. I was so excited to be at our destination, I took off and bought the group a set of tiny hats from a vendor. Nobody had moved when I returned, let alone Christian.
We listened and watched in complete awe as Umphrey’s McGee, Primus, and Lotus made Friday night the best night of live music I’ve ever seen. We never separated from each other, although when one of us wandered too far in the crowd, it was easy for Christian to spot my 6’6” red-haired, tiny-hat wearing head. When we returned to the campsite, Christian had been robbed of $300. He was completely broke for the rest of the weekend. Knowing that he would find a way of making the money back, I lent him $500 in good faith. The next day, Christian came up to me and handed all of the money I had lent to him back. He had met a couple fellow artists and sold their pins and t-shirts for 4 hours before doubling the money I had given him. We made our way over to see our favorite band, Umphrey’s McGee. As we walked up to the stage, Christian bought me a delicious beer and gave me a giant hug. I wish I could relive those five minutes. We laughed at our great luck all night and enjoyed a night of music just as good as Friday, which I had never experienced at any music festival before.
Christian and I live on opposite ends of the east coast now, and we don’t get to see each other often. When we do see each other, the experience we had for the past two years in Chillicothe, IL is always brought up at some point. My Christmas gift to him this year will be an early bird ticket to Summer Camp, because last year turned out to be the trip of my life. I think about how much fun another Summer Camp with Christian will be all the time.”
So yesterday was amazing! I was running around all day trying to catch all the awesome music but there is just too much and I had to miss out on some great sets. However, I did manage to see quite a few; and get some interviews!
Kinetix JAMMED hard; they were so energetic and pulled out some great covers, such as “With a Little Help from My Friends” by the Beatles, and “Crazy Train” by Ozzy. Marcus Rezak from Digital Tape Machine made an appearance and added some killer riffs to the performance. After the show the band was up for an interview and we asked them a few questions - watch the video. They were all really cool people and if you still haven’t checked out their music what are you waiting for?
After that interview I was able to catch the end of Cornmeal and they put on such a great show (as always). The way they play is so alive; it didn’t matter that the sun was mean, every single person was dancing their feet sore. Especially the CornStalkers; a wonderful group of dedicated fans. Afterwards I had a chance to sit down with Wavy Dave and ask him a few questions; check out that video too!
Primus brought they’re usual madness to the stage and had a great light show. Lotus followed suit and put on a great performance, also with some killer lights. They are serioulsy the masters of transitions…they flawlessly flow from one rythm to another and one song to another.and then bring it all together for one final groove down.
As I had mentioned before, Summer Camp isn’t just about the music but also about having fun with your friends and just enjoying the experience of being at camp. This weekend is our yearly reunion with all my friends from college and catching up and story telling at our campsite took us past the late nights, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to see Les Claypool and the Dead Kenny G’s or Haha the Moose, but based on the reviews I heard around - both put on great sets.
Can’t wait for tomorrow. As always, this weekend is going by way too fast.
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.
Twas Friday, Friday. We were getting down on Friday! Waking up sure was a task but as soon as I got a little bit O’ chicken on a stick I was ready to get going. Now I didn’t get to see any shows until Ozomatli which was at 4:15 due to some blogging activities and such, but when I saw them I was thoroughly surprised. I have never heard of them before but now I’m a fan. Trumpet player was getting down with a little bit of feedback from the crowd and their guitarist, oh man he was on fire! They are just a fun band to watch. I recommend you guys to look them up. Next up were the legends, Weir, Robinson, Greene Acoustic Trio. Really laid back feel, big difference from the previous energy of Ozomatli but sometimes you just gotta kick back and take it easy, relax and get lost in the sound. After checking out some acoustic stuff it was time for some Boombox. This was the stuff to dance to and get crazy. They had an amazing set that there was no way I could stop movin my feet. We checked out Umphrey’s McGee for awhile then went on over to Gogol Bordello and my wait on them was so worth it. These guys are by far one of my favorite bands at Summer Camp. Primus and then Lotus were next on the list and honestly this is where things get a little hazy. I’m just gonna leave it at that and tell ya’ll to have a beautifull Saturday! Much love!
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