You know I look forward to Summer Camp from the day it ends until the final day it comes. That’s why this year I left home on Wednesday night to cure the anticipation that burned inside me. After a 6 hour drive with my boyfriend and our buddy we finally arrived to the magnificent grounds that host such an amazing experience, Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL. You know it wasn’t the drive that bothered me, or the arriving at about 5 in the morning, it was the getting denied to enter because of the rain flooding the parking lot that made that anticipation just grow. I’m not saying it upset me at all, the upsetting apart was Mother Nature, but hey when have we ever been able to control her. Anyhow, finally entering was awesome. I immediately jumped in line and began the 4 day weekend ahead of me. I got my tickets, found a sweet set up in the woods (when I say sweet I mean sweet, 10 tents filled with people, an upstairs, a downstairs, and a sitting room with 10 tapestries surrounding it and not to mention a sweet little lit up trail that attracted many fairies) and began to plan the excursion that would follow.
It was easy knowing what band I was most excited to see, Family Groove Company. All I can think about is how they threw down last year and how pumped I was too see it again this year, I mean after all it is pre party day so PARTYYYYY!!!!! Family Groove is one of those awesome bands that everyone knows and enjoys to see. I live in the heart of Wisconsin so we see almost no music what so ever, however, Family Groove comes to the not so far away Stevens Point and plays and ya know it just makes me giddy knowing great talent can still come even though we don’t have much to offer. Before I ramble on pointlessly, lets get into 30db. Not much more to say I know. I mean Umphrey’s Bayliss and Yonder’s Austin, whoa. Two of my all-time favorite bands come together and serenade us with their witty lyric and amazing string talents. You really can’t get much better than that. I don’t even think I can justify the amazingness of it all.
With Thursday being Pre Party day and all, you can go all out but take it easy so you survive the rest of the weekend. That’s why we did our shows and went back to camp for some R and R from our long travels and exhausting camp set up. This brings me to fairies. Oh those wonderful fairies started our weekend out just right. Catching fairies came easier to us then we had planned. A few friends were just recapping the day when all of a sudden 3 girls came stumbling in on out lit up path into what they called “fairy land”. You see we had a tarp on the ground at the time and that was covered in glow stick juices and of course looked sweet. Well these fairies were so pumped about it they started rolling around on the tarp caressing each other and in a sensual voice kept saying to each other, “you’re a fairy, now you’re a fairy, oh this is a wonderful fairy land” and on and on and on. The guys are at this point sitting here thinking they are about to get a show (as if this already wasn’t one) but the fairies then turned to the group realizing, hey there are actually people here. So one by one the fairies started to dub everyone present as fairies by rubbing the glows tick juice on the arms of the audience, hahaha but nothing was rubbing off, and proceeded to say “you’re a fairy, now you’re a fairy”. Now comes my favorite part, one of our buddies decided to mess with the fairies by picking up some bugles that fell on the ground and said “you guys want some fairy food?” naturally you would hope they were smarter than that but nope, they moseyed their way over to him, took the floor food and ate it like they were cattle in heaven with the fairy food cupped in their hands. Strolling off the fairies disappeared into the night and that was when everyone realized what a weekend this would be, one of a kind.
Counselor In Training
I have two homes and they are roughly 5 hours apart. I take the freeway and back country roads to get from one to the other and when I finally arrive I find a sea of cars, a river of bodies and personal belongings waiting patiently to enter, and a land of pure joy and fond memories that last for years to come…….Summer Camp Music Festival!!!! My heart pounds in my chest with excitement as I enter this amazing land and all I can think about is all the things I cant wait to do and see. It is hard to depict what I am most excited for when I hear some awesome beats coming from the campfire stage, I notice the amazing decorations differentiating from campsite to campsite as I mosey my way to the friends that await me, I can already smell the mixture of dirt and sweat you grow accustomed to throughout the four days that most people don’t use to shower, and I just smirk at all the outrageous outfits with colors that stick out from hundreds of feet away. As I venture through the Summer Camp lands and notice all these immaculate aspects of the festival, I think about all those things and come to realize what they all have in common and what I am most excited for, the people who make up the fest.
The beings that walk around and play music and entertain you with flames or hula hoops have truly got to be the thing I look forward to the most. All of them are what make the festival what it is to me. Famous or not, you all stand on the same level on my pedestal, #1. I love all of the different personalities that come together from different parts of the country and help make an amazing experience for one another. For example, just this last New Years at Umphrey’s in Chicago I met two amazing girlies (you know who you are) from New York that I immediately fell in love with. Because of the power of the internet and Summer Camp I am going to get to see these girls again and rage with them during that band that united us. It’s things like that that add one more butterfly to the large meadow that settles in my stomach. Everyone of course has friends and/or siblings that bring their friends that bring their friends that bring their friends to all unite into a small community of giggles and experiences to share with one another until the next year when we do it all over again. And then that brings me to the neighbors you run into throughout the fest that share the stories and laughs of how awesome that last moe. set was, or how out of no where, your best friend puked all over some random person’s tent (the tent was apologized to) and you felt bad but could do nothing but laugh at their expense. I love how you can pick out the courageous ones who you envy for having that ‘I don’t give a hoot’ attitude because they walk around topless or for the men who take comfort and pride in wearing a skirt. Man do I love people.
When thinking about an amazing festival a lot of people including myself are super stoked for that one bad (or many bands) that they are the most stoked to see. That is usually after all what brings people together. Don’t get me wrong, the bands are the ultimate reason I am going. Yonder, Keller, Widespread, Umphrey’s, Girl Talk, Steez, STS9, Moe and I could just go on and on but it’s the people in those bands that get you excited to be there. A band can have good music but put on a crappy show but at Summer Camp all the bands that I have had a privilege to see have been just as pumped to be there as I have been. You can tell by the way that Stasik smiles at Bayliss when the crowd gets super pumped over hearing one of the many segues that Umphrey’s is infamous for or the intense yet entertaining faces that Austin sports when getting down and dirty on the mandolin. It all just makes me think of how I love people.
So when you see me at the fest, come say hi because its what I am looking forward to the most.
Summer Camp Counselor In Training (CIT)
This is Jeff Greenswag and I am honored to be your Summer Camp Counselor In Training. Over the next year, it’s gonna be my job to keep you all updated on what’s happening with artists from Summer Camp on tour (especially in Colorado), Summer Camp Field Day events taking place throughout the year and more. I’ve never really blogged before, so I figured I’d do this like I was just talking to you. If you have any suggestions, let me know. For this pre-festival post, I’ve been asked to tell you all a little about myself, my favorite bands at the fest, and what I’m looking forward to most.
So anyway, I’m 27 years old, I live in Denver and I grew up in suburban Chicago. I moved to Colorado after I got my Leisure Studies degree from the University of Illinois. Let’s just say college was fun and where I really had an opportunity to get into live music. I saw my first Umphrey’s McGee show at the Canopy club and after a few more of those I was hooked. I think I’ve seen them somewhere around 80 times, but I can’t be sure. Admittedly, they are my favorites and I will be biased towards them in terms of attention and likely amazement. So yeah, went out West, law school, couldn’t (wasn’t super motivated to) get a job as an attorney so now I got a bunch of jobs. I’m a pizza chef, a Captain Morgan Impersonator for liquor promotions, I pilot a 17 passenger bike that is a pub on wheels and goes on bar crawls, I put on concerts with a couple buddies and I am entering year 2 of launching a website for a very specific new “industry” in
Colorado…but that’s enough about me.
Like I mentioned before, Umphrey’s is my favorite. Obviously looking forward to seeing them. moe., WSP, and STS9 are likely to captivate most of the festival goers with their sets as well. I am especially looking forward to the Sound Tribe late night in the red barn. Beyond the usual suspects I am also looking forward to seeing Marcus Rezak throw down with Digital Tape Machine Thursday night. Yeah, I know Kris and Joel are in DTM, but Marcus is my boy and I got to give him a shout out. The New Mastersounds are always a treat and if you haven’t seen them, you should, probably the funkiest band at the festival. I keep looking at the lineup and I am just overwhelmed with how much good music there is…I could go on for a while and figure I’ll get into more depth with my daily blogs so just to let you know, some other bands I am really looking forward to see are Big Gigantic, Karl Denson’s TU, Papadosio, the Pimps of Joytime, Alex B’s new project Paper Diamond, Ella Riot, Truth and Salvage Co, The Twin Cats, and Savvy.
Of course we all come to Summer Camp for our love of music, but some of the things I enjoy about Summer Camp are the characters you meet. Perhaps you know Todd from Cicero…usually sporting a beautiful mustache. Last year I believe there was an Al Unser racing shirt to go along with it. Or maybe you’ve met Angelo and Stu around the campfire. They were telling me all about vinyl and how the first time they heard Purple Haze, he “was that needle in that groove on that record, man, ya know?” Or maybe you negotiated the price of a tree stump embedded along one of the paths through the forest.
Him: Tree stump for sale!
Me: How much you want for that stump, guy?
Him: Buddy, if you gotta ask, you can’t afford it…
Me: I gotta check book back at my site, let’s talk numbers
If you get talkin’ nonsense with someone, just go with it. It’s a lot of fun. And you know what, those are the things that I hope I really get to talk about through these blogs, if I’m lucky enough to experience stuff like that this year. We all have our favorite musicians and our favorite genres. For me to review shows and say what was good or bad, I think, would be inappropriate. I may mention some musical highlights, but for me, the real experience at the festival is the people you are with, those you meet along the way and sharing the music with them. I look forward to sharing some of the music with all of you.
Summer Camp Counselor In Training (CIT)
Well, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of online activity as I made my bid to be the first ever Summer Camp Counselor. I had some incredible competition from NOLA native Joe Albin and Healthy Hippie editor-in-chief Taraleigh Weathers. After the weeklong three-way battle I was informed I had gotten the job. I’ve been pretty ecstatic ever since.
I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who supported my run. I feel incredibly blessed to have met and known so many wonderful people in my life and that they literally came out of the woodwork to support me. It was truly humbling to witness.
Summer Camp and I have a long history. I made my way down to the first six years of the fest in Chillicothe. I watched it grow from a regional festival to the nationally recognized event that it is today. Summer Camp managed to thrive while other festivals came and went. The one key factor to their success has been a focus on the music, and that seems especially true for Summer Camp Music Festival’s 11th year.
I mean let’s be honest the lineup is pure sickness. I am really excited to catch Summer Camp stalwarts moe. and Umphrey’s McGee. These bands are the reason people come to this festival. However, a new reason in the form of Widespread Panic seems to have invigorated the fanbase and boosted attendance. Panic’s first year at Summer Camp will be one for the books and I am curious to see how they play on the Moonshine Stage.
The nice thing about the lineup at Summer Camp is that it literally has something for everyone. The huge range of musicians on the bill includes everything from electronic to bluegrass and all points in between. Of course the icing on the cake for me are sets from Bruce Hornsby, YMSB, Huey Lewis, and Bela Fleck. Having never seen Hornsby live and given my love for his short stint with the Grateful Dead, I am amped to see him perform. Huey Lewis with Umphrey’s McGee and a horn section? We are through the looking glass here people.
One thing that is new to Summer Camp this year is the Make A Difference concert with Everyone Orchestra. The lineup is awesome but what’s exciting to me is the possibility of empowering the attendees to actually do some good and aid their community. Simple things we take for granted can have a huge impact. There will be several ways to participate including attending a workshop, picking up cigarette butts, or making a piece of art out of recycled materials, which can earn you a spot at the show. Not to mention the incredibly diverse array of seminars and workshops including a brewing presentation from Kyle Hollingsworth himself.
I am also really excited for Field Day, taking place on Saturday. To be a part of a “color wars” will really add to the overall Summer Camp vibe. It will also give us a chance for some friendly competition and general camaraderie. It’s going to be an amazing part of the overall camp experience.
Tough decisions will have to be made. Do I stay and finish the 7 Walkers set or hit the end of STS9? Do I finish the rUMors set or do I catch the beginning of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones. These are the kinds of problems I like to have. And Summer Camp has done a good job creating the lineup and schedule and I couldn’t be happier with their choices. All that’s left to do now is show up. I look forward to meeting everyone at Summer Camp and working to begin a tradition that will hopefully live on as successfully as the festival that spawned it.
Summer Camp Counselor