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.
One of the best things I got out of my first Summer Camp experience, was a rekindling my love for moe…
Like many of you, I’ve been listening to moe. since high school and they were the band that really drew me into the jam scene. I still have my tattered blue hooded sweatshirt with the band’s name on it. But as time goes on, and musical interests change, moe. did take a bit of a back seat in my musical catalog. I still saw them whenever they played within 100 miles of me and sometimes, a bit further. Last year, I went back east to Boston for New Years Eve which also happens to be my birthday (yes, I was literally born to party) and brought my whole RI family with me to bring in the New Year with a little the guys and their families (anyone who attended that show knows what I mean).
At Summer Camp, I saw some of the most high-energy moe. sets I’ve ever seen. The band just seems at home here at Three Sister’s Park. The first set I caught on Friday was incredible. Opening with Akimbo is always a good sign. Singing along to Mexico, St. Augustine and Kyle’s Song felt good. Highlight from that set: Bayliss coming out and playing The Harder They Come! Saturday nights second set was on fire: Crab Eyes, Buster, Skrunk > Lazarus > McBain > Recreational Chemistry, E: Captain America
I also got an acoustic set from the boys. The last time I saw that was Bonnaroo 2004 where we also got an Okay Alright (plus Buster and Spine of a Dog) – just the perfect acoustic sing-a-long moe. song. There were only about 150-200 people watching this go down and it that made it even cooler. This set was presented by HeadCount.
Both Chuck and Al came out with KDubalicious for some serious fun – including a cover of Tell Me Something Good! On Sunday, I stumbled into the 312 Vibe Tent to find Rob sitting in with Trichome. These guys were funky and I walked in just in time to see Rob trading bass solos with Trichome’s Dave Frediani. They never stopped playing – it was impressive.
During their last set, Bela Fleck, one of my favorite musicians, sat in for a killer version of Shoot First. The whole set was blistering and when the came out for the encore one of my best friends, AJ, who I’ve known since elementary school and hardly see anymore due to living on opposite coasts, just looked at me and said, “Man, I just want to get a Rebubula before this weekend is over.” It was kind of like magic – the lights went blue and we knew by the first note, Rebubula was exactly what these guys were about to play. Now, I realize a lot of moe.rons probably weren’t surprised to have them end the night with that song, but that didn’t make it any less awesome for us.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Summer Camp kicks ass and helped me get back to my roots. Sometimes you need a reminder and moe. played a weekend of music I won’t soon forget. Since I’ve been home, they haven’t stopped playing on the ol’ iTunes and I really can’t wait for them to come back to the Fillmore in SF.
Counselor In Training
At five o’clock, the Summer Camp Counselors in Training met up with one another in the Chapel. Yes, there is a pretty little church on site at Three Sisters Park. *Try explaining to your friends that you needed to go to a church at the festival to meet up with camp counselors without them thinking you’re tripping. This chapel would literally become sanctuary for the counselors – we could charge our phones and cameras, use the indoor bathrooms, and interview rock stars (all this is off limits to you non-counselor types so maybe you should keep an eye out for next year’s contest!).
Anyway, it was awesome to finally meet all these folks. Nick Stock, who won the contest, is just a bubbling concoction of tie-dye majesty – a total rock star. Taraleigh Weathers was also an amazing soul to connect with, along with Joe Snacker-Albin and Natalie Fletcher – each bringing their own spice to this project. And Jeff Greenswag… well, let’s just say Jeff is the pirate of Summer Camp – a swashbuckling partygoer who I had wanted to meet since I split my side open laughing at his first contest submission: a parody of the Family Matters intro. These guys all rock so be sure to read and watch their highlights here.
So here’s my experience on the subject I’m sure you care the most about: music.
Ali Baba’s Tahini
After the meeting, the musical adventure began. Jeff and I made our way to see Ali Baba’s Tahini – a band I’ve been listening to since I fell into love with Umphrey’s McGee but had never seen live. These guys were fun and really got my blood pumping for the rest of the night. They’ve got this ska like sound and Jake shreds like a madman. I think Karl Engelmann made a ball buster at Brendan Bayliss about stealing Jake from the band – he said something funny.
Family Groove Company
Hot damn guys. Family Groove straight up killed it. One of my favorite sets of the weekend hands down. Just dirty, tight funk that had people groovin’ and movin’ from first note to last. This was my first time seeing Family Groove Company and I wasn’t sure what to expect but man, it was good. They raged a cover of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues and brought in the darkness with their sunset session. The bass lines and guitar solos coming from this gang particularly captivated me. By the end of the night, I had a pretty strong buzz going on (those 312′s just go down so smooth – a perfect festival session beer) and I ended up bumping into Adam Lewis in the VIP tent (yet another perk to getting a VIP pass next year folks!) and had a chance to shake his hand and thank him for making me smile from ear to ear throughout this set. Family Groove: If you’re reading this, please come out west – we’ll love you here.
Totally unscheduled. A couple friends pitched their tent stage-right of the Sunshine Stage and we’re just chilling out when I hear Bayliss’ voice. Bam – we’re up in a flash. Before I knew it, I was hit with a Partyin’ Peeps and it was all over.
I caught 30db last year in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall and also at Mayan Holidaze earlier this year. Jeff Austin and Brendan Bayliss come together for what can only be described as acoustic, feel good, messin’ around music (at least that’s how I’m going to describe it). Seeing them late night at the Campfire Stage was a treat and added to the fun of the whole event. I mean, this is total campfire music. The show was intimate and hilarious. Both those guys are seriously talented musicians with little to no seriousness in their personalities.
Whoa. Seriously Summer Campers, keep an eye out for these youngsters. Papadosio is getting big quick and after catching their late night set tonight, it’s no wonder why. These guys definitely bring a smooth and organic trance sound – clearly drawing on STS9 and Lotus as influences but also bringing a very unique and progressive sound to the scene. Inside the barn, they helped me warm up as it was starting to get awfully chilly outside.
Boombox is super fun. You like funk? You like soul? Sick of “dubstep” djs? Then Boombox is probably right up your alley. I made my way over to the 312 Vibe tent to catch the Boombox DJ set after Papadosio. I didn’t stay too long – just a few songs to get my groove on. I also caught their Friday set and these guys do a super fun cover of Shakedown Street – I wouldn’t even call it a cover: they make it theirs. It was getting close to 4 AM and I always try to keep in mind Brendan Bayliss’ words of wisdom: “Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.” With CIT duties ahead of me, I thought it best to head back to the tent and catch a few zzz’s before things really start moving. *
So now I’m in my tent, typing away as the sun struggles to break it’s way open.
Counselor in Training
For those of you who travel, I’m gonna be starting this Thursday blog with Wednesday. I think we finally got the car packed up and we got on the road around 7:30 mountain time. Coming to Chillicothe from Colorado, well, now that I think of it, coming to Chillicothe from anywhere is not the most scenic of drives. Vast flat expanses, smells of poop, it can get pretty boring. Fortunately Kelly mentioned the “Swift” game…anyone who spots and calls out a Swift truck on the interstates gets a point…ties are half points, like sacks in the NFL. For some reason though, driving through the night, listening to music, we were all a little too excited to sleep and talked through most of the drive. As we approached Chillicothe, the weather went from bad to ok to not so good again, and when we got there, we could see what the weather days before had done. It was gonna be a mudfest…get your boots on.
We arrived around 12:30 and got through the ticket line relatively quickly, I was at my site and set up by about 3. The next couple hours were spent reacquainting myself with the grounds, deciding which food vendors I’d frequent, meeting up with friends as I walked the campsites, and ultimately I met all the other Counselors in Training. What an amazing group of kids. We all come to this festival from different parts of the country and from different occupations; it was no surprise that we had different music tastes. If you are into more of the rock and electronic stuff those are the bands I was seeing and who I’ll mostly be talking about…Anyway, we were debriefed by the amazing Holly Brinkman. If you know her, you know how much she does for Summer Camp and the CIT program. Thanks Holly for making this possible. After getting somewhat of an understanding of what I was supposed to be doing over the weekend (I’ve never “covered” an event before) I set out to see my first show.
Ali Baba’s Tahini was awesome. It was great to see where Jake got his start…well, that’s not true, but to see that band that ended up becoming a big part of Umphrey’s sound was very cool. It was kind of a playful rockabilly vibe to it with a lot of good grooves setting up Jake for some nice guitar work. The guy on keys was slaying and could hang with Jake musically. Overall they were a real fun band who I would definitely go see again. I was lucky enough to walk in on a Got Your Milk (Right Here) which I found to be pretty much the same as Umph plays it. I went back to my site for a minute after that to check in on the rest of my people (wolfpack) who’d be trickling in over the next day and a half. The site was almost ready to go. About 6 of our 13 were there, 3 canopies for the living room/kitchen, about 15 chairs, rope lights (there’s power in the forest…you just gotta find it). I really feel like this was one of our best set ups yet. We didn’t bring so much it was a pain to set up, didn’t bring too much food. Just lots of “soda” and “juice”…
Anyway, we set out to see Brainchild but made a quick stop to see Family Groove Company. Now, I went to the University of Illinois from 02-06 and I remember seeing FGC a lot. Those guys continue to play great show after great show and the stage they were on and the attendance they received was evidence of their continued efforts to be one of the hardest working bands out there. Always upbeat with a great rock feel I love the way FGC jams. If you know ‘em, you know what I know, if you don’t, you should. Down at the campfire stage (where the fire was yet to start, I presume due to the wetness) Roy Ponce, his mustache and Brainchild were destroying. Those guys can really play. And If you are into a sound that changes on a dime with great tension and release build ups, then Brainchild is for you. After Brainchild it was on to a little bit of Cornmeal. Allie is so stunning and such an amazing fiddle player, that, despite my general lack of interest in bluegrass and related genres, I rarely miss Cornmeal play. And you know what, every time I see them I enjoy them a little more. This time was no exception. I love the way they can bring their whole band to this central place that is darker and heavier and then through their jam build it up and out to a twang explosion…like I said, this is my first attempt at blogging to if some of the things I say are weird, well, I don’t know what I’m doing.
By this time, we needed to go back to the site again for one more recharge, we met up with about 5 more of the wolfpack, we drank some more “juice” and “soda” (got to stay hydrated) and we set out for the rest of the night. We made it back to the campfire around 10:15 and saw about 30 minutes of the Pimps of Joytime. Now I have known about these guys for a few years now, maybe 4 or so, and they are awesome. If you like a kind of new school electro funk with a lot of soul then you should have been at this show. Pimps of Joytime are always a fun time and a dance party, which was great to warm up for what we were to experience next.
The first Red Barn “late night” it was only 11:00pm, was one of my favorite bands at the festival, Digital Tape Machine. What an awesome show. I interviewed Marcus Rezak, guitar player for DTM and he was saying that they tried to base a lot of their music on the video games of our youths. Well they did not accomplish that because I felt like I was in the video games of the future. These guys are super talented musicians, with Joel and Kris from UM they pull a lot of attention. But the beats are amazing, super danceable and usually up-tempo and every once in a while they will throw in a neo classical guitar riff or even complete breakdown that makes you remember there’s people up there and they are ROCKING. I hear DTM could be gearing up to tour some in the next year or so, so be on the look out.
After having my hair blown back in the barn I stepped outside for a couple hours of some of the best stage banter you will ever hear, and the music ain’t bad either. 30db is Brendan Bayliss and Jeff Austin’s project that came together at a time that was really difficult for both of them. But from this shared time they created some awesome songs. They play them together like two guys happy to be beyond that stage in their lives often sharing a lot of whiskey as well, only increasing the hilarity of their aforementioned stage banter. What a great way to wind down the first night of the festival. I had been up for about 42 hours at this point and decided to head back to the site to crash. Like any experienced festival goer I brought my landing gear; put my “ear plugs” on and slid gently into sleep. Goodnight Summer Camp.
Counselor In Training
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