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.”
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
I took some time to tim my experience of Umphrey’s in Colorado. Check out the link to Day 1 Here: RAGE
Just click RAGE above
Living out in the Western parts of this country I get a chance to see a lot of bands that haven’t made a presence in the midwest yet. One of my favorites is the Oak Creek band out of Sedonah, Arizona, now living in Denver. I’m sure some of you haven’t ever heard them so I am telling you, check out this band. I’ve attached a video here:
This was the opener of there last show at Cervantes in Denver. A great way to start the night. I wish I hand;t had so many soda pops…the sugar got to me and I was not able to record the highlight of the night, a four on the floor, funked out, danced up version of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby.
These guys just came through Martyr’s in Chicago and I am sure they’ll be back through that way soon. Take my word for it and do not miss these guys. In the meantime check them out through the google machine.
Just a week after I got to see Roster and Kyle Hollingsworth, coming into town is Strange Arrangement. These guys are from Chicago and have played Summer Camp before. They played an awesome show at Cervantes Other Side and they were even recording for a DVD…I managed to get a copy of one of the song on there…Check it out here: Strange Arrangement – Sweet Love
Unfortunately I couldn’t sit down with them, but I did get to ask them some questions over email, check out their answers below:
Jeff – Where are you from, individually and as a band?
Strange Arrangement – We are all from the South West suburbs of Chicago. Jim Conry is from Willow Springs, IL. Kevin Barry from Hinsdale, Joe Hettinga from La Grange, IL and Steve Sinde is from Burbank, IL.
J – Where did your band name come from, it’s usually a good story, no?
SA – Haha! We used to play together in High School and the name came from a very quirky friend Mitch Manz that thought the words just sounded hilarious. He also played Harmonica and percussion in the band and when we were trying to name the band all he kept saying was “No way!!!! Strange ArrANGEment!!! Plus, the name definitely fits the music. We reformed in 2007 and thought about a ton of different names but SA just stuck with us…
J – How long have you been playing together?
SA – Jim, Kevin and I (Joe) have been playing together since 1997. But went separate ways from 2000 until 2007 when SA was reformed in Chicago in 2007.
J – What festivals have you played before?
SA – We’ve played at The Big Up, Bear Creek, North Coast, Summer Camp, Hoxeyville, Rootwire, Shoe Fest and a lot of smaller regional festivals in IL, WI, IN, OH and MI.
J – What would you say your biggest show has been so far?
SA – Our biggest shows have been Bear Creek, Rootwire, Hoxeyville, Summer Camp and opening for Umphrey’s at the Canopy club and UM After show on the new years run last year at Kinetic in chicago. Also, the House of Blues in Chicago on the main stage.
J - I know it’s a rather vague question, but tell us a little about where you are at in your career as this band and what kinds of initiatives you are taking to continue moving forward…
SA – We are currently changing from a regional touring band into a national touring band. We recently have gone to Northeast, Southeast and Southwest markets and plan on returning to each of these regularly. We’ve recently expanded the production of our shows to include a light rig and will soon be releasing our live shows for download so wherever you are, you can get some Strange live!
J – Are you trying to get into Summer Camp? If so, what is that process like?
SA – Of course we want to play at Summer Camp! We love that festival! We keep playing heavily in the Midwest to keep spreading the gospel of Strange Arrangement
J - Anything you’d like to add to tell the fans of SC music festival?
SA – We are playing a Jam Productions show in Chicago at Park West on Friday Jan 27. It’s a CO-Bill with Strange Arrangement and Greensky Bluegrass and Chicago Farmer opening! Definitely not to be missed! Our website is the best place to keep up to date on new announcements and show listings. www.strangement.com Our winter tour will be at least 25 shows so stay tuned and hope to see you there!!
Also, don’t forget to like us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Strange-Arrangement/164640530689