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.”
Nominated: Chris Koller
“My MVP would be Chris Koller!! There were a few shows I wouldn’t have made it to if it weren’t for him! Pretty lights and Zeds Dead I would have totally regretted not seeing!!! Thankfully, he said we are going! He is one of my best friends and is willing to do anything to help you out. After partying through Pretty lights, Zeds Dead, Team Bayside High and many other awesome shows, my weekend was complete..but extremely sad to see it end! Chris has turned me onto a few of my favorite artists. I feel he is a MVP because even if I was having a down moment he always knew just how to turn it around! He made each day a blast and never complained. Everyday was a new beginning and a fun new experience and tons of memories were definitely made! I couldn’t ask for a better person to hang out with and party with, we always have a great time together! He keeps me up to date with up coming shows so I don’t miss a beat! Music is a great release and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend going to a show then with my best friend!”
Well folks, we did it. And as a Summer Camp veteran, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was possibly the best Summer Camp yet! Here are the top 10 things I loved about this year….
1. Nobody’s set got rained out this year. Whew!
2. The collective screams of approval when Umprey’s McGee started playing Tom Sawyer.
3. Moe. and Umphrey’s light shows. Duh. I mean, you can be stone cold sober looking at those things and still be in a total trance.
4. The look of joy on some guy’s face when I told him he could have my extra Saturday late-night wristband for free.
5. The dude taking a dump in a bucket right underneath the Moonshine stage arch. (Hey, I didn’t say these were pleasant memories, but that will surely not be forgotten!)
6. A dog named Akimbo. I have no idea what his owner’s name was, but I ran into Akimbo easily 6 times this festival and he always was having fun!
7. Water guns. Everywhere, all the time, all shapes and sizes.
8. Sunrise kickball with Ryan Stasik.
9. Warren Haynes sit-in with G. Love & Bob Weir sit-in with Primus. Absolutely fantastic.
10. When I got back into Chicago, I saw 3 separate groups of Scampers within 5 blocks of my house. That’s the thing about Summer Camp – you take it home with you.
Until next year, loves.
The bearded solo guitarist was all over Summer Camp 2012
This interview is the first in a three part series shot in three unique locations.
Part I explains why Summer Camp is such a good festival year after year. Click JAIK to experience the beard firsthand.
Part II of our series has Jaik giving a roadside chat about the perils of flying particles of dirt. Click DUSTSTORM to check it out.
Part III from our series shows the journey of Jaik Willis and his keys. Click FOUND to discover more!
Cody Diekhoff talks about his experience at Summer Camp Music Festival.
Click DUB STOP to listen.
Guitarist Matt Robinson from the band Old Shoe and their Manager Mike Kaiz talk Summer Camp Music Festival amidst a fierce backdrop of wolves hunting. Click SHOE to view.
If I could quickly sum up Sunday’s experience it would be: dance party.
I peeled myself out of my tent around 9 (the latest I’d been able to sleep all weekend), got ready, and headed over to the Summer Camp offices to load up pictures and blog posts. When I got there, I found out that I’d been cleared to interview Michael Franti after his set that afternoon. I spent a few minutes freaking out with excitement, and got to work on prep.
Around 3 I met up with some buddies at moe.’s acoustic set on the Starshine Stage – so much fun! They kicked it off with St. Augustine, which is a favorite of mine, and the dance party began. At this point in the day, you could really tell that the heat index was well over 100 degrees, so a big thanks goes out to all you nice festies who were smart enough to bring Super Soakers to spray the crowd… we really appreciated it!
After moe., I took a short break to collect myself in time for the Franti interview, and headed over to his set. I spent about the first 3 songs in the VIP area (thinking I didn’t want to get too dirty or sweaty before meeting him), but quickly it became apparent that this wasn’t going to happen — dance party #2! We rushed to the middle of the crowd, kicked off our shoes, and got down to some amazing tunes. About halfway through, Franti popped up with a makeshift stage in the middle of the crowd, right near where we were standing. It could not have been more perfect; it was like out own little performance. That’s what I love about Franti – he brings people on stage, comes into the crowd, and generally makes every show feel like a community experience. After the set, I got my big interview, which will be posted on the site sometime this week… let’s just say, it was a dream come true and I am still smiling about it.
Next up, it was time for Pretty Lights. I’ve seen him before and although I’m a fan, we had planned just to stop for a little bit before moving over to Galactic. But once we were in the crowd, we knew we had to stay… dance party #3! Somehow, a group of people had managed to take over one of the golf carts and use it as a party platform… how this happened, I have no idea. But they looked like they were having a ball, so we joined in.
We walked over to Jane’s but stayed way in the back so we could scoot back to Moonshine quickly and catch moe.’s last set from up close. It was a perfect set and – as expected – dance party #4! We danced the night away sharing swigs from a bottle of Jameson and soaking in the last bits of Summer Camp… because, as always, it just went too fast.
If you’re particularly good at staying up all night (or waking up really early), you can catch sunrise kickball on Saturday. The sun was already up at 6am when the group converged on the grass towards the back of the Sunshine Stage viewing area, and about 200 people were there and ready to play.
I stayed mostly on the sidelines – the collective outfield, really – where you main job is to catch any ball that comes your way. The mad dash to get on deck to kick was pretty impressive each inning, and I’m not entirely sure how teams went (or really if anyone cared).
The real gem of kick ball is Ryan. Ready to rock in a red kimono and a speedo, he twirled his mustache before throwing out pitches (side note, he’s a really good pitcher). The crowd loves him, and couldn’t wait to show off their skills and earn a high-five or a hug from him for a job well done.
It’s not easy to make it to morning kickball, but if you ever find yourself stumbling from the Red Barn back to your campside and the sun is coming over the horizon, toss down a Red Bull and head over to kickball for an hour. You’ll be happy that you did!
The one thing that anyone should know about Summer Camp, is that it really starts on Thursday, not Friday. This year was no exception.
Things kicked off with a pretty insane windstorm. If you were camped in the forest, you probably didn’t feel it, but anyone in open air certainly felt like they were in Twister for a while there. Canopies were toppling over, tents falling to the ground, and dust at an all-time high. But once the music started, who cared?
My day kicked off with Appleseed Collective at the Starshine Stage. For an early set as people were just setting up camp, they really pulled a great and lively crowd. Then I headed to Zeta Zune at the Camping Stage. They were a little more rock than a lot of the jam & bluegrass bands around summer camp, which was a really nice change of pace. They handed out a 6 song sampler that I can’t wait to plug in on the ride home.
We headed back to the campsite for a while to see how our compound (we call it “Camp Jorts”) fared through the wind. Unfortunately, not well – but after putting things back up, we were on our way again! Fist to quickly catch James and the Devil with our new friends from Colorado that are camping nearby. James and the Devil were really great – sort of a rock & jazzy vibe with a sound that faintly makes you think of Sublime… but with a fiddle. Trust me, it works. You know what else works? The three band members that played shirtless – no women in the crowd had a problem with that one; they were adorable.
Finally, we knew that everyone had settled in once Digital Tape Machine started ramping up. DTM is an awesome project combining artists to create original electronic music. I’ve heard that they originally started the group to create music specifically to be picked up for video games, which is pretty cool… you can totally hear that as a possibility. Cornmeal’s set with pretty much flawless, and there’s nothing like a Cornmeal dance party to get you going. The glowsticks were out, the party in full force, and everyone was ready to rage all night.
Moving into Friday, we can’t wait for the rest of the campers to arrive and get the real party going… it’s going to be a long day of back-to-back amazing sets, so keep an eye out for updates! Don’t forget to follow #scmf2012 for updates on Twitter or check out those information boards around the park.