Summer Camp Music Festival continues to be one of the most diverse and interesting festivals still operating today. In an era were events come and go Summer Camp has been a constant going strong for their thirteenth year. This year plays host to yet another incredible lineup that is sure to please any music fan. One of the nice things that the organizers of this festival do that is rarely talked about is the way they break up the performances. Any festival is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type experience, but oftentimes fans of specific genres of music are left with tough decisions on whether to see on show or the next. At Summer Camp sure there is some overlap as there are at all music festivals, but for the most part they try to make it easy. By having say a bluegrass band, an electronic act, a jam band, a local group all playing at the same time you can see the show you want without missing too many of your preferred sets. With six stages not to mention the VIP bar stage there is plenty to see and do at any given moment.
Many of the events that have gone on throughout the years are back again with a few new features that are sure to add to the experience. Favorites like The Kid’s Camp, Field Day, and The Make A Difference drives culminating with the Everyone Orchestra Performance are all back. New this year there will be a Masquerade troop featuring hoopers, fire throwers, dancers, and more. The members of the troop will be paired up with specific musicians to add a visual element to their live performances. Also Make A Difference is expanding by including a Live Art Gallery for live painters at the festival. These little touches and that fact that the organizers are always expanding on them are a big part of what makes Summer Camp such an amazing experience. Kyle Hess has been named the 2013 Summer Camp Counselor making him the third ever in a short but prestigious lineage. Both of the previous counselors and several CITs will be making it back along with an entirely new crop of CITs for 2013.
Musically the lineup is top notch. Of course Summer Camp staples moe. and Umphrey’s McGee will headline again this year, but there’s so much more. Fan favorites Family Groove Company, Cornmeal, Floodwood, Brainchild, and The Henhouse Prowlers will all be there to share in the groove again this year. Electronic fans will be happy to know Zed’s Dead, Big Gigantic, STS9, and Thievery Corporation are all on the bill for 2013. Personally I am most excited about the inclusion of Trey Anastasio Band, which continues the SCamp tradition of having a huge Sunday headliner.
Words To The Wise: Make sure you bring all the essentials for proper festival raging. Sunscreen and rubber boots are must haves, but also be sure to bring plenty of water and food. Check your gear before you get to the festival to make sure your tent is in proper festival condition. Get plenty of rest prior to Summer Camp as you will most likely get very little sleep over the four days. Know that you are driving into central Illinois and police presence will be high on the way in. They will have dogs and they will search you if you get pulled over. Illinois 55 was the preferred way in, but it seems that State Patrol is savvy to this and that was where they seem to be focusing their attention. As Bayliss pointed out last year during the UM soundcheck on Thursday, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Know your limits and know when to rest. It’s easy to get caught up the excitement of the weekend and the next thing you know you’re dehydrated and in no condition to continue the party anyway. The residents of Chillicothe love Summer Campers by the way. They know how much money we bring in and tend to want us to come back. I recommend stopping by a local restaurant on Monday on your way out. You’d be surprised at the warm reception you’ll receive. Also there is a shopping center just up the road from the festival grounds, so if you forget something it’s fairly easy to hop in your car and pick up some essentials. Finally be prepared for any an all weather. Anything from rain to a blazing sun is a possibility so being equipped with warm clothes as well as summer attire is smart.
Summer Camp is a chance for all types of music fans to come together and bask and the beauty and wonder of Three Sisters Park. New friendships will be made, amazing collaborations will happen, and music will fill the air. Be safe and enjoy the ride.
Saturday began with an enormous storm. The sky was pitch black, the wind scratched violently and the rain pounded down. Branches were being snapped off trees like toothpicks and so campers were evacuated from their tents for safety reasons. Surprisingly as fast as the storm came and as terrible as it was, by the early afternoon it was gone and the sun came out; soon enough it was a beautiful day.
The storm had done its damage however and so all the classes for the day were moved to the barn. It was actually really awesome to have everyone all together in that smaller space because you could easily observe and interact with others.
I spent some time going around and talking to people and watching different classes. When Olivia’s class “Olivia’s Fancy Bag of Hoop Tricks” began I had to partake. She taught us some very cool tricks, some that I already knew but learned other ways of doing them, and others that were completely new to me. It was fun to be surrounded by people all trying to learn the same tricks, encouraging you to try and try again.
We spent the rest of the afternoon talking to more people and learning some really awesome things. I watched people learn things from dart to break dancing, all type of art and performance is welcome and encouraged. Instead of going through everything myself, here’s a summary of the classes and people there through their own words.
Howard Chen demonstrates some martial art moves:
Brian Shank demonstrates whip (you should see him do this while the whip is on fire):
Jenn Rauscher demonstrates some aerial acrobatics:
Rob Hanson gives us an awesome Knife Defense lesson:
Holly Bonser performs an art new to many – Veil Dancing:
That evening they had a fire walk, where anyone could partake and walk on fire. It was a really neat experience and almost ritualistic preparing us for the night of fire performance art. To kick off the night we were in for a special treat, Jannell Justice, an experienced hooper of many years was going to break two world records for biggest fire hoop and fire hoop with most wicks. The biggest fire hoop in the world was 9 feet in diameter, and the fire hoop with the most wicks had a total of fifty – yes thats right 50. It was awesome to be there to witness it, but I got it on video for all of you who couldn’t make it.
50 Wick Hoop:
9 Foot Hoop:
There was no better way to kick off the night, and after Jannell’s performances came the Fire Battle! Two people battled it out until one person was the clear winner, then they would remain in the arena and a new challenger would enter. This was just AWESOME, the trip to Three Sister’s Park was worth this alone. Here is the first battle that kicked it off…check it out!
So for all of you who didn’t make it this year, make sure you don’t miss out next year! See you there!!