Summer Camp Music Festival is definitely one of my favorite festivals. The fact that you can camp within the festival is so prime. The atmosphere is also so amazing, all of the people are really there for the music and to make friends and have an epic experience. My favorite part are all of the totems. I have never seen so many totems before, but it seems like everyone who attends summer camp must spend lots of time thinking up and creating some amazing and hilarious totems that represent their group. Some of the totems have been there every year, for example: Megaman, Transformers, Jelly Fish Umbrellas, etc. It is just so much fun to see all of these crazy different sticks and flags bouncing up and down during each set.
After driving down from Chicago, we got there a little late on Thursday night for the pre-party and set up our camp near the Umphrey’s stage. After setting up camp, we headed to the Red Barn whereFuture Rock was playing a late night show. The trio, playing guitar, drums, and keyboard, rocked the house down until 4am. Their music is just so smooth as well as heavy on the beats. It was great to see them in the Red Barn since the rest of the nights you had to pay extra to get in. The Barn has great sound since it is an empty circular building and the bass was the loudest that I heard all weekend.
Friday started with moe. at 12:30. They played a very chill set and it was the perfect way to start our first day of the festival. Next up was Keller Williams, who always puts on such an amazing show. Called a ‘one man band’, Keller sets up his instruments on stage so that he can move from one to the other, setting up loops and creating unique beats that everyone can dance to. Next up wasLeftover Salmon, hailing from Colorado, this bluegrass band is finger-picking good. Each show they play is so engaging and fun they really bring out your inner love for bluegrass. Boombox was up next, this duo wears boas and top hats and plays a funky beat that everyone can get down to. It was a serious dance groove party. After Boombox we went to see Wick-It The Instigator, a dubstep DJ who remixes some of the best songs. His set flowed flawlessly between the Beastie Boys, Pink Floyd, and Dr. Dre. Next we went to EOTO, made up of members of The String Cheese Incident, these two turn their jam band roots into some funky electronic beats. The whole crowd was filled with totems of all kinds, the most totems I saw at one time at any of the small stages. Next was Umphrey’s McGee who always throws down hard, since they are one of the two hosts of the festival. Then we had to make the decision between Primus and Zeds Dead. Half of my group chose the former while I chose the latter, and boy was I happy with my decision. Zeds Dead threw down such a hard set, playing all of their best songs including a few new ones with the heaviest bass. After Zeds Dead we went to Lotus who played such a beautiful and fun set. Their light show was amazing, and they drew in a huge crowd, many of whom were flying their Lotus flags high throughout the entire show.
Saturday we woke up to the Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars who’s simple groove was a pleasant way to begin the day. Next up we went to see Rebelution who played an amazing reggae set, and it was such a fun way to start our day with a little bit of chill reggae. We took a little break before heading to Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, which is the debut project of members from theDisco Biscuits, Conspirator, Big Gigantic, and Underground Orchestra. This was such an amazing show, its so great to see a bunch of different musicians from different bands come together and create something magical and new. They really through down a fun groove and Dominic Lalli’s contribution of the saxophone made it all the more special. Next up it was time to get our dubstep on with 12th Planet. Now this guy can really whomp, he threw down the hardest beats of the weekend, including a track from Knife Party and other tough jams. As if 12th Planet wasn’t enough dubstep, next we went to Gramatik, who is a part of Pretty Lights Music, and his new EP has even heavier beats than his original tracks. His soulful groove with deep bass got everyone dancing in the Vibe Tent. After all of the dirty dancing, it was time for some back to back Umphrey’s McGee andmoe. Both threw down some amazing sets, including Umphrey’s cover of Rush’s Tom Sawyer. Everyone had such an amazing time raging to UM’s hard set and then following that up with moe’s late night laser party. Late night in the Vibe tent was another dance party with DJ Solo who threw down a grimey set followed by Minnesota who always drops the best beats and remixes.
Sunday started out with an early Umphrey’s set followed by moe. Next up was Yonder Mountain String Band who played an awesome version of The Allman Brothers’ Ramblin’ Man. Next up wasAraabMuzik who remixed a bunch of dubstep artists like Skrillex and Pretty Lights while pounding on his drum machine at extreme speeds. Next was Michael Franti & Spearhead who always plays chill fun songs that you can’t help but sing along to. Next was the show everyone was waiting for,Shpongle presents the Masquerade who played right at sunset with a trippy background video and grooving jams. After Shpongle was Pretty Lights who threw down a heavy set considering he only had an hour to play. Starting off his set with More Important Than Michael Jordan, he immediately got the crowd going and the glow sticks were flying everywhere like crazy. His light show is always out of this world looking like a city skyline. As the night died down, we hit up moe’s last late night set with their awesome lasers to accompany their melodic harmonies. To finish off our late night, we went to This Must Be The Band, a Talking Heads tribute who always gets the crowd going with the best tracks from the legendary band. Then we ended our night with DJ noDJ who performed all the best tracks from Daft Punk. It was such a fun way to end the festival with an epic dance party.
All in all it was another successful year at Summer Camp. Every band rocked out hard and everyone had the best time. It is such a fun atmosphere that I, and I think everyone else, wish could last forever. I can’t wait until next year to do it all over again. There is nothing like a weekend full of Umphrey’s, Moe, and all of the other awesome music and artists that make their way to Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL.