(Words by Jay Kopelman, Images by Jake Plimack, Brian Spady, and Jason Kaczorowski)
Across the country music lovers of all ages mark the start of their thrilling summer months with the annual Summer Camp Music Festival (May 25-27). Summer Camp has called Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois home for the last twelve years and it has not stopped growing. This festival only started with 1000 and has blossomed into a massive gathering of more than 15,000 attendees with more than 100 bands. Every year “Scamp”, as it casually called, brings a diverse group of outstanding artists and fans into a unique expansive outdoor setting to discover new groovin’ sounds and form lasting friendships.
From bluegrass to funk, hip-hop to dubstep, prog rock to smooth jazz, and every form of jam band, Summer Camp Music Festival is an amazing musical experience. The sheer amount of talented performers guarantees something for everyone at one of the seven themed stages. Scampers find that the only hard decision of the weekend is what not to see. Make sure to have a festival map and schedule handy, as this will make seeing multiple bands throughout the same time slot possible.
Headlining the festival each with 3 full sets of exploratory jams and hard hitting classics, are Scamp veterans Moe. (New York) and Umphrey’s McGee (Chicago). Moe. has led Summer Camp since its inception in 2001 and in the recent years has shared a 5 hour segment on Saturday night with Umphrey’s, rotating on the Moonshine and Sunshine stages respectively. These two groups are fueled by their crowd’s energy and the crowd this year will push them well into the night, bringing out the best they have to offer. The most memorable moments of the festival can be expected from the special guest appearances and face melting improv during these sets.
Joining them this year is the iconic alternative rock group Jane’s Addiction. They have been on tour this year with a new immersive theatrical alt-rock experience called, “Theatre of The Escapists.” Joining the Thursday Pre-Party is the very modern analog fusion of Digital Tape Machine, who creates an exciting video game-esque electronic dance beat that moves and grooves the crowd in every possible way. Acoustic offerings don’t get much more exciting than the power trio of Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), and Jackie Greene.
When the main stages shut down around 1 am there are three exciting late night options, the Red Barn, the Vibe Tent, and the Campfire stage. The Red Barn hosts some of the most anticipated late nights of the summer. One of which is the jam band ensemble of the Brain Damaged Eggmen. This collaboration of Umphrey’s McGee and the Disco Biscuits perform classic favorites from Pink Floyd and The Beatles. Additional tickets are required for these late night events so make sure to get them while you still can.
Be sure to visit the Make A Difference area to get informed about the camps many non-profits, awareness activities, and fundraisers being held. One such fundraiser is Umphrey’s McGee Golden Ticket contest, where one lucky contestant will win two free tickets to ever UM show for a year. Other prizes range from a Summer Camp golf cart tour with UM bassist Ryan Stasik all the way down to bundles of exciting merch. A portion of these proceeds will be donated to Food Patriots, a group dedicated to educating youth about the importance of healthy sustainable eating. These along with many more activities ranging from building, painting and donating drums to a school in need, glass blowing demonstrations, and special acoustic sets will all be located in the Soulshine Tent.
The festival’s lineup also includes great performances by Cornmeal, Eoto, Common, Primus, Keller Williams, Sphongle, Gov’t Mule, Pretty Lights, ALO, The Werks, and many, many more. For a look at the full list of activities and lineup follow the link here: http://summercampfestival.com/lineup/
BTJ will have coverage from on-site from Jay Kopelman and Jay Miller, stay tuned.