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Summer Camp Music Festival Sunday Recap

Sunday was filled with surprising moments on several levels. It was thrilling to have my camera equipment with me as I walked through some deep mud on the festival grounds. There was several moments when guests would look at me with my gear, and say, “I can’t believe this guy is trying to film out here.” The ground conditions were not ideal, but I don’t let mud stop the show. That mentality, mixed with a little nirvana is maybe all we need in life. I saw several kids at the festival enjoying the mud. There must be something that fades in some of us as we get older. My goal is to help relight that flame.


Victor Wooten held his Nature Bass Workshop at Summer Camp this year in the Soulshine Tent. He started around 12:20 with a quick lesson on warming up the bass guitar. Watch the bass workshop live below with the YouTube playlist.

Victor maximized the use of the loop machine during his 2013 workshop. It was my first time attending his seminars on the bass guitar, and it was probably one of the main reasons I walked around with a smile on my face the rest of the day. It would be interesting to attend another workshop, and see what else he brings into the seminars. His performance on Sunday included: melodies, riffs to well known songs, Flecktons material, and a vast amount of original work he created on the spot. The workshop started with a cover tune, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder. Wooten also ended the seminar with a beautiful re-edition of ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles.

Umphrey's McGee with Luther Dickinson
Umphrey’s McGee with Luther Dickinson

Umphrey’s McGee holds down the Sunday midday spot on the Sunshine Stage each year. This year was another year of surprises and festival highlights during their Sunday performance. Taj Mahal, Blues music guru, joined Umphrey’s McGee live on Sunday for a hot guest spot, as well as Luther Dickinson. Both musicians brought out the best of the band on stage. The set held many standout moments, but the real winners are the people that pushed through the mud and caught the show live on the Sunshine Stage.

05/26/13 (Sun)  Summer Camp @ Three Sisters Park (Sunshine) – Chillicothe, IL
Set 1: Slacker, White Man’s Moccasins, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft > Wife Soup, Phil’s Farm, She Caught The Katy (1), Dear Lord (2), Higgins, Smell the Mitten, August > No Comment > August, Miss Tinkle’s Overture
Comment: (1) with Taj Mahal and Luther Dickinson | (2) with Luther Dickinson

SPREAD performed for their fourth time in a row at Summer Camp this year with a set on the Campfire Stage. Steven Kaufman, keyboardist for the band, mentioned that their set on Sunday was one of his last shows with the band. Kaufman was an original member of the band, but will continue on with side projects in Southern Illinois. The band’s performance on Sunday was kicking on all levels. After their set wrapped, I made my way through the campgrounds to the Moonshine Stage for the North Mississippi Allstars and Lettuce. Both sets were dirty, just like the crowd in the pit. It was a wet and wild Sunday around the Moonshine Stage.

Afternoon Moon, currently based out of Ottawa, Illinois performed on the Camping Stage during the 2013 Summer Camp Music Festival from 3-4 p.m. Their set was filled with original tunes that I have grown to love in a short amount of time. The drive and passion behind Afternoon Moon puts them at the top of list for band’s to watch in 2013. Jordan D., keyboardist for the group encouraged fans to “Dance in the Rain” during their set. It was another great Summer Camp/Afternoon Moon moment.

The Everyone Orchestra, conducted by Matt Butler, and encompasses a list of talented musicians performing at various locations around the country. The Everyone Orchestra worked in connection with Make-A-Difference and the non-for-profit organizations at the festival to create a one of a kind concert for those that helped out with the charitable companies, activities and drives going on around the Soulshine Tent. The entire experience was one of the most positive and filling traditions at Summer Camp. Each year the volunteers provide the opportunity for guests to complete a new set of activities around the Make-A-Difference area. The Everyone Orchestra set was my first time absorbing the spontaneous structure of live art on stage. EOTO, and several other bands reminded me of this style during the four day weekend, but EU just does it in a unique manner that connects the audience on a deeper level. Vinnie, Al, Victor, Mike Dillion, Allie, and a list of other talented musicians filled the Redbarn from 5-6:15 p.m.

The Avett Brothers performance on the Sunshine Stage pushed me to make the 1/2 mile track through some of the thickest mud on in Illinois that weekend. It was worth it ten fold. I have been watching the band grow since 2008, and was impressed with their set in pouring down rain on Sunday at Summer Camp. The group could have packed up, and turned their backs on the crowd, but they didn’t do that. Instead, they bucked that idea, and performed a high energy set for the diehard fans in attendance. This sets seem to pull a lot out of a crowd, and the rain didn’t stop anyone from having a good time.

Wick-it the Instigator
Wick-it the Instigator

Wick-it the Instigator performed his raunchy mix of electronic and rock classics for the crowd at the Campfire Stage in the late afternoon hours of Sunday. The crowd loved Wick-it’s energy and stage presence. It was a pleasure having DJ SOLO and Wick-it perform on the Campfire Stage late in the weekend, instead of continuously having them spin music in the Vibe Tent.

Big Boi, vocalist for the Atlanta-based Outkast, was in the middle of a Grande set when he injured his knee during a freak accident on stage. It was my first time seeing Big Boi live on stage. I have a huge selection of his material at home, and was looking forward to his set. The main path through the woods near the main stage held up the best over the weekend. It was my go to path to get in and out of the Moonshine Stage on Sunday. Big Boi was in high spirits for the first five songs I watched him perform. He went for a high energy kick, and fell wrong on his knee. The backup band did their best to wrap up the show, but it is obvious that the Summer Camp crowd wants a full set from Big Boi. I would love to see Summer Camp book Big Boi with Outkast in 2014, or another act like Phantogram. His body of work is diverse, and I would love to see him back on stage with a great project to work with. Overall, I hope that Big Boi makes a speedy recovery.

Future Rock, Chicago-based electronic/rock magnets, powered through the rain and storms on Sunday on the Starshine Stage. I loved the passion behind their set on Sunday. Their performance showed me how much they care about music and the Summer Camp crowd. The weather started to change as lightening and thunder rolled in from a distance.

Trey Anastasio Band landed on the Sunshine Stage at 8:05 p.m. with the kind gusto that Trey and his act is known for on stage. The band raged on stage despite the looming electrical storm that approached overhead. It was an electric set by TAB. The performance was originally scheduled for two sets of music. I have a feeling that the event will event Trey and company back for another double header next year. There was a chill in the air, but there was also a vibrant feeling that did not want to die. The festival organizers, musicians and guests for the most part wanting to let the show go on, but due to lightening they had to call the set early. At this time I was driving south down Route 29 back home.

In conclusion, the 13th Annual Summer Camp Music Festival was one of my favorite weekends of my life for several reasons. I hope that you have been able to experience some of the weekend with me during the reading of this review. Last year I wrote a review for the event, and it was published on JamBase. This year I represented Crescent Vale, and was thrilled to see the different reactions from guests, staff and musicians in Chillicothe, Illinois. The goal to this review is hopefully help change your view on music festivals. I look at them like family, and hopefully you can as well.

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Matthew McGuire is the founder and editor of Crescent Vale News. In 2014, he acquired a master's degree in Professional Media and Media Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.