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Summer Camp Music Festival 2013 Review

Chillicothe, Ill – The 13th Annual Summer Camp Music Festival brought in 20,000 guests, 130 bands and a storm system that attendees will never forget. It was one of the muddiest years to date. Some guests let the weather get their spirits down, as others guests decided to buck that idea, and have a good time despite the unforeseen events. 2013 marked my eighth year in attendance. After experiencing the tornado in 2004, and the record breaking heat last year. This weather was not that bad, but the perception from of portion of the audience was more bleak than in pervious years. It is my goal to help change that perception with this review.

Music festivals have become cornerstones for arts and culture for developed countries around the globe. In Europe, events reach well over 100,000 people. Glastonbury started with 1,500 fans in 1970. In 2010, the festival brought in over 170,000 guests. This is a clear example of the progression that Summer Camp is experiencing today. Guests at Glastonbury go for the music, and not just for the concept of overindulgence. It has been ingrained into the culture over forty years to put up with poor weather conditions, and to show the international communities what their section of the world represents. When international touring acts make the decision to visit music festivals; it puts an international spotlight on those events and areas. We have to take responsibility for our own actions. The world is watching, and they want to know what we think.

I plan to take you on a ride through the 2013 Summer Camp Music Festival. Sit back, relax and let your imagination do the work.

The tour starts on Thursday, May 23 in Carbondale, Ill. After wrapping the last section of post coverage from the Hangout Music Festival, I packed the Jeep for a four day trip to Chillicothe, Ill. The drive up north was smooth and relaxing. There was some rain on the drive up, but not very much. I arrived to the festival grounds late in the day on Thursday around 9:50 p.m. It broke my heart not being able to make some of the sets earlier in the day. ClusterPluck, Lake Shore Vibe, Family Groove Company and Cornmeal all threw down on Thursday. The setlist below is of the FGC set on Thursday, and is provided by setlist.com.

05/23/13 (Thursday)  Summer Camp @ Three Sisters Park (Starshine) – Chillicothe, IL
Set 1: The Charmer > Well In Hand, Professionals Here, A Misdemeanor’s Worth, Falling Off the Fence, One Eye Dreaming (1), American Girl
Comment: (1) with Allie Kral on fiddle

When I arrived, Caravan of Thieves, were just capping off their first performance on the Campfire Stage. It was a treat running up to see Fuzz tearing it up on stage just as I arrived to the festival grounds. After their show the band and I briefly talked about the other sets they had planned throughout the weekend.

Caravan of Thieves joined a list of guests for the Cornmeal Summer Camp Ramble later Thursday night in the Soulshine Tent. Carrie and Fuzz, members of Caravan of Thieves, mentioned working on a new album during an interview on Friday, May 24.

Caravan of Thieves
Caravan of Thieves

During late Thursday the festival grounds were clean and easy to navigate. The vibe was ideal. There was a high level of excitement in the air. As I walked down the main drag of the festival I noticed there were no street names for the festival grounds. It is my goal to help inspire a creative flow with the guests at Summer Camp to build positive memories and future traditions for guests to collectively share. The new street names and sections of the festival could represent the geographical format of the United States. The actual Route 66 shows an interesting parallel to the main road through Three Sisters Park.

Digital Tape Machine were performing as I approached the Starshine Stage area. There was an energizing presence in the crowd during the show. New age sounds were emanating from the stage. Joel Cummins and Kris Myers combined their skills with the group to create artificially organic moments during their performance. The band is made up of traditional instruments and a mix of electronic devices. They merge the two worlds of music well on stage. I saw the band last year, and was excited to see them again this year. During an interview taken last May with Jeremy Garrett, fiddler from The Infamous Stringdusters, mentioned that the band being one of his favorite new acts. Music ran late into the night with Jaik Willis on the Campfire Stage, dance music in the Vibe Tent and Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band closing out the entertainment for Thursday on the Campfire Stage.

In the first seven years of attending the Summer Camp Music Festival I camped in the middle of the woods next to the Campground/Camping Stage. In 2004, I was camping at the bottom of the campgrounds, and found myself in a small puddle of water when I awoke. The festival grounds needs to think about an irrigation system that could harness the water flow, instead of being held victim to it each year. This year, I camped in my Jeep, and was happy with my decision by the end of the weekend. In the Jeep I thought about how we could expand in the forest.

Continue reading with Friday’s post. [Web Link].