Summer Camp review
Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 17:08
Last weekend, going away to summer camp took on a whole new meaning. Instead of gathering around the campfire, thousands of music enthusiasts crowded around a stage to sing and dance to music from some of the most talented artists in the industry. Summer Camp attendants, know as “scampers,” opted for “jungle juice” in place of the more innocent “bug juice” from their childhood.
Last year, Three Sister’s Park in Chillicothe, Ill. was flooded with rain, but this year it was hit with quite the opposite: small, yet amply annoying dust storms. Strong breezes blew dirt into every crevice, and even tipped over several Port-a-Potties. But, the record-breaking heat and gusty winds were no match for the kids at heart. Scampers still had a great time despite the extreme weather.
Frontman Brendan Bayliss told the Sunday afternoon Umphrey’s McGee crowd to keep thinking, “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful.” Though it was scorching, it was almost impossible to sit down while watching the performances. But luckily, in the end, the boogie fever that runs rampant at all music festivals, triumphed.
Summer Camp’s regular headliners moe. and Umphrey’s McGee put on great shows, as usual. Moe. provided a fairly chill soundtrack, which allowed a perfect break from dancing. The lasers used during the nighttime sets hit the trees in the back of the Moonshine stage and made it appear that there were fairies dancing in the forest.
Umphrey’s selected many of their more metal and hard rock songs throughout the weekend. One of the highlights was when they covered Tool’s “46 & 2” Saturday night. The band’s lighting guru, Jefferson Waffle, conducted his trademark visual spectacle to accompany the tunes.
In order to find the best camping spots, showing up early for the pre-party is a must. By Thursday night, all the prime locations had been snatched up and the music was cranked out in full force.
Digital Tape Machine, a side project made up of several local musicians originally in other bands, was the perfect segue into the evening, as the music continued from earlier on in the afternoon. This high-energy band is so multidimensional, and contains many different musical elements. From rock to electronic sounds, each member brings something different to the table. They really got the party started after the sun went down.
Keller Williams, who performed on the Moonshine stage Friday afternoon, is always a joy to see live. He’s an entertaining one-man band. His energy, talent and stage presence meld into a trifecta of pure awesomeness, which inspires contagious smiles from the audience members.
There were many collaborations throughout the weekend as well. Music festivals provide the perfect opportunity for a band to bring up another musician that they admire.
Cornmeal fiddler Allie Kral made an appearance with Family Groove Company during their pre-party and performed Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.” Bob Weir sat in with Primus during their psychedelic Friday performance. Later that night, Brendan Bayliss, from Umphrey’s McGee, and Jennifer Hartswick, from Van Ghost, paired up with their deejay pal for Wyllys & The New York Hustler Ensemble.
Members from Umphrey’s McGee and The Disco Biscuits joined forces to pay homage to two of their favorite bands, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. This new cover project, called Brain Damaged Eggmen, came about just for Summer Camp. They practically blew the top off of the red barn when they made their debut during the Saturday late night show.
The tunes were so solid and the weather so beautiful at the 12th annual Summer Camp, it truly made for an absolutely unforgettable weekend.