By: Aaron Giles
Tucked away in the small town of Chillicothe, Illinois you will find Three Sisters Park. Known for its dusty roads, sweltering sun, red barn, and shady forest, Three Sisters has everything you need for a prime camping-festival experience: Summer Camp Music Festival.
Back for it’s 13th year, Summer Camp has always hosted a slew of diverse artists and every year at the top of the bill you will find jam bands Umphrey’s Mcgee and Moe. With each of them playing at least 4 sets throughout the weekend and hosting their own respective stages, it’s clear that the jammy roots of this festival will always run deep.
You don’t see many camping festivals with Summer Camp’s layout. Instead of conveniently camping next to your car all weekend, you’re expected to make the trek into the venue with all the gear on your back, leaving society as you knew it. You must hurry. If you don’t get there quick, spots in the forest will fill up and waking up under the shady foliage makes a BIG difference. Since the festival takes place on Memorial Day weekend, you never know what the weather is going to bring, so make sure to bring your rain gear and your sun-screen; it might get hot and muddy. Lastly, Summer Camp hosts some special late night performances in The Red Barn, making for a unique VIP experience in the wee hours of the morning. Get there if you can, these shows are always memorable.
Each year Scamp lineup continues to grow bigger and better, and, as the music evolves so does the festival. The way the organizers cater to so many genres and age groups sets Summer Camp apart from the rest.
Sitting at the top of the bill you will find Trey Anastasio Band. Yes, the notorious Phish guitarist is making the trip down to Chillicothe to blow your mind. Blending funk, rock, jam, and soul all together at once, Trey will paint a picture with his guitar, melting your face with every lick. Playing two full sets with his band, make sure you come and bear witness to this true American rock legend.
Right below Mr. Anastasio on the upper end of the lineup is STS9. Back for the first time in a couple years, this group is at the helm of Jamtronica. Setting a new standard in fusing a gap between EDM and the jam world, Tribe always presents a spectacle and with so many different songs in its repertoire, each set is different and amazing. This is one of the most highly anticipated performances of the weekend so make sure you’re there for the ride.
Atop the list of electronic acts, Canadian duo Zed’s Dead is back to unleash its jaw-dropping bass onto all of us. Their sound has created a niche in the dubstep culture, and these world-renowned producers definitely know how to throw a party. This is not your everyday dubstep DJ, these guys are world-class. Make it out to this set and see if you can survive.
Another name familiar to this lineup is Yonder Mountain String Band. Think classic bluegrass mixed with some jam-rock then injected with steroids. This Colorado string quartet has made leaps and bounds over the years, and its loyal fan-base has carried them to stardom. Most likely playing an early afternoon set, come out and watch these guys put their own spin on everyday bluegrass.
If you’re looking for something different, dance music doesn’t get much more unusual than Livetronica duo Eoto. Comprised of String Cheese Incident’s drummer and percussionist, respectively, Michael Travis and Jason Hann, Eoto is more of an onstage experiment than a musical performance. Combining live guitars, drums, bass drops, and tribal resonances, this group takes you on a musical journey of progressive electronic music. It’s hard to say what you are going to get with each EOTO experience, just make sure you go.
Summer Camp is known for its jam roots, and now for its electronic, but it’s rare that someone will be raving about the host of hip-hop performances at this fest. This year, that all changes. Big Boi is there to spit some game on the plains. Gaining stardom from prolific duo OutKast, Big Boi is a touring rapper with lyrical abilities. With such a mainstream pull in the rap game these days, it’s refreshing to see a name like Big Boi on the lineup, a true talent who has more to say than just “that shit he don’t like.”
A bit farther down the list, but still just as impressive is Papadosio. Over the past few years Dosio has made a name for itself with beautiful Jamtronica sounds, and after releasing new album “T.E.T.I.O.S,” the group has pushed itself into its own category. With a vibe that speaks for itself and a message that is deeply rooted in the arts community, this group is only growing in popularity. If you’re not yet on the Papa D bandwagon I suggest you jump on now.
Our gem of this festival is Nashville duo Cherub. With a sound vibing on the cusp of funk and pop, these guys are sure to put a smile on your face while you dance. The group’s 80s-esque sound is in a league of its own, and since Cherub is embarking on a huge summer festival tour, the sky’s the limit for these gentlemen. Its captivating lyricism and unique performance makes this group very hard to categorize but so easy to love. Make it out to this set and let Cherub play out of their minds and into your heart.
Honorable Mention of Funk: No stranger to this festival, Victor Wooten is the sultan of slap and the behemoth of bass. The renowned musician has created a style of playing the bass guitar that is matched by no one else. Being an artist at large, he will be sitting in on several different sets throughout the weekend and you never know what is up his sleeve. The man is truly an icon and debatably the best around at his craft. Make sure you get a chance to see Wooten play, otherwise you’ll just be hearing about it from everyone else.
This lineup is jam-packed to the brim with everything you want to hear. The Goldbergs, who put on the festival, have done it again. That’s why Scamp holds true as one of the top camp-out festivals of the summer, every summer. The lineup alone is reason enough to keep coming back, but the experience is what really keeps us all hooked. This really is the Midwest-homie fest, and with beautiful music and great vibes, we couldn’t ask for much more. This will be one of the best events all summer, so pack up your tent, mark your calendars, and get ready to rage on!
Must See Electronica: Thievery Corporation, Big Gigantic, Paper Diamond, Gramatik, Griz, Savoy, Break Science (with Chali 2NA), Minnesota, ILL Gates, Manic Focus, Wick-It The Instigator, The Floozies, Robotic Pirate Monkey