Five Reasons You Should Go to Summer Camp This Year

Five Reasons You Should Go to Summer Camp This Year

We’re now two rounds into the lineup for Summer Camp 2017, and there’s one more to go (I keep forgetting that!). With such a high-profile offering so far, bursting with talent and fresh faces, the buzz is turning into a rumble in the Midwest (especially with the just-announced VIP upgrades and late-night shows). It’s the best way to kick off your summer music season, and if you’ve never been, here are some reasons why this year should be your first.

1. Les Claypool
As one of the most prolific and unique artists in an already far-reaching and ever-changing music scene, Claypool is a household name thanks to his main trio, Primus, and his myriad solo and ensemble projects. Ranging from the Flying Frog Brigade to the Duo de Twang and Oysterhead (a collaboration with Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland of The Police), Claypool can play with just about anyone. Which is fortunate, considering he’s playing Summer Camp with both Primus and his project with Sean Lennon, The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Expect a dark, murky carnival of eerie, skronky psychedelia anchored by Claypool’s furious bass shredding. Speaking from seeing Primus twice at Summer Camp, do not miss these shows.

2. White Denim
Roaring out of Texas in 2006, White Denim quickly established themselves as a killer live act. Their mixture of soul, ‘70s crunch, progressive rock, blues, and jazz lends itself to sunny days, long drives, and screaming crowds. Song structure takes on a different meaning as they weave stuttering, looping, soaring guitar leads over and around each other, with the bass and drums barely holding everything in place. The music is often frenetic in pace and demanding in its complexity. White Denim is one of the most entertaining acts around, and hopefully they get a nice daytime set at Summer Camp.

3. Organ Freeman
One of the coolest acts around (with one of the best names to boot), Organ Freeman sets the standard for bombastic instrumental jazz-funk fusion. Hard-hitting and innovative, their spiraling melodies eventually careen into full-on modern-day psychedelic space disco. As you listen, you wonder who all is in the band….and then you learn they’re just a trio. With one of the most incendiary debut albums out right now, Organ Freeman is one of the most highly anticipated performances at the festival this year. An absolute must-see.

4. Sunset on Friday Night
Look, summer nights are the best. There’s a reason no one is talking about that awesome late January outdoor show with all the snow everywhere. Weather permitting, Friday night when the sun starts to set is when the electricity really starts flying, as main headliners start to take the stage and unleash the fury. You start to hear music from all directions at once, and even more importantly, more people have shown up and it starts becoming a humming, colorful circus full of smiles, friends old and new, and fantastic tunes drifting up into the night sky.

5. Arts and Crafts
From local vendors here in the CU to nationally known artisans, Summer Camp has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a sweet new hat, a fine piece of glass décor, or handmade instruments from around the world, you can find it on vendor row. It’s not uncommon to leave the festival with a few more pieces of clothing than you arrived with, or one of the excellent posters/paintings/wall art pieces you find hidden in the racks. Just make sure you have your finances in order beforehand!

This year is not one to miss for Summer Camp. Aside from the artists I already mentioned and perennial weekend headliners moe. and Umphrey's McGee, other big names include Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon (guitarist and bassist, respectively, of Phish) with their solo bands, hip hop duo Run the Jewels, cosmic folk outfit Railroad Earth, Pretty Lights (with a live band no less), The Disco Biscuits, Andy Frasco, New York funk shredders Turkuaz, and a slew of local artists from all over the state, like Chicago Farmer, Old Shoe, Henhouse Prowlers, Bones Jugs, Trouble Chasin’, and Brainchild. Throw in some top notch food, arts and crafts, workshops and yoga at the Soulshine Tent, and plenty of beer, and you have one of the best ways to kick off summer.

As mentioned at the beginning, there is still another round of artists to come, and Summer Camp is pulling out all the stops this year. If you’ve never been, this is a fantastic year to start. Come and see why people keep coming back year and year after year.

More information and tickets can be found at the festival website:


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