Summer Camp Approaches

Summer Camp Approaches

Summer Camp’s full lineup is finally upon us, and with that, the real excitement begins. As we are just over a month away, the energy is palpable in the fan community. Friends from all over the country are discussing travel, camp sites, what time to arrive, what new bands they’ll be seeing, etc. As Memorial Day looms on the horizon, I wanted to talk a bit more about the festival and what makes people come back year after year. Let me paint a picture…

So you’ve made it through the line and you’ve found that perfect spot to set up camp. The excitement in the air is making it difficult to take the time to set up your tent, so you maybe rush through it a little bit, eager to get to the stages and reunite with friends and start dancing. The Thursday night pre-party is in full swing by 6:00 p.m. and there is no shortage of quality entertainment to choose from, whether you’re headed to the Vibe Tent for a bass-heavy dance party to kick things off, some soul reggae in the woods, or stretching out in the sun to some bluegrass at the Campfire Stage. The musicians are stoked, they’re playing their hearts out, and as the sun goes down, the lights come on in the trees.

You meander through the woods, taking it all in. Luminescent butterflies, flowers, and mandalas guide you through the darkened trees, and you maybe stop to sit with some folks and chat, making some new friends. As you extract yourself from the all-encompassing woods, you check out vendor row and resist the urge to buy some clothes, jewelry, posters, CDs, and LPs, knowing that you will have all weekend to spend money.

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You pass a row of food vendors on the way back to your tent, sporting delicious vittles from teriyaki chicken bowls and homemade peach ice cream to gouda cheese and soothing iced coffee. You grab some grub and head back to camp, talking with your neighbors and friends about what the weekend has in store. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, sleep comes for you, and you drift away into sweet musical dreams.

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Bam! Friday morning hits, and with it comes the rest of the festival. As people flood in, the buzz grows and grows until it hits fever pitch just before festival headliner moe. hits the Moonshine Stage for their perennial Friday afternoon set. This is one of the best times of the weekend: the grounds are fresh, the music is really starting to get pumping, and most importantly, everyone has arrived. You start to drift between different groups of friends as you hit different shows, workshops, games, and so much more.

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Once the sun goes down, things really start to get intense. The crowd becomes the light show as Umphrey’s McGee devastates the Sunshine Stage with their singular brand of progressive, jam-heavy shredding. This year holds some serious potential for Friday night (the schedule hasn’t been released yet), with slots that could be filled by any of the exceptional artists occupying the top tier this year (for full lineup info, click here: http://summercampfestival.com/lineup/).

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The music takes over the grounds and shakes the earth; it goes deep into the night, and afterwards you can still get yourself some piping hot pizza to replenish all that energy you just danced away! One thing is for sure, there isn’t much sleeping going on after all that. The chatter from the campers makes the campground hum until about four in the morning, when (almost) everyone catches some quick rest and refuels for another day.

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Saturday brings another round of excellent music, high-quality food, relaxing yoga sessions, and of course lazy hammock naps. But you won’t want to take too much time recuperating, as the shows kick into high gear right at 11:00 a.m. sharp! Whether you’re into high-octane space rock, laid-back folk tunes, instrumental jazz, thudding funk, wompy bass, boot-stompin' hootenannies, or something else altogether, there is something for you on Saturday! Cap it off with the legendary Saturday night Umphrey’s-moe. back-and-forth, and you have one intense festival day.

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Sunday for me is usually a little bit of relaxing and catching some smaller bands before getting the campsite ready for teardown on Monday morning. However, the shows do heat up as the day goes on, charging towards an epic finish line with moe. throwing down a set starting after midnight and the last echoes of music finally drifting into the sky around 4:00 a.m. It’s a marathon of a weekend, not a sprint, so be sure and save your energy and make the most of it.

Hopefully this has provided some insight as to why fans keep coming back to Summer Camp, and more importantly, refer to it as “going home.” For many, it’s one of the best weekends of the year, and will forever hold a special place in their hearts. Insane artist collaborations, weekend-long inside jokes, friends old and new, but most importantly, memories that last a lifetime (or at least until next year). Come see what it’s all about. You won’t regret it.

For info on tickets, volunteering, press inquiries, and more, check out the website: http://summercampfestival.com/

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