By: Ellie Salrin
The 13th annual Summer Camp Music Festival will take place Memorial Day weekend,
May 24-26, in Chillicothe, IL (about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis). It marks the beginning of summer with a wonderful mix of friends, music, art, activities, and fun that truly does feel like a grown up summer camp for those of us who will always be young at heart.
2013 boasts a killer lineup with electronic heavy hitters STS9, Thievery Corporation, EOTO, Conspirator, Big Gigantic, Zeds Dead, Gramatik, Break Science and GRiZ. Summer Camp veterans moe. and Umphrey’s McGee will play all three nights, in addition to Trey Anastasio Band, Keller Williams, The Wailers, Lettuce, and Big Boi. Victor Wooten is an “Artist at Large” and will be on-site the whole festival, sitting in with various artists and hosting workshops. With six stages and a diverse roster, Summer Camp is one of those festivals that gives you goose bumps when you see the schedule because there are so many incredible artists to see.
The festival kicks off Thursday with a pre-party, passes for which are $33.00. Summer Camp offers three-day passes and Sunday only one-day passes that are priced at $218.00 and $74.80 respectively. It is probable the price will be higher at the gate. RV passes with electricity are sold out but spots without electricity are still available for $154.80. Click here to purchase tickets.
There are a few different VIP upgrades available. You must have the three-day pass to purchase the pre-party or VIP passes. The general VIP Upgrade is $199.00 and gives you access to VIP parking and camping, the VIP lounge with discounted drinks, VIP seating at shows, free showers, and your choice of Friday, Saturday, or Sunday Late Night ticket. Late Night tickets are to the Red Barn (more info below), which is limited in space. The VIP upgrade is currently the only way to get these tickets.
The VIP Deluxe Upgrade is $299.00 and also includes a case of Goose Island Beer, a Summer Camp t-shirt, and a Late Night ticket to two Red Barn shows. The VIP Super Deluxe Upgrade is $419.00 and also includes a Summer Camp sweatshirt and a Late Night ticket to all three Red Barn shows. Finally, the VIP Rockstar Upgrade is $999.00 and includes all of the above in addition to an all-access pass, allowing entry to backstage areas with open bar and snacks.
Just Announced - Prophet Massive (Jason Hann of EOTO), Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, Zoogma, and others will be doing special VIP-only performances at the VIP lounge. These intimate shows are new to the festival this year.
Most attendees choose to tent camp. The grounds are mostly open fields, but there is a wooded area. It typically fills up by Friday afternoon so if you want to get a spot in the woods, come on Thursday. RV camping is an option but is filling up quickly. There are hotels in the town of Chillicothe, but the two within walking distance are already booked. Summer Camp is offering hotel and shuttle packages for VIPs through Umphrey’s McGee.
Stages and Vending
There are six stages - Moonshine (the main stage), Sunshine, Starshine, Campfire, Camping, and Vibe tent. There is also music in the Red Barn at night and the Soulshine tent sporadically throughout the festival. Add the VIP lounge and you have plenty of great spots to catch a show. Summer Camp’s masquerade troupe of hoopers, fire artists, and more will be performing live with the music.
Many vendors line Shakedown and some of the stages selling art, clothing, jewelry, glass, sunglasses, and other types of knickknacks. The festival has a few general store locations, where you can purchase beer, ice, and necessities. There is a nice mix of food vendors as well including pizza, gyros, breakfast, quesadillas, and some vegetarian options.
2012 saw about 20,000 attendees and Summer Camp is expecting similar numbers this year. The festival offers plenty of things to do aside from shows and every person is guaranteed to find something for them.
This area offers workshops, activities, performances, and more. Whether you want to hoop, do yoga, see a burlesque show, or attend a music, renewable energy, or glass blowing workshop, the Soulshine Tent is a great place to stop by and switch things up.
Make a Difference
This collective consciousness area is all about social and environmental awareness. Explore nonprofit organizations, artists, and activists interested making this world a better place. This year, the Make a Difference area will also feature a live art gallery.
Summer Camp welcomes families with youngsters and offers a kids camp full of games and activities like musical instruments, arts and crafts, face painting, and more. Children age 6-12 receive half-price tickets at the gate.
Starting as as just that, this activity has grown from a day of fun and sports to an ongoing competition that takes place at the festival and online. Teams coordinate throughout the year via Facebook groups then compete at the festival on Sunday, participating in events like tug-of-war, giant Twister, flippy cup, and more. The winning Field Day team receives a keg party following the event. You can still sign up if interested.
Sunrise Kickball with Umphrey’s McGee
This has become a tradition at Summer Camp. If you’re still awake when the sun starts to peek up on Saturday morning, join the fun at the Sunshine stage and play some kickball with Umphrey’s and other dedicated partiers.
Summer Camp offers an impressive mix of after party options that go on well into the night. The Red Barn hosts Late Night shows and will feature Minnesota, Quixotic and Future Rock on Thursday night, moe. and Yonder Mountain String Band on Friday night, STS9, Big Gigantic + GRiZ + Gramatik on Saturday night, and Thievery Corporation and Zeds Dead on Sunday night. These tickets are limited, but never fear if you aren’t able to scoop one up.
The Vibe tent has music til 3 a.m. each night featuring artists such as Dopapod, Protohype, Team Bayside High, Popeska, and Tokimonsta. The Campfire stage has music til 2:30 a.m. each night with a chill, bluegrass vibe interspersed with some visits by electronic artists like Savoy. The woods themselves serve as a fun late night spot to explore, vibrating and glowing with drum circles abound.
Vendors are required to serve food and drink with biodegradable plates, cups, and utensils. Instead of garbage cans, there are recycling areas throughout the festival with color-coded bins for recyclables, compostables, and landfill items. There is also a Green Team that helps collect and sort the trash to keep the grounds clean.
There are port-a-potties throughout the festival. Showers are available for less than $5 and are located north of the RV area. There are also real bathrooms near the showers (both are open until 9 p.m. each night).
Artists to check out
There are a slew of amazingly talented artists that you may not have heard of. Cherub, Papadosio, Zoogma, The Floozies, The Coop, and Indigo Sun are just a few electro-hybrid groups that should not be missed.
Word to the Wise
The weather at Summer Camp can range from dusty, scorching 95 degrees, to cold, rainy and muddy. Be prepared for any type of weather so you can party on regardless of what the weather does. Hand-held fans, spray bottles, rain boots, and ponchos are a good idea.
The festival grounds are located on Illinois Route 29. There are police all along this road and they search if they pull you over, so play it safe and smart.
This isn’t even all the artists - check out the full lineup here!
Trey Anastasio Band
The Avett Brothers
Yonder Mountain String Band
Medeski Martin & Wood
Keller Williams with More Than a Little
Taj Mahal Trio
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
North Mississippi Allstars
The M Machine
The Wood Brothers
Break Science with Chali 2NA
Tea Leaf Green
Bright Light Social Hour
The Soul Rebels
Mike Dillon Band
John Brown’s Body
Maps and Atlases
Chalice Dubs Masquerade
Nahjko & Medicine for the People
This Must Be the Band
Family Groove Company
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
John Wayne & The Pain
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