Over Memorial Day, besides being at the Detroit Electronic Music festival, Detroit Underground also spent the weekend at Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois. This was the 12th annual Summer Camp Music Festival and it was a HOT one!
The weekend was probably the hottest, dustiest, dirtiest festival I have been to. When we got there Thursday for the Pre-party, we were able to secure a campsite in the shade of the woods. Summer Camp was off to a great start Thursday! They call it a pre-party, but in all actuality, Summer Camp Music Festival begins on Thursday. Every day music started early in the day and last sets started in the wee hours of 4am.
I was on my way to check out Cornmeal, and I stopped by the camping stage and caught a little bt of Trichrome. Their funk sound brought lots of energy to the stage, which was a smaller more intimate stage and unfortunately at times kind of hard to get to. Thursday night had a great set by the band Cornmeal out of Chicago, IL. The crowds were getting down to the energetic good times, lead by the singer and violin player Allie Kral . You could feel her passion and energy as she played that fiddle. The glow sticks were flying and you knew the party had begun.
Michigan natives the Infamous String Dusters brought their bluegrass twang to the late night stage on Thursday night. Overall it was a great “Pre-Party” or what I would call the first night of Summer Camp.
Friday quickly warmed up to be extremely hot and dusty. The Dead Kenny G’s brought their weird funky sounds while wearing the Kenny G. style wigs. After that, Keller Williams and his one man band played his looping style while moving between his 3 guitars and mixing board. Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead played an acoustic set covering a bunch of “Dead” and Bob Dylan songs. Also playing on Friday evening, was jam band Umphrey’s Mcgee. I have seen Umphrey’s several times over the years, and I find myself like them more and more every time I see them.
EOTO brought their non-stop beats to the stage in the late evening. There was a great crowd getting down with lot of energy. I spent some time talking to Mathien while taking a break in the media area this afternoon while he waited for the rest of his band to arrive. So I headed over to check him out for a little while. Primus had a funky heavy bass show as Les Claypool usually brings to the stage. Throughout their set they had several special guests come out. First a few members of Gogol Bordello came out then Bob Weir joined Primus on stage to the surprise of many!
Saturday was one of the hottest days of the festival. I wanted to check out Fareed Haque & Mathgames, but just couldn’t get motivated to go out in the heat to catch their set. Hip hop legend Common brought his A-game moving across the stage having a great time. As he spat his powerful lyrics, the audience sprayed water on stage to cool him off from the massive heat. Following Common, G. Love & Special Sauce step on stage with his unique rock and hip hop set. Warren Haynes came out as a special guest to the surprise of many.
Ultraviolet Hippopotamus out of Michigan played the quant camping stage. I saw them at last years Hoxeyville festival and was thoroughly impressed. Umphrey’s and Moe each played two sets, switching off on different stages. Both bands drew large crowds, and raged the night away. Umphrey’s broke out Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” in the middle of their set and the crowd went wild. The Ragbirds out of Michigan played a late night set . It was a great time and they drew a pretty good crowd for the time of their set.
On Sunday Kalamazoo’s Greensky Bluegrass rolled into Summer Camp to bring their fun bluegrass sounds to the stage for two different performances. Moe played an acoustic set in the afternoon on the Starshine stage. A laid back atmosphere with a great dance party. As much of one as there could be considering it was almost 100 degrees outside/
In the early evening we were treated to Every Orchestra in the air conditioned Red Barn. At first the glory of the air condition, didn’t matter who came out on stage, but I have to tell you. Matt Butler’s Everyone Orchestra is a treat if you have never seen them. Matt gathers many musicians from the festival to create an improvisational music making performance by writing on small white boards, and the musicians and audience responds and creates music. The Everyone Orchestra included members from Moe. Umphreys, Trey Anastasio Band, and more.
When I got to the Michael Franti & Spearhead set, I saw him standing in the audience jamming away as the crowd was getting down. One thing about Michael Franti is that he has lots of positive energy and he brings it to every fan in the audience by playing in the crowd and even bringing people on stage.
Shpongle presents the Masquerade, brought his amazing setup to Summer Camp this year playing an early evening set on Sunday . I wish the set had been a bit later instead of at sunset, so you really could get an appreciation of the light show and staging.
I’ve seen Pretty Lights a couple of times and we so we just stopped by for a few before going to check out Galactic. As usually the dance party was hopping, and everyone was getting down. Galactic played their New Orleans funk, with singer Corey Glover of in Living Color. I really enjoy the music of Galactic. They create a funky sound and bring lots of good vibes.
Jane’s Addiction played the main on Sunday night. Unfortunately we were not allowed in the photo pit, but I did manage to get pretty close for a lot of the show. Perry Ferrel brought his stage presence front and center chugging a bottle of wine as Dave Navarro jammed the guitar away.
Then I headed over to catch the last few songs as Moe closed the Moonshine stage for the festival. The last bit of music I saw at Summer Camp was Michigan’s Greensky Bluegrass. Besides having sound issue because Pretty Lights seem to be taking their “power” during his late night set, it was a great time. It was nice to put the camera down, and really enjoy the end of the festival.
Overall Summer Camp was a BLAST. Hot, dirty, and dusty didn’t matter, as the music made all the difference. If you’ve never been to Summer Camp before, I highly recommend you check it out!