Okay festie kids, it’s that time of year again…the InTents Promo Tour is back! For those not familiar with my gig, here’s the rundown: I hit up some of the hottest festivals the summer has to offer, camp out of course (hence the in-tents bit), and spread the word on the music I love. This is my third year at it, so it’s time to step it up. Be prepared for interviews with some of the best bands, organizers, and artists the jam scene has to offer as well as more pictures and videos of the things I see!
This year, I’m starting with one of my all-time favorite festivals, the Summer Camp Music Festival taking place May 26-30. Located at Three Sister’s Park in Chillicothe, IL, Summer Camp is set to kick off my tour with one of the best line-ups the summer has to offer. Not only are there going to be the same fan favorites as years past i.e. moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Pretty Lights, Cornmeal, Yonder, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and STS9, but you can also find more than a few big additions. The top two in my opinion are the addition of Widespread Panic and Huey Lewis and the rUMors which consists of members of Umphrey’s McGee!
Cornmeal on the Moonshine Stage-Summer Camp 2010
Umphrey’s McGee- Summer Camp 2010
Not only will the 5+ stages be stacked, but there will also be plenty to do and see outside of live music. One of my favorite parts of Summer Camp is their dedication to greening initiatives and non-profit organizations. The Soulshine Tent is a hub for artists and philanthropists alike with sustainable living workshops, sociopolitical seminars, artwork by regional artists, and even morning yoga classes. Plus, this year it will run on solar power! As for music, there will be plenty of that as well. With quite a few bands jumping on board to represent the non-profit organizations they support, the Soulshine tent is a great spot to soak up a ton of good vibes. And once the sun goes down, it appropriately turns into the Late Night 312 Vibe Tent and will feature sets by Mimosa, Boombox, Polish Ambassador and a slew of other raging badns and DJs.
Cornmeal in the Soulshine Tent at Summer Camp 2010
To learn more about the beginnings of Summer Camp as well as its continuous growth over the last 10 years, I set up an interview with lead organizer Mike Armintrout. With an ever-expanding role in making big things happen at Scamp, Mike oversees everything from marketing and advertising to vending and volunteers. He is even responsible for about 25-30% of talent buying and booking. Although it is a big job, Mike admitted it is a labor of love. “We’re a small company and we are all here for the love of live music. As it grows, we can afford to give other people an opportunity to work and help.” He went on to explain, “The [jam} scene is built around such a great community of people. When we started, it’s where all our tastes were and still are. Even though those tastes have expanded, every one of us does it because we are passionate about doing it.”
As for the group that makes it happen year after year, Mike confessed, “It’s like a family reunion! Over the last 7-8 years, people have moved, but they maintain those same areas. Those 25-30 of us still hold our positions and we hope the camaraderie that we feel translates from us to the fans.” Addressing the egos that can be associated with working with bands, promoters and other organizers, Mike assured me, “They just don’t exist with Summer Camp. There is a lot of satisfaction and self-fulfillment that comes from working on this festival.”
After reaching roughly 13,000 festival goers last year, Mike is confident the numbers will only continue to rise. “As we look towards this year, I definitely think we’ve outdone last year with the addition of Widespread alone and all of us are excited to see Huey Lewis play with Umphrey’s McGee!” When I asked him to expand on the addition of the iconic musician/actor, Mike declared, “If Umphrey’s McGee wants to do something with Huey Lewis at a fest, we want to make that happen.”
UM-Summer Camp 2010
Regarding whether he and his crew will even have time to catch any music between coordinating stages, collecting and sorting trash, and keeping things running smoothly, Mike proclaimed, “We all have different ideas of what to see and we hope that the work we’ve done will allow us to see things we want to see.” Having had a chance to talk with Mike at least year’s festival, I wasn’t surprised when he added, “However, from 5-6:15p on Sunday, I’ll be at the Moonshine stage watching the Avett Brothers with my radio off!” While on the subject of Sunday, Mike proclaimed, “It is definitely the cheapest single-day ticket for what you get; the line-up is ridiculous!”
As of now, the VIP tickets with Late Night upgrades have sold out and individual Late Night tickets are off sale. So if you’re still on the fence about whether or not to go, you might want to decide to go for it and get your passes now!
Campfire Stage & Late Night Barn- Summer Camp 2010
This might help you make up your mind…holy lasers!
With so many things going on at the same time, be sure to hit up the Summer Camp website and Facebook page for full details on making your Summer Camp experience the best it can be. Also, don’t forget to check out their “Activism” page to see how you can help make a difference while you are there!
Stay tuned for my full review after the fest!
Until then, stay safe my friends!