Summer Camp Music Festival never seizes to pass without shredding light onto my state of mind. Throughout my years of attending this festival it has yet to forget to teach me a lesson of acceptance whilst allowing myself to live within the moment. There are voices in these forests whom can show you the magic of life. The sacred geometry of how we move with nature and how nature weaves subtly within the symmetry of fractals. The music chosen for this festival is all calculated to ignite a feeling of blissfulness. Wisdom passed on through sound vibrations like piezoelectric quartz crystals humming from our crown chakras down through the sacrum. It goes unstated; but Summer Camp Music Festival has inevitably moved towards the alignment of chakras, the true feelings of self-acceptance and the belonging of community.
Each year the festival loads in some of the most talented musicians of our day. The one thing I have always respected is the diversity of music. They have jam bands such as Umphrey’s, Moe, and Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band. As well as DJs like Diplo, Mija, Liquid Stranger. They also offer intimate stages allowing singer and songwriters to express themselves.
We arrived Friday and began our journey at Lettuce. The music immediately elevated our moods and I could tell the band was more than grateful to be performing. Their sound was chill funk which integrated soulful funk vocals. The band originated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1992. Its members consist of guitarists Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, Nigel Hall (keyboards, Hammond B-3 organ, piano, vocals), Adam Deitch (drums/percussion), Erick “Jesus” Coomes (bass), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) and trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom In the fall of 1994, the band reconvened as undergrads at Berklee and attempted to play at various Boston jazz clubs, walking in and asking the club owners and other musicians if they would “let us play”, giving birth to the name Lettuce. The members are very down to earth and do not overdress for the effect of flashiness instead they are humble and easily relatable. Their sound is reminiscent of summer days cooling out with friends and drinking beers with the boys. The crowd was light hearted and easy to move around and snap pictures of.
Coomes announced from stage there was a double rainbow. I don’t understand how we were so oblivious because as we turned around we realized how gigantic it was. The rainbow(s) stretched the entire sky framing us under like some sort of 1950’s cartoon. Festival goers were ecstatic to get their photo with such a perfect rainbow. It was such an exciting start to our weekend. a picturesque scene which I have never come across in the city before.
We unexpectedly ran into the man who made this all possible; Jay Goldberg. Amazingly we locked eyes after he spotted our hat which read Chicago Music Festivals. Jerry and I approached him. He wasn’t too far off from what I imagined; though I do have to say he was a lot more approachable than what I thought. I was finally able to put a personality to this imaginary person I have been building. He gladly conversed with us and we congratulated him on another successful year. He said he has been doing the festival for 18 years. I asked him what his thoughts were on how music has evolved from what he grew up with as a child to what is now primarily electronic music. He replied without hesitance saying how he is amazed that musicians continue to make amazing music to this day and continue to create timeless songs. I was very inspired by his answer and pondered over it the whole weekend. His acceptance for change and youth was admirable. He never stopped smiling and could almost see a glow coming from him. It was obvious he loved being part of this creation and felt very blessed to be able have this part of his life.
Later that night we headed towards the Pyramid stage. It was created out of white hexagon shaped wood allowing for projection mapping to cast. GoodSex was on representing some Chicago talent. We sat under the shelter of trees. We stared out into the moon so closely to phase into full moon. The highlights of the grass and the sky began to transform shapes as my eyes fixated onto the sacred geometry. The flower of life was so clearly seen that I couldn’t believe it was so obvious why I couldn’t see it before. At that moment I realized how perfectly symmetrically aligned was, seemed like the random order of our world is. I closed my eyes and saw fractals begin to dance whilst being embraced by its care. I was shown emotion in the past but felt cleared. I was living my life through my heart and allowing myself.
Saturday morning, we woke up in the humidity of our tent. This year we were lucky enough to get into the forest through I have to say it might have been the hottest year I have ever been here.
Papadosio encompassed the feeling of festival music and so called “space rock.” Beach balls and balloons floated I. The air while totem poles with memo stuffed animals swam through the air. Everything floated and flowed softly like feathers. A robotic voice sang “changes everything” calming the thoughts of their fans allowing them to transcend into the next chapters of their lives knowing that change is alright, and everything changes with time. It was the graceful aging and the decisions of our lives knowing what in our hearts in good for us and liberating ourselves from the paths of what our parents may have projected onto us. Deafening our ears to judgement and to be guided now with our hearts. They were the voice of a strange lullaby easing us into our most vibrant dreams.
LWKY had their first taste of Summer Camp life this year performing at the pyramid stage. The stage was beautifully lit in projection mapping. Their sound was fused with Chicago hip hop and funk whilst including live guitar. They announced their last song while the crowd pleaded to continue. They have a fresh twist on the funk scene creating a path of their own and highly influenced by the Chicago underground electronic scene as well.
We decided to pick up the speed later and headed towards the vibe tent. The vibe tent housed many exciting electronic acts with high energy drawing in large crowds with young fashion combats boots and fishnet stocking. Hula hoopers cut the air like ninjas swords finding their flow amongst the raw alien engine whomps and rapid high hats. The scene was a rush of adrenaline and headbanger banging on the rails. Subs engulfed our heart cavities and shook us like earthquakes. The crowd screams with the waves of the music like junkies addicted to its rush. Each time we arrived here there was a swell of fans who
On Sunday we caught an act that we highly anticipated all weekend. Tycho’s music was a calm night on the beach. Where the breeze was light, and the sun was just about to set. They were the colors pink and orange in the skies that reflected of soft waves of the ocean. They calmed our minds and courageously played the music that was detached from ego. His music is a combination of down tempo vintage-style synthesizers and ambient melodies. His sound is very organic, often incorporating clips of the human element into his songs (e.g. weather broadcasts, simple talking, or breathing). His music captures the sound of lo-fi analog media while remaining both progressive and futuristic in composition and style. Themes of nostalgia, longing, childhood and the natural world are interspersed throughout Tycho’s work.
Diplo took the main stage on Sunday. I made my way through the crowd and finding myself front and center. The transitions were smooth infiltrating our ears and converting into high energy dance movements. People all around us and you felt a part of something. Felt like we were all one in and allowing our walls and comfort bubbles to implode. Bringing ourselves close to strangers whom after the intimacy of closely packed dance we became lifelong friends. A moment that now became flashes of memory in the back of my head smiles of strangers exuberant with dance and cheers.
It is nearly impossible to explain the magnitude of musical talent which played Summer Camp Music Festival. Each stage possessed its own vibe from the intimate singer songwriters to purely electronic stage of the vibe tent to main stage housing large acts and full bands like Umphrey’s. I have always been impressed with the variety this festival has and the generations that can enjoy the fest. This festival is great to find new music because the variety of scenes is unparalleled. The highly thought out ground plans makes for smooth transitions from stage to stage. And the characterization keeps the festival lay out is easy to remember and easy for transportation. People aren’t hassled once in the festival and this I learned was deliberately made true from the owner who has witnessed many other festivals hassling their guests upon entering each stage. I appreciated his thoughtfulness to keep the festival environment more enjoyable. The music combined with the charities and other activities create a sense of community amongst scampers. All in all, Summer Camp Music Festival has earned their stripes and will continue to be sought out amongst artists and music lovers of all generations.