Summer Set Music & Camping Festivals 2016 line up was screaming with the most well known electronic and musical acts to date. The festival was held at Somerset, Wisconsin and celebrated its fifth year anniversary with acts which included; Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Gramatik, Flux Pavillion, Marshmello, Nghtmre, Infected Mushrooms, STS9, Chance the Rapper and a slew of others including an EPIC filthy Jauz after party!
This year we had the privilege of staying in the RV camping site which was a whole new perspective for attending a festival. I personally had yet to experience this side of festival life but If you have ever been camping; then you too share my deep appreciation for air-conditioning. There are several obvious perks when staying in the RV camping site if your budget permits. Perks like, how much I didn’t miss waking up under the blaze of an afternoon sun dripping in a mixture of my own sweat and the toxins melting through my pores from the night before. Secondly, the public showers were spacious and warm without a line hurrying you. Close by were a more hygienic choice of public restrooms equipped with toilet paper! And of course last but not least, electricity was a definite plus. It is definitely nice to have a constant line of communication with your fellow festie goers. This made it easier to explore the festival without any worry because everyone knows how easy it is to loose friends in the crowds at some of the most dire times.
Although, there are those small luxuries of life to be grateful for within the RV camping; I have to be honest when stating there were just some aspects of the RV site that didn’t compare to roughing it. Within tent camping there was somewhat more of an adventurous aspect; something undeniably went void along with the interesting characters and stories which resided within the fabric of those polyester walls. More that half the times these neighbors which were once strangers end up being your new best friends! In all honesty that didn’t happen to us this year; mainly because we were more secluded. This is neither good nor bad. I guess a plus was we got to spend more time with the friends we came there with. In contrast the home status of your tent created an undying bond within the proximity of close neighbors. The raw in the moment incidents in which strangers find conversation were harder to come by because it was easier to hide away behind closed doors. The excitement of the night or the intimacy of the morning with your eyes half open were more exclusive within the RV side. This could be good or could take out that element of surprise to others.
There were four stages this year including; The Grove, The Saloon, The Big Top, and of course the Main Stage. The park was laid out with the Main Stage held on concrete surrounded by multiple food vendors and classic carnival attractions. When making your way to The Big Top you don’t have to feel bad about missing leg day at the gym because believe me; they got you covered!
Around each corner there was some new twist of an artistic touch that stuck out. An artist’s take on a seductive Cherokee woman with hair dancing in the wind laid her eyes on you as you passed into the trails of the park. Amazingly, the artists stood outside painting murals allowing an audience to continue checking in on their progress throughout the weekend.There were also romantic garden scapes with benches along the side that really brought in a feminine aura.The Main Stage had these cartoon-esque metal trees which held Chinese nylon lanterns that really brought up the mood of the park creating a bubbly virtual reality feel.
One very memorable piece of art was found at the grove. While we sat waiting for Grimes to make the stage; we listened to opera play in the background as we observed a particularly interesting piece of art. Standing at least 20 feet tall; devilish tree branches snarled fire into the skies. This was an interactive piece in which several participants could choose to pull cords in order to spark a fire; only to realize that if they all pulled at the exact same time the fires would combine into an overwhelming magnitude out of its mechanical branches.
Music was well noted and not only were there electronic acts but some live acts made their way in as well. DJ headliners were all about the filth this year with dirty bass lines. While the tents seem to have laid down more deep house acts. There were notable vocalists and rappers including Eryn Allen Kane.
I was really excited to see Skrillex make it out. He left out his lighter mixes and instead had dirty hip-hop matched with progressive dance beats and filthy bass lines. He was colored in red with an eerily creepy skeleton graphic dancing around in a contorted torso and was amputated from before the pelvis bone down. It was obvious that many people came solely to see Skrillex and the crowd went hard to show their undying support.
Marshmello played a day set which was evenly set up for a very diverse crowd. I found he chose to mix softer songs in the beginning of his set and got progressively harder and filthier at the end.
Infected Mushrooms had an underground feel mixed with heavy metal guitarist who’s crunch was amplified throughout The Big Top tent. Their stage design was accompanied by an otherworldly mushroom with octopus legs outstretching from each side. It was quite the image to have in mind whilst listening to this unique mesh of hard rock solos meets dance beats.
It was great seeing Alison Wonderland come out as well this year. I was also really interested in hearing her get the crowd hyped and exclaiming before dropping her infamous dub hit that it was written about anxiety. It was so nice to hear her reach out to her fans and show how we all can relate to the obstacles life can hand us.
It was great seeing Chance the Rapper chooses to travel with his band. I could tell within some of his new work that gospel has had a major influence in his roots. Of course as he took the stage his distinct voice rushed in a crowd.
Autograf was very attuned to their sound. The group seemed to have an ability to cast a sheer feel of blissfulness over its listeners and elevate their fans. I don’t believe anyone could even touch the path they chose to take in electronic music.
STS9 also made a great appearance holding it down for electronic jam bands. We got the privilege of interviewing these kind-hearted musicians about their new album release entitled “The Universe Inside” coming out September 2nd. It was interesting hearing their perspective on the album and why they chose to entitle the album in such a deeply inspiring way.
There were too many acts to name that amazed me this year and not to mention the clothes vendors which inspired the splurge of shopping that over took me. The harder DJs acts really got the crowd down and of course there were great vibes around. A first time festie goer even mentioned how a random girl came up and hugged her and told her “I hope you have a great time at the festival.” I realized that yeah, this is how festivals are! You can meet people and have these special interactions with others in a way that our “normal” lives may not have. It seemed to be a great fifth anniversary for Summer Set Music & Camping Festival and can’t wait to make it out there next year.