We began our journey to Summer Camp Music Festival Friday afternoon after scrambling last minute for the necessary items to pack. I became lost between blankets and pillows in the back seat of the car to only be awakened by the rain that crashed against our car windows. We drove up with our videographer who was obviously anxious to finally be able to cover one of his favorite DJ. Figure had personally asked him to shoot his set this year and we were more than excited to get the opportunity.
I myself was extremely curious to finally get a chance to speak with Figure after learning about where he gets his inspiration for producing. I am always fascinated at the psychology that goes behind making music for any artist and how someone can use the exact same medium but completely create opposite effects with it.
Low chatter came from the front seat as I sat contemplating over why and how artists convey certain emotions with their music as windshield wipers fought off the water. We inched closer to Three Sisters Park as the rain still continued to fall. Luckily, we made it in the festival in nearly perfect timing to completely avoid getting wet.
We learned a heavy lesson from last year about how hot it can get in the morning. How rudely the sun can awaken you in its heat and stickiness of sweat and stuffy tent air. We trudged through the mud with our belongings to find a camp site large enough for two tents. Thankfully we found something hidden beneath the cool shading on the forest camp site. Camping in the forest allowed us to stay out later and not feel the regret of no sleep in the morning. We comfortably slept past noon this year without interruption.
Venturing through the park I immediately realized just what type of mess the rain would leave us with, mud! How appropriate the first artist I remember hearing singing was Les Claypool. Unfortunately, I felt it did bring some peoples moral down or at least the amount of dancing was far less than what I remembered the year before. The difficulty of dancing or traveling from stage to stage while our feet stuck to the ground and sunk deep into its clutches was Hardly an environment to move around. I also noticed a smaller percentage of girls hooping because of the conditions.
We found ambitions pathways around the small ponds of mucky water. They also as always ran a trolley which was free !
The mud also effected the cleanliness of the porta potties. There was water on the floor with mud that is not the most appealing to be mixed. Up inside a bathroom. There was a high density of mud that accumulated outside the porta potties due the high traffic of people in the surrounding area. Lines were less long for the porta potties because I’m sure most were just a bit grossed out with the situation. VIP bathroom were your best bet unless you were an artist.
Besides the mud I wouldn’t even have complained and after awhile like I said I sort of got used to it or found it fun change of pace from my clean city living. There were so many things to see and do that the whole mud issue began to take a backseat.
There were daily workshops to attend in order to help cultivate and spread awareness. The permaculture workshop addressed natural building methods, soil health, water design integration, planting techniques, edible food forests, container gardening, and much more. The complete immersion event includes prepared meals, camping, morning ceremony, evening discussions and a dynamic learning environment.
Food vendors offer wide varieties of food that seem to expand every year. Choices like Heady Taco, Asian Sensation are some of the campers favorites! There were also choices of Greek, middle eastern, American food, Mexican food, as well as a coffee booth who created a big buzz in the mornings! These choices are great for people who are just too lazy to prepare! One thing I would like to see in the future is more vegan options and fresh fruit.
Another great point about the festival was there were dozens of Live artists selling their creations. I saw anything from paintings to festive pins. Mack Glass Blowing was there making all kinds of glass art and jewelry with live flames right in front of your eyes.
One of my favorite artists to meet was Phil Kutno who creates trippy pencil drawings that are nothing like I’ve ever seen before. His style incorporates taking several objects or people, then slowly fractals it into a larger picture!
Summer Camp Music Festival seems to always have the perfect balance between electronic music and live acts. There were live acts such as Umphrey’s McGee, Moe., Trey Anastatio, Electronic fused acts like Gramatik, Pretty Lights, and Manic Focus lastly, pure electronic music like Figure, Liquid Stranger and Rezz.
I found myself in the Photo pit for one of my favorite bands growing up. Primus approached the stage with a southern swag and his captain Morgan stance confidently perched on a speaker.
Zeds Dead as always killed their set! It’s great hearing their fresh take on music. In the age of anxiety this music draws people together and relieves their fans through their energetic music.
EGi is an up and coming jam band with a great following on the local scene. Ethereal is nothing short of the term that can encapsulate the pure human emotion behind their passion and art. Each band member plays a very important role and you can see the camaraderie and true respect they have within their membership. Their style gives an edge to jam
Bands with their fluctuation of styles. Noe seamlessly rips in and out of various scales created the third dimension to their music. Their bass lines are intricate and full of funk while they styled in influences from new age house beats. They are also known for their strong inspirational roots of Santana, but have endlessly proven that no one style can box them in.
Figure commanded the crowd and was def the one of the filthiest acts this year. Die hard fans came out of the wood works to womp out and get out any aggression. His sets are always so fun to watch and be a part of and his fans are super passionate and interactive. It was a pleasure to speak with him after the set and get to know him more. He is a very down to earth guy who invited his cousin and her boyfriend along for his trip. He explained how horror films have been a huge inspiration for his music and how he loves creating music while watching some of his favorite films. He sported a Jean jacket leather boots and a Halloween II t-shirt. His tattoos only emphasized how deep his love went for gore and horror flicks.
To our surprise, we ran into Yonder Mountain String Band backstage and had a chance to briefly talk to them. They graciously allowed us a picture and we more than happy to talk to us. We ask them how their set went that day and they replied with smiles, telling how great the festival was going and how they had an amazing time playing for everyone. Yonder Mountain String Band is a progressive bluegrass band who takes high pride within their craft, proving their love for music, reinvention, and instrumentation. They have also been working on a new album entitled, LOVE. AIN’T LOVE which comes out June 23rd of this year!
While most people come to Scamp for the music, it can’t be boxed to plainly Judy listening to music. Scamp becomes a place to meet new people, experience new perspectives, connect, and learn more about yourself. Each tent holds a story waiting to be peeled back and experienced.
Our friends introduced us to a young man from New York who could of, hands down had the coolest tent I’ve ever been in. The spacious tent resembling a white lotus was lined with an Armenian rug, tapestry neatly thrown over tables to hold intricate trinkets and the sounds of a djembe drum altering us into another state. Holographic art laid on the floor for visitors to pick up and admire beautiful faces of women melting into each other. A China doll transformed from left to right into a blue smiling lizard woman then into Snow White blonde and back around.
When Sunday came the mud seemed to have dried up and hardened for the most part. There was a path that allowed easy entrance to the Moon Shine stage which had previously been swamped out around its entrance. Today more and more people were willing to dance and hoop without getting slowed in the grips of the quick sand mud.
I met with a man who ran a radio show in Cincinnati with two women who were happy to tell me all about how the music festival scene has evolved. One woman explained how when she was only 14 years old when she hitchhiked to buy tickets to a music festival! Now that is dedication! She went on saying there were no debit cards, no cell phones, no internet! She explained that you had to meet with someone purely out of faith they would be there at a random head shop or record store and buy the tickets with cash. She went on by saying how no one thought about bathrooms at Woodstock! This group of friends have been coming to Scamp for over seven years and aren’t quitting anytime soon! Now I definitely felt spoiled after hearing their story!
In the grand scheme of things, this festival is far more than music it can truly enrich your perspectives and broaden your horizons with its choice of music, art, and the connections you will make. I wouldn’t allow a little weather discourage the natural curiosity of adventure. The endless possibilities and exchanging of thought wrapped in these small psychological espionage awaiting from stage to stage. Though improvements will always come as we age the most interesting part I believe is seeing how this scene is constantly evolving!