And we’re back! Music Festival season hits hard around the country in May, with Summer Camp Music Festival being a destination event for fans of all things jam and funk, Umphrey’s McGee and moe., and more at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL. NYS Music heads west this weekend, as many do when bands like Aqueous, Jimkata, Break Science, moe., Lettuce, Dopapod, Turkuaz, among others, perform at the same four-day festival, now in its 16th year.
Summer Camp has a lot going on, making it tough to see it all, but far from overwhelming like mega-festivals. Check out the full schedule here, or create your own on the Summer Camp app (recommended). To break down the music, camping and activities, here’s a sampling of the live performances for each day of Summer Camp:
There is a lot of Chicago love on Thursday, and the Second City takes center stage with Chicago Funk Mafia (3:30-4:30 p.m.), Family Groove Company (6:30-7:30 p.m.) and Future Rock (8-9 p.m.), all at the Starshine Stage.
Make your way to the nearby Camping Stage for Buffalo’s Aqueous (8:30-9:30 p.m.), where they typically have quite the crowd of AQuaintences, one that should merit Starshine Stage in future years.
Heading into the late night of Summer Camp Day One, you’ll want to hit the Vibe Tent at 11 p.m. for Adam Dietch’s Break Science and stick around after for a nu-disco DJ set from Wyllys. Down at the Campfire Stage, the London Souls rock from 1:30-3 a.m., winding down the day with ease, before the heavy hitters arrive on Friday with the majority of the crowd.
It’s a given that you’ll probably see moe. (2:30-4 p.m., Moonshine) and Umphrey’s (7:45-11:15 p.m., Sunshine), but there are many other bands to discover at Summer Camp, even those that might be the next moe. and Umphrey’s — just venture through the festival grounds and find some new music to explore.
Two highly talented acts can be found at Starshine Stage on Friday afternoon. Soul never sounded so smooth coming from the Nth Power (1-2 p.m.) and experimental prog-rock from Tauk (5-6 p.m.) is a sound you need to experience firsthand, despite having some incredible albums under their belt. One band I have been eagerly waiting to see live is prog-funk band Earphunk, performing at the Campfire Stage (4:30-5:30 p.m.)
There will be a trio of New York bands to check out on the Camping Stage, starting with Aqueous at 3:30 p.m., followed by Jimkata at 5 p.m. and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad at 6:30 p.m. After Umphrey’s, late night is looking prime at Campfire Stage with Turkuaz (11 p.m.-12 a.m.), Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Percussion Consortium (12:30-1:30 p.m.) and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong closing out the stage (2-4 a.m.). And then return to the Sunshine Stage field (if you still have the energy) for sunrise kickball—the best unofficial activity at Summer Camp.
Have you ever wanted to combine a carnival, circus and funk band all at the same time? Then Marchfourth! is your wake-up remedy today. Head over to Sunshine Stage at 1 p.m. to see one of Portland, Oregon’s heavy hitters blow you away. You can’t go wrong with Steve Kimock and Friends who grace the Moonshine Stage at 2 p.m., bringing keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, bassist Bobby Vega, drummer Jay Lane and guitarist/vocalist Leslie Mendelson together for a set of blues, Grateful Dead and classics. Check out a recent setlist for a taste of what’s to come.
At this point, you should be heading over to the Vibe Tent for Field Day. More details on this day below, but while you’re taking part in the always eventful activities surrounding Field Day, Gibbz will surprise you with his voice and musicianship at 5 p.m. in the Vibe Tent. Then, you can turn around and walk over to Starshine Stage for Dopapod, another of the heavy hitters on a stacked stage.