Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us and despite all the festival potential in store across the Northeast, the Midwest holds one of the best festivals of the year – Summer Camp Music Festival. Now in its 15th year. Summer Camp has become the Midwest’s number one destination for all things jam, rock, electronic, bluegrass and plenty of general partying and hollerin’.
There’s a lot going on this year at Summer Camp, including some just announced improvements and rules changes that fans need to be aware of. Read here for a detailed list, but take note of the following in particular:
Entry: A new main gate setup and more efficient entry procedures will allow for quicker and easier entry this year.
Vibe Tent: To accommodate some of the massive EDM artists playing this year’s festival, expect a bigger-than-ever Vibe Tent! From the production and sound, to the stage and the tent itself, Summer Camp has expanded and fine-tuned every element of the stage.
Chinese Fire Lanterns are banned!: Due to safety concerns (and common sense) these have been added to our prohibited items list, and will NOT be allowed at Three Sisters Park!
Of course, the music and activities at Summer Camp are the reason you are coming, not to block the view of Jeff Waful with your ragestick (leave those home too) so here are the Top 15 acts and events not to miss at Summer Camp 15.
15. Keller Williams / Keller Williams & Grateful Grass
With the release of his latest album Vape, Keller is back with new material and a Dead set with Grateful Grass that offers anything but the traditional Grateful Dead covers. Being the Dead’s 50th year, expect plenty of tributes to the Grateful Dead at this year’s Summer Camp. (2am Friday, Campfire Stage // 5pm Friday, Moonshine Stage)
Increase your social and environmental awareness as you make a difference at Summer Camp this year in a variety of ways. Check out non-profits, help clean the grounds, take part in the treasure hunt, and spread the word! Summer Camp is a great way to have a blast and kick off the summer, as well as do a good part for your community! (Throughout the weekend, Soulshine Tent)
13. Pink Talking Fish
We have had the luxury of Pink Talking Fish playing a bevy of shows in their native Northeast, and checking them out at Summer Camp will be a real treat whether you have seen them or not already. Combining Phish, Talking Heads and Pink Floyd songs in unique ways – you won’t be disappointed. (2am Saturday, Soulshine Tent)
I haven’t seen Krewella, but given the amount of vitriol some fans gave the female electronic duo when they were added to the lineup, even going so far as to start a petition to have them removed from the lineup, now I REALLY want to see them. I enjoy EDM and don’t pass judgment until I see music live, and with the duo hailing from near Chicago, IL, they are now a must see. (9pm Friday, Moonshine Stage)
11. Field Day
Akin to Camp Bisco’s Color Wars, Field Day is a great friendly competition that features dodgeball, capture the flag, a spelling bee, a Manolo’s Pizza & Empanadas eating contest, and more! Pre-register here and Go Purple! (12pm – 5:30pm Saturday, 312 Beer Garden next to Vibe Tent),
10. Wild Adriatic
One of the best bands to come out of Upstate New York, Wild Adriatic has played SXSW and will perform at Bonnaroo this summer, and are well-known throughout the Northeast for rocking sets and choice covers, including “Ain’t No Sunshine”, featured on their new EP Never Enough. (5pm Thursday, Starshine Stage)
9. North American Scum
If you love LCD Soundsystem even a little bit, you have to stay awake on Sunday and catch North American Scum. I saw them in Chicago last July and was blown away – it’s as close to the real deal as you can get. Watch below and see for yourself (2am Sunday, Soulshine Tent)
Making their return to Summer Camp with two full sets on Thursday and Friday, this Western NY jam has a great summer tour ahead of them and a thriving fan base that Umphrey’s fans have begun to take note of, and for good reason. See the band NYSMusic named their 2013 Band on the Rise. (8:30pm Thursday and 8pm Friday, Camping Stage)
6. Family Groove Company
Chicago has a presence at Summer Camp, and for good reason. The number of bands that have come out of the Windy City in the past 15 years is remarkable, and Summer Camp offers a chance to see some of the best. Family Groove Company is a stellar jam band, offering a complete sound, especially with Janis Wallin rockin the bass. (6pm Thursday, 12pm Saturday, Starshine Stage)
5. Umphrey’s McGee and GODBONER
Umphrey’s has played their festival since the beginning, so naturally they are on the list. With The London Session and UMBowl VI in their rearview, expect 4 incredible sets, along with a bonus – Gene Ween joins Umphrey’s for GODBONER! (6pm, 7:45pm & 9:45 pm Friday, 9pm & 11pm, Sunshine Stage)
4. Yonder Mountain String Band
With a lineup recently made official, adding Allie Kral (fiddle) and Jacob Jolliff (mandolin) and new album Black Sheep due out this summer, Yonder’s daytime set at Summer Camp is a must attend, and with a slightly different sound but the same vibe and jamgrassy goodness you love, you’ll want to see where the new lineup takes them. (2:45pm Sunday, Sunshine Stage)
3. Future Rock/Daft Rock
Future Rock is a fantastic electronic trio from Chicago and the fact they are playing two sets insists you see at least one of them – but their third set, as Daft Rock, is the one that is truly intriguing and why they are #3 on the list. A set of Daft Punk from this talented trio is going to be one of the highlights of Summer Camp, guaranteed. (Future Rock – 9:30pm Thursday, 12:30am Saturday – Starshine Stage // Daft Rock 2am Friday, Soulshine Stage)
2. Widespread Panic
The past two years have seen Widespread Panic turning out some of the hottest shows and tours in recent years with a strong connection between Jimmy Herring and Butch Trucks (filling in for Todd Nance on drums) leading to jams that are beyond what the Southern rockers have been known for in previous years. Get floppy with Panic! (7pm & 9pm Sunday, Sunshine Stage)
1. Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers/moe with Bruce Hornsby
Music legend Bruce Hornsby brings The Noisemakers, playing originals and covers with his iconic voice, but his set with moe. will be the most looked forward to set this Summer Camp, simply for the potential of what is in store. A band such as moe. playing along with the piano and voice of Bruce Hornsby is one of the best collaborations to come out of music festivals since Steve Winwood joined Widespread Panic at Bonnaroo 2002. Don’t miss this one! (1:15pm & 3pm Sunday, Moonshine Stage)