Summer Camp Music Festival 2016 Review
Break out the nostalgic "turn on, tune in, drop out" catchphrases, psychedelic tapestries, and barefoot bohemians from a bygone era not yet forgotten, but reimagined in the twenty first century, you’ve just entered Summer Camp Music Festival circa 2016.
This was not a year to miss. The 16th anniversary of Summer Camp (or scamp if you're a regular), was something else entirely. The official days of the festival took place over three days from May 27th to May 29th, it drew in over 20,000 scampers spread throughout the various campgrounds at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois.
Enter The Camp
One of the first things you'll notice after driving through southern Illinois is just how big Summer Camp is. Three Sisters Park is a mixture of wooded forests, plain grassy areas and dirt road paths dispersed in a grid like pattern through the whole enclosure, fenced off areas and stages strategically placed all throughout camp; making this a microcosm of a community. It's best to get to your camping spot early and set up in prime spots, while making sure you're ready to survive for a couple days in style.
There were multiple stages: Moonshine, Sunshine and Starshine Stages — the largest of the bunch, the others were the smaller Campfire and Camping Stages. For our purposes, one of the best areas for the EDM scene came from the aptly titled Vibe Tent. The atmosphere of the camping community and fellow scampers made this one of the best camping music festivals in the country to go to.
Enter The Music
Summer Camp originally started off catering entirely to jam bands; subsequently it has grown to encompass a vast range of EDM artists and other in-between genres. The talent they brought out to this year's fest was unmatched.
The great thing about Summer Camp was being exposed to lesser known artists. Over at the Moonshine Stage, right before dubstep superstar Excision played was Thievery Corporation, a collective of different artists playing a mix of dub-downtempo electronica. A visceral moment was their ending when an electric sitar was brought out, blasting the crowd into an Indian swelter accompanied by the falling rains.
Excision played late into the night Friday evening. Turn to your left or right and see dreads hanging in the air, poppin' dances and people throwing their "X's" up. Excision's theme is one of futuristic sounds with robotic overlord visuals streaming behind him, jetting out lasers throughout the crowd into hyperspace. If you wanted your fix of more metal heavy dubstep than Snails was the next best thing, you know you're at his concert after hearing the phrases "Where my headbangers at? We ready to get crazy," an inhuman amount of times — cue the head thrashing.
Moonshine housed some other great cross-over EDM artists like Cherub playing their hit 'Doses and Mimosas' in their daytime set, followed by the king of funk George Clinton, who made a cameo appearance at the Sunshine Stage with a supergroup Big Grizmatik, a collaborative effort between Big Gigantic, GRiZ, and Gramatik whose set raged with saxophone beats and a mix of all three artists' unique talents.
If you were looking for a mellower vibe, the Vibe Tent was what it was all about. Housing the majority of up and coming EDM artists while being jam packed, this was the place to be. Louis the Child, Chicago native duo, had one of the best sets of them all. Vibe Tent had an intimate stage with a backdrop of triangles projecting light shows with their name plastered across them. They ended their set with their smash hit 'It's Strange', my type of existential party anthem.
Their set seamlessly transitioned into Sam Feldt playing his rework of 90's hit 'Show Me Love'. Heartbreaks and promises aside, Sam Feldt took the crowd through a sonic rendition of some of the greatest dance hits of the 90s. Vibe tent held the rhythm of the night for Summer Camp and was a qualifier to show just how far EDM has entered the music scene.
Enter the Vibe
Woah man, good vibrations all around. For a fest out in southern Illinois in a town most people haven't heard about, Summer Camp Music Fest brought out the best atmosphere in everyone, being a place to exchange art, music, and life stories. It's no surprise scampers find themselves going year after year to relive the experience and make new ones. Enjoyed Summer Camp this year or looking to become an eventual scamper? Tweet @iEDMofficial and tell us your thoughts. See you next year Summer Camp!