Summer Camp 2019 Review: An Unmatchable Music Experience
The 19th annual Summer Camp made its mark with some of the most compelling performances and art that the festival has ever seen. Taking place at Illinois’ Three Sisters Park, the Midwest hospitality was evident everywhere all weekend from the respectful staff to the amiable attendees. It was no surprise that everyone I met there seemed to feel completely at home at this festival.
Summer Camp took a slightly different approach this year in terms of lineup and layout, and this shift seemed to enhance the creativity present while paving the way for what is sure to be a remarkable 20th anniversary celebration next year. Until then, let’s reflect on some of the major aspects of Summer Camp that made it such a standout and memorable festival.
Incredible Music from Every End of the Spectrum
This year’s lineup had a heavier focus on electronic music compared to the past but there was still an overall balance of jam bands and EDM that made it enjoyable for everyone. Most electronic music was found at the Starshine Stage where artists such as Big Gigantic and Eprom wowed attendees with their ingenuity and outstanding energy. Some other noteworthy moments were when Yultron took us all down memory lane with remixes of classic Panic at the Disco songs and Lincoln Parks "Numb". Zeds Dead also brought the heat with an emotional performance even though Hooks performed solo due to DC not being able to make it.
The Vibe Tent was replaced with the GoodBus Stage which was booming with top notch music all weekend from artists like Russ Liquid and Cofresi. Up and coming producer Mersiv played a lively experimental set on Sunday afternoon which showed that he an unstoppable for in electronic music. My personal favorite moment was getting blown away by Squnto’s insanely heavy set packed with bangers and even a remix of Bassnectar’s new track "It’s About To Get Hectic".
When it came to jam bands, many gave some of their most joyful performances this year. Fan favorites such as moe. and Umphreys McGee played wholehearted sets and even the rain couldn’t put a damper on the beautiful vibes they brought. Although Rebelution was sadly cancelled due to the rain, a Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and moe. super jam took their place with a mind-blowing set that was one of the greatest ones all weekend. Lotus also gave a captivating performance on Sunday which was one of the best I’ve seen from them. The entire weekend was filled with knockout sets from a diverse range of genres which stayed true to Summer Camp’s roots.
Emphasis on Permaculture
Summer Camp went above and beyond in creating an interactive space designed to instill permaculture values within attendees. The festival did so through a community garden known as the SoulPatch which is part of its Make A Difference initiative. This charming garden was by far my most cherished spot there and was the ideal place to relax and explore. It was filled with installations with information about everything from composting to tipi symbolism and more.
In the heart of the Soulpatch was a display outlining permaculture ethics. The teachings were easy to understand and apply to daily life for anyone. Promoting renewable resources and waste reduction at festivals is one of the greatest ways to enhance their positive impact on the world and Summer Camp proved that it is a leader in this movement.
Community & Family Oriented Vibes
The loving atmosphere and strong sense of community at Summer Camp is what consistently draws attendees back to this event and makes it so meaningful to them. It was effortless to make connections and spread positivity here, as I met so many people who wanted to bond over our collective love for powerful music. Another thing I noticed was that small children were present all over the grounds. The peacefulness and security of the festival made it a safe environment for them as well. It was a wonderful sight to see children dancing to the music that moves our souls so much and participating in the educational activities such as gardening workshops. Summer Camp’s ability to be family friendly while still accommodating adults makes it an amazing festival for all ages.
There was an abundance of gorgeous artwork present all over the grounds. Whether it was the live painters next to the stages or the vendors themselves, artistic expression was boundless everywhere you went. What was special about this festival is the interactive art workshops at the Soulshine Tent. It included a Live Art Gallery where artists worked on new projects while displaying their previous works on the walls near the stage. The artwork was breathtaking in every way and the best part was being able to interact with the artists and ask them about their work. Something else unique at the Soulshine tent was the glass blowing table, where attendees could learn how to create their very own glass art. There’s nothing more special than festival goers being able to use the inspiration they find there to create something in that very environment.
Summer Camp 2019 was filled with never-ending inspiration and uplifting moments. All the artists and musicians were wildly talented and seemed to love every second as much as the festival goers did. After all of the bliss and precious memories the festival brought so many people, there is no doubt it be home to even more magical moments in the future.
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