Summer Camp Music Festival: Sunday May 26th, 2013


Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn


I hate mud. Not only does it get everywhere and on everything, but also it makes it much more difficult to maneuver around even in the most desolate of areas. As us 2013 SCampers woke up to a complete weather-affected shitshow, the amount of mud and rain dramatically increased with each passing hour. Numerous SCampers started to pack up their campsites early and prepare themselves for any worsening of this May Midwest storm, but most of my group stayed put and got ready to hit some of the bigger sets on this Sunday afternoon. Many of us wondered if Umphrey’s, moe., and even the Jedi Master would play in this horrific foggy mess, and knew that our festival would not be 100% complete without seeing all three of these acts play their final sets. I sloshed my way through the now almost knee deep mud over to the Sunshine Stage and got a place for the final Umphrey’s set of the weekend.

Umphrey’s McGee:

The Sunshine pit looked as if it was a fucking disaster zone …wooks were covered from head to toe in mud and soaked to the bone with the non-stop downpour of cold rain. Vendor stands became safe havens for those who were not as brave as some, and even I took cover under a heady crystal shop once or twice during the pre-set period. Umphrey’s came on stage to a thunderous applause even with the horrible weather affecting the crowd’s mood terribly. Leading off with “Slacker” and “White Man Moccasins” Umphrey’s looked as if it was not going to change its rocking ways from the previous two night’s performances. With an incredibly loyal crowd backing each and every song choice, Umphrey’s Sunday daytime set was no throwaway or letdown. “Tribute to the Spinal Shaft,” “Wife Soup,” and an all-time classic “Phil’s Farm” came roaring out of the gates next with Jake and Brendan taking turns ripping through guitar solos as if they were bent on catching their strings on fire. And then one of the biggest and most well received surprises of the weekend came on stage.

The legendary Taj Majal with slide-guitar playing wizard, Luther Dickinson, came bouncing onto stage for the Mahal classic “She Caught The Katy.” What a treat this was for all of us UMPhreaks as many people had seen the Mahal trio earlier in the day (I was busy charging batteries and cleaning up my campsite) and knew that this guest sit-in was a special occasion for any music fan. Dickinson, one half of the North Mississippi All-Stars, is one of the most talented slide-guitar players alive today and his slick riffs made “Katy” and the following “Dear Lord” amazing additions to this set. Watching Jake Cinninger go back and forth with Dickinson on competing guitar solos was intense and one of the more exciting musical moments for me personally of the entire weekend. A dub-reggae heavy “Higgins” followed this once-in-a-lifetime guest appearance and the crowd was noticeably stunned from this glorious closing day set. I personally love “Higgins” because it shows a very unique skill Umphrey’s has, which is the ability to change their musical genre within the song multiple times. Reggae, metal, and some straight up dance-like jam music are thrown throughout “Higgins” and make this one of my favorite UMPH songs.

“Smell the Mitten”, an “August > No Comment > August” sandwich, and an incredible “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” closed the Sunday UMPH set out with one of the more thunderous reactions of the weekend. Le UMPH did not disappoint with their final set of the weekend and I was left to stand in a state of shock as the band bowed in front of their thousands of adoring fans. How in the hell have I not been listening to UMPH the entire time I have been on the jamband scene? There is absolutely no band who rocks their songs harder, and no artist who has a more visually pleasing setup. Summer Camp Music Festival should be called “Umphrey’s Rocks/Melts Your Face” because no band is more entertaining, exciting, or fun to watch do their thing on the main festival stage. I was thoroughly impressed with each set of music UMPH performed over the entirety of the weekend and attending Summer Camp was one of the better musical decisions I have made in a very long time. Even though the weather was worsening to horrifying conditions as the band’s last set wrapped up, I knew that no amount of rain/mud would deter me from ever seeing this amazingly talented musical sextet.

Don’t miss this band because they are on the verge of becoming something bigger than just a festival-headlining act...in my humble opinion they are on the very shortlist of best bands going right now. Best lights, best sound, and certainly best live performance. I love Umphrey’s…through and through.

One Set: Slacker, White Man's Moccasins, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft > Wife Soup, Phil's Farm, She Caught The Katy[1], Dear Lord[2], Higgins, Smell the Mitten, August[3] > No Comment > August, Miss Tinkle's Overture

[1] with Taj Mahal and Luther Dickinson
[2] with Luther Dickinson
[3] with No Comment tease

Trey Anastasio Band/Cancellation:

When the Jedi himself was added as the Sunday night and closing festival act headliner, Summer Camp took a big step in trying to appeal to a very large group of our current jamband scene fans. These fans, known as “Phish-Heads,” are loyal to the death when it comes to Phish, any member of Phish, and pretty much anything having to do with the Vermont based quartet. So the addition of Anastasio not only lifted the caliber of talent on the Summer Camp roster lineup, but also increased the amount of music loving fans by a decent portion. Before I get to describing the misery that was Trey’s set (not musically, but the weather was fucking horrific) let me explain what went down between Umphrey’s last set and this point:

-The weather got worse and worse with each passing hour and I was lucky enough to have a spot in the Media Church Office along with the other SCamp media patrons.

-Any set on the Campfire Stage or Starshine Stage during the afternoon was miserable to be at and not worth speaking about.

-Vendors closed up shop early, people decided to pack up and leave, and many festival patrons got the feeling that our Sunday night might be cut short due to the ever-increasing horrible weather.

Trey took the stage after a short weather related delay, and from the very beginning of the set it was evident that this would most likely be the last set of music we would experience for the weekend. Thunder and lightning rang down from the heavens as Trey ripped through various Phish covers and numerous songs of his recently released album Traveler. (I reviewed this album when it came out, and was not the biggest of fans…) With Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, and James Casey as his uber-talented horn section songs such as “First Tube,” “Alaska,” “Land of Nod,” and “Last Tube” were crowd favorites and were very pleasing to the hears. But no music could have kept me at that stage for more than one set that evening. The weather turned for the worse as Trey exited the stage after his funky set and I made the mud-soaked walk back to the campsite where the idea of packing my things and leaving was sounding better and better.

Set One: First Tube, Cayman Review, Last Tube, Alaska, Pigtail, Dark and Down, Money, Love and Change, Drifting, The Land of Nod, Tuesday, Push On 'Til the Day

Set Two: Mr. Completely

Notes: The Trey Anastasio Band performed on the Sunshine Stage at the Summer Camp Music Festival. This show was cut short due to weather.

I returned to the campsite with many of my fellow SCampers and were greeted by a large amount of people walking down the path away from the Moonshine Stage and the recent moe. set. This is when absolute tragedy struck…a large tree came crashing down in front of our campsite and landed on two festival patrons who were innocently walking down the path back to their respective campsites. Chaos ensued as people were screaming for medical help while struggling in the knee deep mud to lift the tree off of these two less fortunate SCampers. I was in a state of absolute shock and could only think about the horrific idea of more trees falling on us while we were toughing out the night in the Chillicothe woods. I quickly made the decision to then pack up what I could salvage (the sheer force of the rain was crazy at this point, and many tents, popups, and other shade structures collapsed due to the weight of the water sitting on top of them) and get the hell out of those woods to the nearest hotel I could find. Along with two of my good buddies, we packed my car and slid our way through the muddy employee parking lot to the festival exits and down to the Red Roof Inn in Peoria, Illinois. I tell you this, McDonald’s never tasted so good.

As the night went on and the rumors of cancelled music turned into reality, my two friends and I discussed what we just had experienced. The weekend was full of amazing highs and intense lows with music leading the charge each and every day. Bands such as Umphrey’s and moe. did their usual Summer Camp thing and killed it with each set they performed, and people like myself were introduced to awesome “small-ish” bands such as UV Hippo and Sun Stereo. I bitched and moaned with the best of them about the chaotic introduction to his festival, but in the end I have to tip my hat to what the Summer Camp Music Festival has to endure while trying to put on this Midwest throw down. Uncontrollable weather, antsy music loving fans, and a whole mess of small problems unseen to the everyday festival patron could drive most festivals to a complete halt, but SCamp lives on year after year. If the weather doesn't look too crazy I will 100% be back next year, as those UMPH shows alone were worth the price of admission. Much love to my Nebraska crew who adopted me for the weekend, as you guys made SCamp what it was for me…an absolutely amazing time with great friends, laughs, and so many smiles. I hope to see everyone I met at this year’s SCamp next year, as this Midwest party is not one to be missed.

Kevin's Sunday Photo Gallery

www.summercampfestival.com

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