Prospectus attends 2017’s Summer Camp festival

Photo by Derian Silva |   2017 Summer Camp patrons walk past tents set up by attending campers.

Photo by Derian Silva |
2017 Summer Camp patrons walk past tents set up by attending campers.

Derian Silva

Staff Writer

2017’s Summer Camp, held in its usual venue of Chillicothe, Ill., was an exciting weekend, filled with multiple bands and stages, food vendors, workshops, and art installations.

The festival came alive as over 10,000 people traveled to Three Sisters Park to attend. In 2014, Rolling Stone magazine listed it as one of the top 40 music festivals to attend.

Summer Camp is, for the most part, a music festival focused on jam bands. Jam bands are any group who has a body of studio work but plays improvisational versions of their songs when they play live, creating a unique show every time. It has led people to follow these types of bands around the country, as every show is different from the last.

Jam bands featured in this festival included Moe, Umphrey’s McGee and Trey Anastasio Band. However, the festival was not exclusively jam bands, as numerous other acts were also on the bill: Pretty Lights, Zeds Dead, Primus, Run the Jewels, Grammatik, The Claypool Lennon Delirium and many others.

There was a lot of music to be heard, so you could find yourself jamming out to Umphrey’s McGee one moment and the next rapping along with Killer Mike in Run the Jewels.

The festival began with people setting-up-camp on the festival grounds. You could even camp right next to some of the stages. This created a dynamic where in the day time it would be very relaxed as people would go to shows, enjoy the nice spring wind rolling in, and check out a few bands while catching some rays.

As the sun set, so did the festival with some of the art instillations becoming more vivid and extravagant. There also seemed to be an energy at night from attendees that made the environment friendly and inviting to all. There was a constant sense of community and family; everywhere you’d look there would be smiles and people helping others out.

Unfortunately, rain created mud around the grounds, making some areas of the festival difficult to walk through. The rain brought along with it a thunderstorm, which led to a few shows having to be canceled for the safety of the festival-goers.

After the rain, people were still excited to get right back to the shows and keep up the same energy as before. Thankfully, the rest of the weekend weather matched the general energy of the people at the festival, as there was sunlight and spring breeze all weekend long.

Another aspect of Summer Camp was the vendors, who set up shop and display their crafts. There were many clothing vendors, who had obviously put a lot of work into their craft.

Often throughout the festival you could see the festival-goers wearing the same clothes that you could buy at the shops. There were also artists who honed crafts such as pipe-blowing, painting and other crafts. It was quite an experience to be had for those interested in art.

Some artists from Champaign-Urbana and the Central Illinois community played at Summer Camp this year. The local hip-hop/rap duo Trouble Chasin’ played at one of the stages. At first it was a lot of locals watching, but their energy and performance drew in other attendees passing by. By the end of the performance quite the audience was gathered, watching them finish up their set.

Another local that performed was BlastfoME. While not from Champaign-Urbana, he hails from the Bloomington-Normal area. BlastfoME is an artist who performs bass music, and got the position at the music festival through winning a contest that Summer Camp held at the Canopy Club in Urbana earlier in the year. Multiple artists performed at the club and the audience voted for who would get to perform at Summer Camp.

The overall energy of the festival is indescribable; photos can barely do it justice. For more information, highlights, and even live videos of some of the events, check out the Summer Camp Facebook page.