SUMMER CAMP MUSIC FESTIVAL 2008
“SUMMER CAMP 2009 REVIEW”
Originally Published MAY 28, 2008
YouTube Video URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KhRJ53ht_Y
Contributing Author – Rashon Massey
SUMMER CAMP 2008 Review
The road to and from Chillicothe, IL was paved in anxious anticipation for Roving Festival Writer. Not only was this going to be our first festival that we captured video footage of to complete an episode of RFWtv (YouTube.com/RFWriter), but this festival was going to be the catalyst of what we hope to be a fantastic season of music, community get-togethers and old-fashion Americana road traveling. Back to our home, we can happily say that Summer Camp 2008 lived to be the success that we desired and expected. As we finish the final touches of our Summer Camp recap episode of RFWtv, we would like to share our official post coverage review of the festival itself.
As promised after Langerado 2008, we have developed a system for rating and critiquing festivals for our readers. Deemed the 2008 Festival Baseball Trading Card, we hope that this ongoing formula can give our community a fair and level playing field, being ranked and judged on the same terms as any other particular festival. For coverage of daily occurrences, I do encourage you to look beyond our post coverage Festival Baseball Trading Card and read our articles written daily from the festival.
To jog your memory and use for reference, here is a summary of each category on our Festival Baseball Trading Card.
The Big Picture – Overall rating of the festival.
Town Square – Music festivals have a very organic way of creating a village, so whether it is Centeroo or Homebase, the festival land is what makes each experience different.
Performances – Need we say more?
Festival Shoppe – Mmmmm – I LOVED this food or WHOAH! Did you check out those didgeridoos? The marketplace of the music festival is a crucial element in creating the community atmosphere.
Green My Scene – From public water to waste management, how well did the music festival preserve the borrowed terrain?
Security – Watchdogs. Big Brother. Protectors of the people – Takers of the vibe.
Point A – Z – Logistically, from parking to people, how well did the traffic/progression of it all cohesively work together.
2008 FESTIVAL BASEBALL TRADING CARD
SUMMER CAMP 2008
Based On A Five Point Scale
Performances – With highlight performances from Avett Brothers, moe., Umphrey’s McGee, O.A.R. , Blind Melon, The Flaming Lips and STS9, the scheduled artists of the festival brought ‘it’ overall. Smaller stage acts such as Shaggy Wonda, The Macpodz, The Vessel and Chicago Farmer all contributed nicely to not just make this a festival that musically survived on the shoulders of the headlining artists, but one that allowed everyone to discover great-unknown bands that hail from many pockets of the nation. The weaker performances delivered by G. Love and Special Sauce and a fair showing by The New Pornographers hurt this festival in this area of our critique. With powerhouse, diverse lineups being heralded from music festivals Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Rothbury, the smaller ones need to make sure they continue to pack the punch that they are known for because mediocre performances do add up in the retro-thought of your experience. 3.75/5
Town Square – What makes this festival experience unlike many that you may come to know on the nationwide festival circuit is the removal of campsite from your vehicle parking spot. Truly allowing the land at Three Sisters Park to sustain a built village, the Town Square is much more intimate with tents lining the dirt roads and bordering concert stages and sites. With food vendors appropriately spaced about, Summer Camp definitely has perfected the art of accommodating the more than ample camping space and the Festies that will survive within the confines of the town. Also, BIG thumbs up on the placement of port-o-johns and showers. Whether you were in the shaded sounds of the Camping stage or the open space of the Sunshine stage, restrooms were always an emergency run away. The downside to the town came after the rain – pun intended. With your pathways being the natural ground, once a strong rain hit, you were doomed to be swallowed in mud. They did refill hay in some saturated areas of ground, but only in a seldom used, high traffic area were actual woodchips laid to create an actual road. Here, the land stood the test of weather as no excess earth surfaced when wet and walked upon. 4/5
Festival Shoppe – We were not happy with this festival marketplace in comparison to lets say – Langerado 2008. From the limited amount of variety in food vendors to the shortage in options for clothing, posters and other accoutrements that can be bought and sold at typical music festivals, the Festival Shoppe was average at best. We could have used more $1 Grilled Cheese sandwiches sold by Festies looking to make extra money too… but the ones passing out free delicious cookies were just fine! 2/5
Green My Scene – Can we PLEASE talk about what a great job Summer Camp did on keeping my scene so fresh and so green-green?! Starting with the arrival of Friday attendees who were moving into the festival grounds/town square, garbage bags were being offered to everyone who walked through the festival bracelet check-through entrance. Throughout the day, workers and/or volunteers walked to every tent and either offered garbage bags or tied them onto the poles themselves, sharing with everyone that if you simply bag your garbage and leave it on the side of the festival walkways, a garbage truck would come through and pick them up… and they did. Like clockwork, workers continued to ride through the festival grounds the entire three days, collecting trash every couple hours if not more often. Restrooms were filthy as always, but what aids in the running of a quality festival is the constant cleaning of them. Not counting meticulously, the restrooms were cleaned about three times a day! The access to public water proved to be incredibly beneficial for many in attendance. Whether you were looking to fill up your Nalgene or possibly step into an actual aluminum basin/tub that the spouts of water ran into, the access to basic water was open for everyone. Even if you felt dirty, $3 showers were on site for the cleansing of your skin. Recycling cans for bottles, glass and plastic were everywhere, with more than enough next to every stage, often being overfilled after each set. The designated area for volunteers and workers to sift through all of the recycled goods was extremely well organized. VERY good job! 4/5
Point A – Z – We made it in without having to wait in a single line for more than 10 minutes, with IMMEDIATE assistance from signs and volunteers upon our first turn into the parking area. The VIP, RV and general parking areas were exceptionally organized in rows with fun painted signs at the beginning of each, allowing everyone in the festival an easy way to remember where their vehicle was located; however, I still saw many instances of lost hippies wandering looking for their car, holding out their automatic door unlockers, clicking the alarm hoping for a sound in direction. Throughout the festival grounds, areas for assistance were widely available; moreover, they were not smack in your face. Instead, neatly tucked away in the corner for showers, some restrooms and recycling. Just so convenient. And exiting the festival was a BREEZE! The bonus that Summer Camp has over many festivals is the Trolley. A tractor pulled trailer reminiscent of hay rides, circled the campgrounds from entrance to the rear camping areas of the park, allowing everyone motorized assistance in traveling from your car to your campsite. Whether you were setting up shop or just tired from walking, the Trolley that circled an average of every 10/15 minutes was the icing on the cake for this festival. Through rain pour, heat and even final day people traffic, the Trolley was your trusted vehicle in the town. 4/5
Security – What can we really say… really? They were there, did some searches but not noticed at all! Did their jobs without being seen! And we did not hear one complaint. 4/5
The Big Picture – So when we take the performances and the parking, the highs and lows and the security and mix them all together, Summer Camp 2008 gets am RFW official rating of 3.75/5
-Rashon A. Massey & Benjamin J. Landsman