Summer Camp Dominates Festival Season


The weather is finally reaching past 50 degrees and artist lineups are being announced which can only mean one thing: music festival season.

With hundreds of festivals’ lineups being announced this past month, concert goers must choose wisely which three-day celebration of music to spend their time and money on. In the midwest alone, there are about fifteen festivals happening from now until September with a wide range of artists and genres.

What makes a music festival stand out from all others is a variation of genres in the lineup, a good location, and ticket prices. For the 2014 festival season, that golden festival is turning out to be Summer Camp Music Festival.

The 13th annual festival, held in Chillicothe, IL, announced it’s jam-packed lineup in December, and has since added even more artists to the bill. Big names such as Bassnectar, Slightly Stoopid, and The Zac Brown Band are promised headliners for the three-day fest.

What stands out about Summer Camp’s lineup is its well-rounded variation of music. The festival attracts good artists with a wide variety of genres year after year, and this year is no exception. There is electronic music represented by Bassnectar, Gramatik, and Wolfgang Garter; jam bands like Umphrey’s McGee, moe., and Spread; and rock artists such as Primus, Future Rock, and Lotus.

While there are other multi-genre festivals in the midwest area, their lineups do not compete. Lollapalooza’s highly anticipated lineup was announced recently with no surprising headliners other than Outkast and a long list of repeat artists. Then there are music festivals that cater to a specific genre, such as Electric Forest, and the electronic emphasis of their booked headliners.

Lineups aside, one of the most important aspects of a successful music festival is the location. Summer Camp is held at Three Sister’s Park in Chillicothe, IL, smack dab in the middle of the midwest. It is not difficult for travelers from other regions of the country to get to Summer Camp because of that prime, central location.

Three Sister’s Park itself is also one of the best venues a festi-goer can hope for. People have the option of different campsites to choose from, and whether in the forest or in the field, music or vendors are walking distance. The way the fest is spread out makes it so everything (stages, food, camping, and vendors) is inside the venue.

Other overnight fests, such as Electric Forest, have the camping separate from the actual venue itself, making it difficult and longer to navigate around. Music festivals that do not offer camping, such as Spring Awakening that takes place at Solider’s Field in Chicago, lose the festival vibe of being outside in nature and enjoying live music.

While it is true that customers do get what they pay for, the price for Summer Camp is as cheap as it gets for such a quality festival. A three-day pass ran for $140 for early bird ticket buyers, and are currently priced at $200. While a little steep for the average wallet, with that price you get the multi-genre lineup and the overall “welcome home” vibe Summer Campers know all too well.

A ticket for Chicago’s Labor Day weekend festival, North Coast Music Festival, costs a little cheaper, about $140, but the venue is much smaller and does not allow camping. Electric Forest charges close to $300 for a ticket to their four-day fest in Michigan, being one of the most expensive music festivals in the region.

Summer Camp will kick off the festival season Memorial Day weekend this May, and it is worth the lineup, location, and money. For those that only have the means to attend one music festival this year, let’s just say we will see you at Summer Camp.

About Allison Murray