Memorial Day approaching means one thing is in store: the Summer Camp Music Festival, in Chillicothe, Illinois. Summer Camp, otherwise referred to as ‘Scamp” is the grown-up’s version of sleep away camp packed into four days of non-stop music, art, workshops, culture and camping. Although kid friendly, it’s not to be confused with the places that send your children where they swim in a lake and make crappy macaroni-glitter crafts.
A kick-off to the summer season of live music, Scamp will be celebrating its twelth birthday in 2012. Since its inception in 2001, it has been the premier festival for headliners like Jane’s Addiction and Chicago’s very own Umphrey’s McGee. Though Moe and Umphrey’s will no doubt be putting on ‘face-melting’ sets, the festival is packed with seven different stages with a vibrant musical lineup of 100-plus bands, including Yonder Mountain String Band and Primus to name just a few.
One of the best parts of the experience for new Scampers is opening their ears, eyes, and mind to a variety of different genres. Each act is unique in its own way, and there are performances taking place on a multitude of stages beginning at 11 a.m. and running into the night, as late as 4 a.m. Following the closing 4 a.m. act, one can usually travel through the forest and immerse yourself in various drum circles, woodwind and string instruments, lit by the neon aura of ever-present glow sticks. The festival continues to feature numerous diverse acts and genres; previous artists include the Grammy-award winner Skrillex, country legend Willie Nelson, and reggae sensation The Wailers, just to name a few.
Aside from the musical performances, each and every scamper is given the opportunity to participate in various workshops, educational discussions, and live art through Make a Difference. Find your inner Yogi with “Heading OM Yoga,” or join one of the many interactive workshops including “Actions Speak Louder” by the advocacy organization ONE International, co-founded by Bono, where you can learn how your local actions can make a global impact.
Readers planning on being in attendance should consult the following essential checklist: rain boots, a tarp, glitter, glow sticks, a heavy-duty raincoat, and an additional pair of rain boots. Just in case you haven’t noticed a connection, it’s strongly advised to bring rain gear. As an expert Scamper the weather can be beautiful one moment and turn to thunderstorms the next. Rain or shine the festival will still take place but you will save yourself a cold by packing for rain as “wet” camping is always a possibility.
Whether you’re coming for just one act or to share a great Memorial Day Weekend with your old college friends, Summer Camp is for everyone. Make the most of it, get there early, pack for rain and hydration, and step outside your box and explore a new band or sit-in on a workshop. The experience and reward of becoming a scamper is a memory that will stay with you and keep you coming back for more.
Summer Camp is located at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe. The park is located about 15 miles north of Peoria, 140 miles southwest of Chicago, and 186 miles north of St. Louis. All information for ticketing, artists, workshops, and merchandising can be found online at Summer Camp Festival.
For all our LA readers, if your plans for this holiday weekend aren’t set, book your travel now! You won’t regret it!