written by Alex Rowland
photo by Sage Thomas
With school coming to an end and summer just around the corner people are gearing up for the summer festival season. Summer Camp Music Festival is the perfect festival to kick off the summer season with! Starting with fifteen bands in 2001, Summer Camp as grown into one of the premier festivals in the United States that showcases a variety of music including jam bands, southern rock, bluegrass, jazz, funk, and electronic. Located in Chillicothe, IL from May 26-28, Summer Camp provides an environment that keeps both the musical performers and the festival goers coming back year after year. With 2017 being my first year going to camp I made a list of the five bands that I’m looking forward to seeing the most. MOE, Umphrey’s McGee, Gov’t Mule, Gramatik, and The Werks.
MOE & Umphrey’s McGee
Both MOE & Umphrey’s McGee could be considered the heart and soul of this fantastic jam band summer music festival. Back in 2001 MOE was the original headliner of Summer Camp. Two years later Umphrey’s McGee joined the lineup and the two bands have been the headliners every year since. (MOE 17th year, Umphrey’s 15th year) Both of these bands will be performing all three nights of Summer Camp. Their jam band and progressive rock style fuel this festival and help make it what it is. MOE has produced 24 albums over the last three decades and have become one of the most iconic jam bands of its time. Umphrey’s McGee, one of my personal favorites, has become a force to recon with in the jam band community as well. Without these two bands Summer Camp Music Festival would not be what it is today.
The third band that I chose sticks with the jam band and southern rock style that encompasses the Summer Camp lineup. Government Mule was a side project of the Allman Brothers Band back in the late 1990s and has been a staple of various music festivals ever since. This will be Gov’t Mule’s third year playing at Summer Camp Music Festival. (2017, 2012, 2010) Warren Haynes is a Grammy Award winning artist and one of the most talented guitarists that helped shape rock music by performing with The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, and The Dead. He will be taking the stage with the other members of Gov’t Mule once again at Summer Camp to put on a performance that you won’t soon forget.
The fourth artist that I chose is one of the many DJs and electronic artists performing over the weekend. For the fifth time in the last six years Gramatik will be one of the DJ’s taking the stage at Summer Camp. Alongside Pretty Lights Live and Zeds Dead, Gramatik is a DJ that is exploding onto the music festival scene. On top of Summer Camp, Gramatik will also be headlining festivals such as Shakey Beats, Middlelands, Bonnaroo, What the Fest, The Werk Out, and many more. This talented DJ is a must see artist that will keep you dancing throughout the night.
Finally, the fifth band that I chose holds a special place in my heart and is a big reason why I fell in love with music festivals. The Werks is a rock jam band from Dayton, Ohio that put on their own music and arts festival to close out the summer. (My first festival three years ago) This will be the seventh year in a row that The Werks will be performing at Summer Camp. This band can flat out jam. They also recently released their new album back in March called “Magic” so expect to hear some new music!
Summer Camp has a plethora for fantastic artists that will keep you dancing and jamming through the night. With a big selection of returning bands and a few first timers this year’s Summer Camp has one of the most talented lineups ever. Don’t miss out on the perfect way to kick off the summer festival season and come join the squad in Chillicothe, IL at the end of May for three nights you won’t soon forget!