This past weekend the Funkadelphia crew made a 16 hour journey out to beautiful and serene Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois for our first ever Summer Camp Music Festival experience. The festival, curated annually by Moe., features an eclectic blend of music ranging from folk and bluegrass, to funk and rock, to hip-hop, to glitch-hop, drum & bass, reggae, jazz and more. With five official stages, a dance tent, and multiple stages sponsored by outside parties- including a Grassroots California stage- the lineup for 2014 was filled with countless incredibly talented acts.
We’ll take you through our day-by-day experience, talking about all the amazing performers we were able to see. You’ll also see plenty of amazing photos from the weekend.
Although Summer Camp didn’t officially kick off until Friday, we arrived Thursday morning, just in time for the pre-party. The pre-party included additional sets from artists already performing at Summer Camp, as well as late night sets in the Red Barn from Manic Focus, Digital Tape Machine, and EOTO.
Kinetik Groove: We kicked off Summer Camp 2014 by getting down with the rhythms of Kinetik Groove over at the Grassroots California (GRC) Stage. He was bringing the beats the way Colorado does best: bassy and full of funk. Kinetik Groove showed us that he knows what he’s doing on the decks just as much as in the studio.
Cosby Sweater: I first saw Cosby Sweater back in the Fall when they did a couple shows with Lotus. I hadn’t heard of them prior to that show, but I became a big fan that same night. The Indianapolis trio brought the heat again at Summer Camp, throwing out plenty of jazzy and funky vibes.
Twiddle: Twiddle has been doing their thing for quite some time now. The Vermont band has been jamming through the festival circuit for years. Despite seeing them multiple times, I’m consistently excited to see these guys get grooving on stage every Summer.
Dirt Monkey: We then headed back to the GRC Stage to see another Colorado DJ and producer, Dirt Monkey, hold it down. We’ve been following Dirt Monkey here on Funkadelphia for a while, but finally getting to see him dish out his tracks live was an extra special treat that I certainly won’t forget from Summer Camp.
Manic Focus: One of the latest additions to GRiZ‘s label, Liberated Music, the Chicago producer known as Manic Focus kicked off the late night festivities in the Red Barn for Thursday night. Manic Focus brought plenty of funk, lots of bass, and whole bunch of energy. He tried out a good amount of new stuff on too, making it look like it’ll be a great rest of 2014 for this young producer.
Digital Tape Machine: As a special exclusive pre-party surprise, the Umphrey’s McGee side project Digital Tape Machine made an appearance. The supergroup brought a dancey jamtronica vibe that was a perfect way to keep the night going.
EOTO: Another consistent favorite for me is the electrifying dance jabs of EOTO. The combination of String Cheese Incident members Jason Hahn and Michael Travis together as the jamtronica duo is always a mesmerizing performance. EOTO even brought out a new light show, further pushing their show to one of the most spectacular around.
Victor Wooten Band: The first of two legendary bassists we caught during our glorious Summer Camp weekend was Victor Wooten. This was the perfect way to start our first official day of Summer Camp. The band brought plenty of funk, and even played their own rendition of “Superstition”.
Nahko & Medicine for the People: A long time fan of Nahko, it was gratifying to finally see the Hawaiian guitarist singer and songwriter in action. The whole band delivered their tropical rhythms in a nearly flawless set full of plenty favorites and a few hidden gems.
Brightside: With the sun in full force, it was a relief to return to the GRC Stage and the cover of the Three Sisters Park forest for Brightside’s set. One of the winners of the Grassroots California and ThazDope Records contest, Eric Tully (Brightside) brought a diverse set of crunchy bass ranging from glitch-hop to drum & bass.
Robotic Pirate Monkey: Friday was inescapably full of funk, and as a result, we were full of smiles. Robotic Pirate Monkey kept it going for us with a smashing set in the Vibe Tent. The Colorado duo brought out some serious throwbacks as well as a few unreleased brain blasters.
The Manhattan Project: Definitely a personal local favorite of mine, it was great to see The Manhattan Project bringing their talents to Summer Camp. The New York duo sparked an energetic set full of spacey synthwork and those always killer drums.
Beats Antique: California trio Beats Antique is always a great time. Right as the sun was setting the wold music inspired electronica group delivered a mellow and enchanting set. They brought out a widespread arrangement of tracks from across their entire discography.
Umphrey’s McGee: Finally time to get in some Umphrey’s for the weekend. With the sun only still barely peering over the hills, the cool air brought the perfect weather to rock out. With a total of five sets across three nights from the Chicago band, there’s really no excuse to attend Summer Camp and not get down to some good ol’ Umphrey’s McGee.
Primus: And what better act to follow up Umphrey’s McGee than the great Les Claypool and Primus. Now we all know that Primus sucks, but the bass was thumping and the funk was churning as the San Francisco band dished out a delectable set.
EOTO: The allure of a second EOTO set was simply inescapable. Especially now that the festival had officially kicked off, and the duo was now taking one of the main stages boasting their stellar new production.
Manic Focus: One of the last two acts for Friday, delivering a late night performance in the vibe tent was Manic Focus again. The Chicago producer brought a completely new set to the stage than the night before and still managed to pack in just as much energy.
Wick-It the Instigator: I don’t think I could have picked a better way to end my Friday night than with Wick-It. The Nashville DJ, producer, guitarist, and just all around musician, always delivers killer sets. After dishing up countless funky and filthy bassed out tracks, Wick-It then turned to some classic hip-hop favorites for the remainder of his set to end the night on a lighter note.
Future Rock: Chicago group Future Rock brought their jazzy and funk-driven jamtronica rhythms to the stage on a once again beautiful Saturday morning. The set brought crashing waves of glorious sound that melded perfectly with the magnificent weather.
Cherub: Next up was another group whose music is always a perfect match for beautiful weather. The Nashville duo of Cherub brought their always funky disco inspired noise to Summer Camp in the form of one of the most energetic sets we had the pleasure of seeing all weekend.
The Floozies: Time to bring a little bass to back the funk, we headed over to the Starshine Stage for The Floozies. The only other time I’ve seen the Kansas duo in action was this past Fall when they opened for GRiZ on his last tour. So it was great to finally catch The Floozies delivering their tunes in the festival setting. The duo brought a relentless set of original production, full of classic favorites, unreleased sneak peeks, funky guitar lines, crunchy bass, and overall just awesome sound.
Lotus: Every time I see Lotus bringing the jams to any festival, it seems the Philadelphia band always manages to snag the sunset time slot on some stage. Well sunset on the Moonrise Stage- Summer Camp’s main stage set into a natural amphitheater- was the perfect time and place for Lotus at Scamp. Although it was a bit of a shame to only get one set from one of our hometown heroes, Lotus still brought out an ever funky set.
SunSquabi: Back to the cover of the woods, the GRC Stage was in full swing. Kevin Donohue of SunSquabi was bringing out the jams. Backed by his own production, the band’s lead guitarist tore it up on the decks and on his instrument of choice. I just hope we get the opportunity to see the SunSquabi full lineup in action within the near future.
KOAN Sound: When it comes to heavy, extremely glitched out bass music, KOAN Sound is undeniably one of the leading authorities in the field. The UK duo has been on a massive rise the pasT few years, touring as support for Bassnectar in the Fall of 2013, then headlining their own tour supported by Minnesota this past Spring. It was great to see the two boys back in action at Summer Camp. As always they busted out plenty of classic KOAN noise, plus plenty of other dubstep, glitch-hop and drum & bass well-kept secrets.
Vibe Street (+ Robotic Pirate Monkey secret set): One of the artists to contribute a track to our recent It’s Always Sunny in Funkadelphia compilation album, we left KOAN Sound a bit early to catch all of Vibe Street’s set. The Colorado producer (originally hailing from the Northeast) brought an all original production set, dropping plenty from his debut album, The Road to Something Perfect, as well as a throttling brand new remix of “Black Betty” (be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that in the future!)
Plus, Vibe Street’s set was preceded by a second, unannounced set from Robotic Pirate Monkey, also on the GRC Stage. The Colorado duo busted out a completely different assortment of tracks than they had at the Vibe Tent the day before.
DJ Solo: With so many producers on the scene these days, it’s rare to see a DJ who just really knows how to DJ. But DJ Solo has been on the circuit for a minute, and he’s always concocting brilliant new mixes full of all sorts of dance flavors. The Chicago native brought insurmountable energy to the Vibe Tent at Summer Camp this again this year.
Gramatik: Aside from the pre-party, the Red Barn late night sets are held off to limited entry. Of course, if you aren’t able to make it in, there’s still plenty of music going on between the vibe tent and multitude of renegade stages across the festival. We were lucky enough to make it in to Gramtik’s set at the Barn though, and boy was it a spectacular set loaded with funk. Plus the set brought special guest appearances from both Gibbz and Russ Liquid.
ProJect Aspect: With such a massive lineup including jam and electronic acts from across the globe, it might be surprising that my most anticipated act for the festival was ProJect Aspect, a Colorado producer playing a late night set at the GRC Stage. But Aspect has been one of my favorite producers for a minute now, and with over six albums of original production, live sets featuring live guitar jams, and a glitchy bass sound that’s to die for, I couldn’t wait to finally see Jay Jaramillo (ProJect Aspect) live and in action. The Denver musician delivered too. With an hour scheduled, ProJect Aspect broke boundaries, playing from 2AM all the way until 5AM when the police finally came and shut him down.
Umphrey’s McGee: What better way to kick off our last day of Summer Camp than one last set with Umphrey’s? The band further demonstrated why they are deserving of multiple sets throughout the festival.
Filibusta: We then made our way over to the Vibe Tent for another up and comer, Filibusta. The Fillmore, Illinois producer brought strong rock & roll and funk influence to a bass heavy glitch-hop inspired sound, blending in a unique flavor. Filibusta even broke out a synth for part of his set.
Lettuce: Feeling ready to get a whole other kind of funky, we headed over to the Sunshine Stage (appropriately named for such a glorious daytime set) for Lettuce. The New York band is well familiar to us here in Philadelphia, so of course we had to go and get down with them during their Summer Camp 2014 appearance.
Dopapod: Another group representing the Northeast, and frequent flyers in the City of Brotherly Love, Dopapod brought their funky jamtronica rhythms to the Campfire Stage during sunset of Summer Camp’s final stage, and I don’t think I could have picked a better group to bring me the soundtrack to that moment.
Bassnectar: Perfectly placed on the scenic Moonrise Stage, Bassnectar’s crowd was packed out well before the California producer and DJ even took the stage. With a new album on the near horizon, Nectar busted out a surplus of new and unreleased material. After the family photo, he closed his set with 15-20 minutes of old school loop productions he had made near the beginning of his career. It was another set to further remind us why Bassnectar has held his place for so long.
Supervision: It was actually a real relief to see Gramatik the night before in the Red Barn, because while a majority of the Scampers made their way over to Gramatik after Nectar’s destruction, we snuck over to the Vibe Tent for Supervision. The Dallas producer broke out everything from classically inspired hip-hop beats, to bassy glitch-hop, and even a rampaging remix of “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine.
Figure: I think Summer Camp probably reached an all time point of energetic intensity during Figure’s set. That’s quite a feat considering it occurred during the second to last set on the final day of a four day festival. That’s just the relentless force of dancefloor destruction that Figure brings every time though. The Indiana producer and DJ brought out plenty of monster classic favorites, and plenty of new originals, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute and new “Friday the 13th” track. We were also able to catch up with Figure after his set to talk about his roots, future plans and more. You can read the full interview above.
Russ Liquid: After our chat with Figure, we ducked back into the Vibe Tent to catch the remainder of Russ Liquid’s set. After hearing him jam with Gramatik the night before, it was great to get in a set of solo Russ. The Portland producer brought out plenty of smooth jazzy funk-infused tracks, busting out his trumpet. It was the perfect cap to bring us down a notch on our final set of Summer Camp.
A Few Other Highlights:
Overall the festival was packed with amazing installations- including a Scampoline, a jellyfish swing set, hammock matrix, and more- and other awesome surprises. In addition to the GRC Stage, there was also a stage in the woods for Indigosun, a local band who has been bringing their own equipment to Summer Camp for several years, playing sets at each festival. This year the band finally earned themselves a time slot on the Camping Stage Saturday night, but they still held it down on their own renegade stage for a large number of sets throughout the entire festival. There was live painting, an unbelievable amount of vendors, carnival rides, and just about anything tied to fun that you could possibly imagine.