Three days of “peace and music” will again commence this May 23-25 with the eighth installment of Summer Camp Festival. Held at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL, a small-town just north of Peoria, co-producers Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment and Jam Productions hope to triple the area’s population for the weekend.
Mike Armintrout, director of marketing and a talent-buyer for Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment, believes the “small-town” setting helps foster a sense of tight-knit community among festival-goers. However, in an attempt to broaden the festival’s appeal, Armintrout notes that this year’s list of performers is “more diverse than it’s ever been in the past.” By including acts such as Grammy-award-winning hip-hip artist The Roots and funk group George Clinton & Parlaiment Funkadelic, the producers aspire to “mix up” Summer Camp’s lineup to ensure that the festival doesn’t solely rely on the jam band niche. Armintrout admits, however, that Jay Goldberg Events and Jam Productions can always count on their “core group of Summer Camp supporters” — the group that arrives regardless of the lineup since moe. and Umphrey’s McGee are guaranteed to be in attendance.
Admittedly the largest camping-reliant music festival in Illinois, Summer Camp exudes an earthy, “Woodstock” vibe in contrast to the more urban atmosphere of venues like Grant Park. Summer Camp is indeed a “community” — the majority of campers leave their cars for four straight days to take refuge in makeshift tents. Also, in an attempt to make a family-friendly community, Summer Camp will be hosting a “Kid’s Camp” each day of the festival. Another unique option for concert-goers who wish to take a break from the music is the “Conscious Experience Tent.” Described in detail on the Summer Camp Web site, the tent “offers a wide variety of opportunities to discover health, civic engagement, community activism, green technologies and much more.” However, with four stages of music running simultaneously, campers have no reason to grow bored. From a mere 11 acts in 2001, Summer Camp has grown to include the 60+ acts of this year’s program. The fantastic line-up includes a blend of national, regional and local bands from the age-tested, listener-approved Flaming Lips to Champaign’s own Headlights. Although playing at the Canopy Club doesn’t necessarily land bands a gig at Summer Camp, a myriad of local 2008 Summer Camp artists got their start at Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment’s Urbana venue.
Now in its 10th year, Canopy Club has served as the premiere outlet for local bands to gain both experience and exposure. Armintrout makes it clear that the company will not discriminate based on genre. Instead, Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment looks at what bands have the greatest fan base. “Do people want to see it?” asks Armintrout. However, the company’s mission is not limited to expansion of the local scene; Canopy Club continues to attract regional and national acts. To view such a potpourri of talent, make sure to visit www.summercampfestival.com/2008/ to order your tickets for Summer Camp Festival 2008.

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