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An Interview with Summer Campís Holly Brinkman
An Interview with Summer Campís Holly Brinkman
Cory Giacalone  2/26/2012

KW: Summer Camp Music Festival has been around for 11 years now very successfully, what are you folks doing to keep things new and exciting for your returning fans?

HB: With our line up, we are always looking to provide festival goers with a diverse experience, no matter what type of music they listen to. One of the greatest things about a festival is experiencing first-hand artists you've never seen or heard of before; whether they have been around for decades, or are brand new to the scene.

We also are constantly finding new ways to build our community and keep them connected to us and fellow Scampers year round. That is one thing that really sets us apart from other festivals. While we have grown in size, our fan base is truly like a family. Many people say that Summer Camp is like coming home. We never want to lose that energy, and work really hard to make sure we continue to offer that to our loyal fan base.

KW: Like many festival's you have a VIP upgrade as an option to the customer, what does VIP entail for Summer Camp Music Festival 2012? I hear there are usually DJ's giving performances in the VIP area, anything special like that this year?

HB: Yes. The VIP bar features music all day long with DJ performances each night. VIPs also get discounted drinks at the bar. The VIP packages also include VIP camping closer to the stages, VIP parking closer to the camp sites, free showers, bathrooms, late night ticket ( quantity depending on the upgrade), a VIP poster, access to our Thursday Preparty and access to VIP seating at the stages.

We have numerous upgrades, with the highest one, our Rockstar upgrade, offering fans an all access pass equivalent to what one of our performers gets.

KW: It looks like you folks have really turned up the heat in the few past years in the Late Night Vibes tent, giving a great alternative to those who can't make it into the Barn for Late Night, Vibes Tent has showcased big names like Alex B, Orchard Lounge, Boombox and even Skrillex, do plan to keep on building on that momentum and really turn the Late Night Vibes Tent into one of the bigger highlights of Summer Camp?

HB: Absolutely. While we will continue to have DJs performing on other stages at the festival, we really want to position the Vibes tent as THE place to be at if you're into EDM.

KW: How many people does the festival plan on bringing out this year?

HB: Hopefully around the same as last year. 20,000 or so. We will likely have a slightly bigger audience on Sunday with Jane's Addiction performing.

KW: It really looks like your doing great things with your festival greening initiative with color coded bins and even Bio-Diesel Generators, is there any way that festival goers can get involved?

HB: YES! Festival goers can get involved and Make a Difference in many ways! For one, they can join the Green Team which helps sort recycling, compost, and garbage and education patrons on the importance of proper waste disposal. Fans can also participate in our Treasure Hunt, which is a game to promote social awareness and sustainability education on site and in your every day lives, as well as participate in the Go Green Raffle which is another way of earning Summer Camp and Artist goods in reward for socially aware and sustainable behavior at the festival. Check out our Make a Difference page to find out more!

KW: Last year you had a you had Field Day where members of Umphrey's McGee came out and played some sunrise kickball. What plans are in store for this year, anything similar?

HB: Absolutely. Last year we introduced a new concept called Field Day, which is a team based competition taking place primarily on Saturday during the day at Summer Camp. There are four teams, red, yellow, blue and purple. Each team participated in various events ranging from a spelling bee to a relay race to a pie eating competition. Depending on how they did, they received points for their team, and the team with the most points was named the winner. The red team dominated last year, and received a free keg party on Sunday to celebrate. Their flag will also be flown this year at Summer Camp and is virtually flown on our web site. And while most of the events take place at Summer Camp, we have had a series of events throughout the year where fans can get involved at various festivals and shows in the midwest. We did a coat drive for charity at the Umphrey's thanksgiving show in Chicago, and have a food drive planned for moe.s upcoming show in Chicago as well. These events really keep this community of die-hard fans engaged all year long and thinking and talking about Summer Camp. It also brings so many people together, as people can join a team and root for it without having to compete in any of the events based on what team their friend is on (or favorite artist is on). This year we are really hoping to get more artists involved in the games as well to take it up a notch.

KW: The Camp Counselor Program, it seems to be something that does set Summer Camp apart and seems like a great program and how does it work?

HB: We started Camp Counselor Program last year and is something that really turned out better than any of us could have ever hoped for. Basically we created this "job" that someone would take on in exchange for a once in a lifetime experience at the festival. Fans were asked to submit resumes of their festival experiences and video cover letters so we could get a sense of who they were and what they were all about. We selected the top submissions and then allowed our fans on Facebook to vote for their favorites. The winner, Nick Stock, was named the Camp Counselor, and received a Rockstar VIP experience for 2 (basically 2 all access passes) plus the chance to introduce moe.'s performance, the chance to watch 3 sets of his choice on the side of the stage, and a PRIVATE concert featuring members of Cornmeal and all of moe. at his camp site with all of his friends. In exchange for this amazing experience, Nick was asked to provide fans with video blogs, written blogs, and photos to document the experience and give Campers (and potential Campers) an idea of what Summer Camp is all about.

And so that fans could get a variety of perspectives from people with different backgrounds and musical interests, we also gave the top 5 applicants who did not win the chance to be CITs (or counselors in training). They too were asked to provide us with video blogs, written blogs and photos in exchange for VIP access and 3 day passes to the festival. And all of our CITs and our Camp Counselor were so wonderful, we extended our job offer to include blogging for us year round at various shows and festivals featuring Summer Camp artists (past, present and future). There is a whole section on our web site within Community where fans can learn all about them, and see their photos and videos and read their blogs. This really helps connect our fans to our community year round, and helps to portray how diverse our community really is. Our CITs are from Vermont, California, Colorado, New Orleans and Wisconsin. They are all different ages and have very diverse musical taste. And that's what Summer Camp is all about....bringing this diverse group together and enjoying 4 wonderful days of music together.

KW: Last year, I believe for the first time, when Moe usually takes the main stage at night, you let STS9 take the main stage instead, do you plan on doing something like that again this year?

HB: Moe. and Umphrey's McGee will always be the hosts of the festival, and we will continue to offer moe. and Umphrey's fans numerous opportunities to see them perform. Both artists will be performing all 3 nights of the festival this year, but we will also have other artists performing at night as well to mix it up a bit and offer festival goers a diverse and amazing show.

KW: In the past 10 years you have grown from a festival with only a couple thousand to now about 20,000 people, tell us how that has changed the way Summer Camp Works and has it improved the overall festival experience?

HB: We've had to evolve quite a bit. In the early years we only had 1 main stage, but now we have 2. Every year we keep adding stages and activities to keep our growing population engaged. And while we definitely started focusing on just jam bands, we have evolved our line ups to cater to a more diverse crowd and give fans a taste of what else is out there.

KW: Looks like this year you are introducing some new artists/acts to the line-up, who are ya'll excited about most and what is getting the best response from the fans in your opinion?

HB: Oh wow, that's a tough one. Of our headliners, I am really excited to see Jane's Addiction perform. I'm also really excited for Tedeschi Trucks Band. Our fan base is so diverse that people seem to be really excited about all of our headlining acts. We tried this year to truly offer something for everyone with Pretty Lights, Primus, Gogol Bordello, Gov't Mule all rounding out 3 days of moe. and Umphrey's.

 


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