2013 Festival Season in Words, Photo, and Video with Sean Hersch
About a year and a half ago I found myself in between majors, as well as reconsidering school altogether, but I stuck with it and found my home in journalism and this website. Sensible Reason allowed me to take off and cover the 2013 music festival season, and I sincerely needed that change. So, as a forward to everyone who happens to read this that helped me, thank you. I covered Summer Camp, Electric Forest, and Hyperion music festivals this year, and the experiences from these music festivals were as equally eye opening as they were incredible. So, where do I start before these experiences become faded and packed away in some fold within the mind?
Around late March or early April I found myself entering the “Camp Counselor Contest” for Summer Camp Music Festival. This contest is unique to Summer Camp because each year they allow selected “Camp Counselors” to be their ambassador/blogger for Summer Camp both at the festival, and abroad. My video was chosen for the top 8 or 10 picks (I honestly can’t remember), but did not fare well in the following head to head voting contests. I thought that contest was out the window because I was under the impression that winner takes all, until I got an email asking me which late night shows I wanted to see and who was going to be my plus one. So I did win something! Rad! It is not that uncommon for me to not read all of the rules, but this time it came as a pleasant surprise.The people over at Summer Camp treated all of the counselors like royalty: free beer, awesome interview opportunities, INTERNET (it’s kind of a big deal for “bloggers” or whatever I am), as well as simply being nice and approachable.
Let me talk about a Camp Counselor cat real quick, most probably know him as PunLive, but I know him best as Eric Richards. He is a great friend of mine and we ran into each other multiple times at Electric Forest. He has a positive vibe and he is one of many that I sincerely look forward to seeing in the future. Like me, Eric is a music connoisseur and he cares way too much about bringing his experience to the people. One day we will work with each other on the professional level, just wait and see.
Back to the Summer Camp experience. They had great interview opportunities but I was a rookie at the beginning of the summer, so I missed out on interview opportunities except for one with DJ Solo. You haven’t seen it? Yeah, probably because my camera died at the beginning of the interview. Like I said, rookie.
What I did manage to get on video was a Big Gigantic, Griz, and Gramatik throw down in the Red Barn. It’s not like that place is infamous for crazy artist collaborations or anything. What did this collaboration call themselves? Big Grizmatik. Nice guys. Watch a little bit of that specific set below.
Oh yeah, and there were three days of Moe and Umphrey’s McGee, two of the greatest jam bands of all time, which is why it was the best music festival. So good in fact that when I reflect back on this year’s Summer Camp I think, “What rain?” Music cures everything.
Electric Forest Music Festival
Electric Forest Music Festival, that place… It was big, and the artistic integrity of the production was bigger. Positivity was abundant… I ended up giving so many high fives my hand hurt, and that’s not an exaggeration. How could one not be happy in a place with a forest of interactive art? The term adult playground is thrown around a lot these days but nothing compares to this place. For this festival I didn’t manage to do a review BUT I did do some interviews without my camera dying. It is funny how that works out. I was blessed enough to interview Digital Tape Machine (DTM) and Greensky Bluegrass. Dan Rucinski and Joe Hettinga from DTM were pretty much the nicest musicians I have ever met. They made my interview too easy.
The guys from Greensky Bluegrass are hilarious. The entire conversation they had with one another, as well as during the interview, was a continuous volley between seriousness and complete sarcasm. Their interview freaked me out. For one, I was under the impression this interview was going to happen on Sunday. One phone call changed that on Saturday afternoon at Electric. So I went into reporter-Batman mode and pretty much summoned myself into the media area with no tripod or notes for questions and killed the interview. Well, in reality I stumbled over words from time to time and they gave awesome answers to compensate. Thanks guys. Check out the interview below.
However, there were a few things at Electric that bothered me. Water access was insanely far away and there was a LOT of trash and not enough pickup. We all have a responsibility to fix that. Try and go zero impact next time at a festival and pretty soon it will just be second nature.
This experience was very special to me. I met people there that I have kept in contact with nearly daily since and we have already met up for one show and have two more planned out for the future.
It is experiences like this that make me think about how important social media is despite the fact that it can be superficial. I remember Jaik Willis, Summer Camp regular and midwest acoustic legend, talked about the internet at Summer Camp this year, and he pointed out that we could connect with people in Thailand in seconds, we can organize movements with it, basically we can do amazing things with it. But we use it to complain instead.
The people, artisits, and friends that I have connected with through social media from Hyperion don’t fit that mold. They stay positive, lift one another up, and when they’re down they ask for positivity instead of getting angry about misfortune. I am truly happy to have met everyone, specifically Elliot, Nick, TK, Tyler, Patrick, and Brenna. You know who you are. Cheers.
The only thing that could have capped this experience would be if Papadosio would have came through with an interview, but it’s ok because I will keep trying.
This festival is like if Electric Forest had a little brother. Imagine EF with a fraction the amount of people and combine it with the same art and positivity that flows the forest; what is left is Hyperion. For one the pricing was outrageous in comparison to the lineup. One artist gave a shout out after a set to the Hyperion staff and said they provided a $200 festival lineup for half of the cost and it’s the truth. Break Science, UV Hippo, the Floozies, and Papadosio are all huge up and coming bands that will be headlining those expensive festivals in the future if they aren’t already.
That’s a good question. Next year, if I don’t get blessed with an internship or a job after graduation then I have my sights set on Burning Man, Rootwire, Summer Camp and Electric Forest. In the meantime I am going to hunker down and get better at writing and nerd out over camera gear as this cold dreary winter sets in for a while. Now, let’s go see a show together.