A chapter of Summer Camp Music Festival history came to a close this past Memorial Day Weekend with the festival’s 2023 edition. As hosts moe. and Umphrey’s McGee welcomed over 150 artists to Chillicothe, IL including headliners Willie Nelson & FamilyGooseExcision, and many more, they did it with a tinge of melancholy as everyone knew it was the last SCamp as we know it, for now.

Ten days before bands and fans alike returned to Three Sisters Park, Summer Camp founder Ian Goldberg delivered the announcement: the long-running festival, as fans have come to know it, will take a hiatus in 2024. Instead, the man who started the festival in 2001 with 11 bands promised a “redefined” event in its place, at Three Sisters, over Memorial Day Weekend, with moe. and Umphrey’s. Though the announcement contained few specifics, the general tone seemed to indicate that the festival will scale back operations and present a more intimate gathering with fewer bands, harkening back to SCamp’s early days.

Though that air of finality hung over Three Sisters this past weekend, it only emboldened those playing and those partying to make this Summer Camp one to remember. Festival hosts moe. and Umphrey’s McGee embodied this spirit with collaborative performances celebrating all that they’ve created over the years (moe. helped launch the festival as hosts in 2001 before Umphrey’s McGee came on board two years later, with the dynamic duo presenting SCamp together ever since).

Summer Camp Music Festival 2023 Official Recap

In another format change, Umphrey’s performed all of its 2023 sets on the Moonshine Stage—the amphitheater stage that hosts moe. and other headliners like Willie Nelson. On Saturday, Umphrey’s McGee’s first set of the evening was billed as “moe. and Umphrey’s McGee.” That performance began with UM’s Brendan Bayliss on guitar alongside the members of moe. and saw Bayliss’s bandmates gradually subbing in for their moe. counterparts as the set went on. Together, the members of the two groups mixed originals from both bands’ catalogs (like “Meat” and “In The Kitchen”) with crow-pleasing covers like “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “Crosseyed and Painless”, and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”—with moe. bassist Rob Derhak on giant cowbell—before rounding things out with both outfits performing an appropriate “We’re An American Band”.

Umphrey’s McGee, moe – Summer Camp Music Festival – 5/27/23 – Full Video

[Video: shinepigeon]

Umphrey’s McGee, moe., Ben Atkind, Mike Dillon – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (Blue Oyster Cult) [Pro-Shot] – 5/27/23

Umphrey’s McGee had the honor of closing out the Moonshine Stage on Sunday with the final set of the final day of Summer Camp. Ever the gracious co-hosts, Umphrey’s McGee invited moe. out to finish the festival together. Before polishing off Summer Camp Music Festival 2023 with a fitting cover of Simple Minds‘ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, Umphrey’s McGee guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bayliss had a few parting words:

Summer Camp, we love you all so very much. We have a lot of fantastic memories from this place. A lot of things that I don’t remember. Your fault. I will say one thing. The first time we ever came to Summer Camp, I sat down at catering and the guys from moe. sat down next to me and they talked to me just like I was a normal person. For the first time, it made me feel legitimate. Because I’m very illegitimate. The point is, if somebody like me can get somebody like them to come on stage with somebody like me, then maybe somebody like you can convince somebody like them that you are worth [it.] It made me feel special even though I’m not. We’re all going to get laid! And you (repeated), we’re all getting laid!

Umphrey’s McGee, moe. – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (Simple Minds) – 5/28/23

[Video: aershko]

Setlist: Umhrey’s McGee | Three Sisters Park | Chillicothe, IL | 5/27/23

Set One: Moth[1] > Meat[2], In The Kitchen[3], In Memory of Elizabeth Reed[4], Rebubula[5], The Silent Type[6], Crosseyed and Painless[7], (Don’t Fear) The Reaper[8], We’re An American Band[7]

Set Two: All In Time > Small Strides, Staircase, Wizard Burial Ground, Looks, JaJunk, Bad Friday, Tribulations > All In Time

[1] moe., with Brendan
[2] moe., with Jake and Joel
[3] with Al Schnier
[4] moe., with Brendan and Andy
[5] full band switch from moe. to Umphrey’s
[6] with Chuck Garvey and Nate Wilson
[7] with moe.
[8] with moe., Ben Atkind, and Mike Dillon
Show Notes:
Moonshine Stage
first set billed as “moe. and Umphrey’s McGee”
last Rebubula 2014-05-03 (732 shows)
last (Don’t Fear) The Reaper 2013-08-15 (812 shows)

Setlist: Umhrey’s McGee | Three Sisters Park | Chillicothe, IL | 5/28/23

Set One: There’s No Crying In Mexico > 1348 > Domino Theory, 2×2 > Fenced In > 2×2, Wappy Sprayberry, Ringo

Set Two: Attachments > Booth Love, Bridgeless > Hajimemashite > Escape Goat > Bridgeless, Plunger > 1348

Encore: Don’t You (Forget About Me)[1]

[1] with moe.

View Setlists

Along with moe. and Umphrey’s McGee, plenty of longtime Summer Camp favorites returned to Three Sisters for this historic outing. Getting the party started on Thursday for the official pre-party were back-to-back familiar faces Lotus and The Disco Biscuits. While this marked Lotus’ eighth trip to SCamp, this year’s set signaled the band’s first without percussionist Chuck Morris, who tragically passed away with his son Charley while on a kayaking trip earlier this year.

The Disco Biscuits pulled double duty at the festival, helping get the pre-party started Thursday as well as keeping it going by closing out the Moonshine Stage on Friday. As if that wasn’t enough playing, bassist Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner pulled triple duty by scooting from the band’s Thursday set over to the Red Barn for a separately ticketed late-night set featuring the return of Gigantic Underground Conspiracy. The jamtronic supergroup also features Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken of Big GiganticBen Baruch of Underground Orchestra, and Chris Michetti of Conspirator.

The Disco Biscuits – Summer Camp Music Festival – 5/25/23 – Full Audio

[Audio: Michael Frasca]

Plenty of other old favorites dotted the Summer Camp lineup, including Yonder Mountain String Band, which kept the crowd hooting and hollering into the early Friday morning. Aqueous also etched another notch in its storied Summer Camp history with the Buffalo, NY jam band appearing at every SCamp since its debut in 2014. The goodbye was twofold for Aqueous, as the band prepares to go on indefinite hiatus later this year. Aqueous went out with a bang by making its final SCamp set an hour-long “Kitty Chaser (Explosions in the Sky)”.

While Aqueous certainly has a formidable Summer Camp legacy, no other artist at the festival aside from moe. comes close to that of STS9 bassist Alan Rocklin. Since the festival was founded in 2001, Rocklin has performed at every single gathering. This year, Rocklin participated in another longtime Summer Camp tradition, Everyone Orchestra, as well as a special late-night Red Barn set by Cory Wong and Friends.

Though Summer Camp certainly brought together plenty of old favorites, the 2023 festival presented plenty of newer faces, too. Though the festival will change face going forward, hopefully, many of them will return for this new chapter to continue writing their Summer Camp stories.

Progressive future groove trio lespecial has carved out a place as a go-to late-night set at Summer Camp, and this year’s special “Headbangers Ball” set cemented that reputation. Following a daytime Starshine Stage set, lespecial settled in for a two-hour late-night performance in the Soulshine Tent that went until 4 a.m. The band loaded the setlist with homages to its heavier influences including an opening mashup of Slayer‘s “Raining Blood”, Korn‘s “Blind”, and Limp Bizkit‘s “Break Stuff” to make sure everyone was awake at the 2 a.m. start time. The show also witnessed an array of special guests including keyboardist Joel Cummins (Umphrey’s McGee), guitarists Mike Gantzer (Aqueous) and Sam McGarrity, and vocalist Reilly Comisar.

lespecial – Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL – 5/27/23 – Day Set – Full Video

[Video: shinepigeon]

The members of New Haven, CT jam quartet Eggy stayed busy during their second year on the SCamp bill. After delivering a VIP set on Friday night, they joined in with NYC soul-rock outfit Melt on Saturday afternoon, with guitarist Jake Brownstein jumping in on “Inside” and the whole quartet joining on vocals for a cover of the late Tina Turner‘s “The Best”. On Sunday, after performing a set of their own on the Starshine Stage and lending Brownstein to Everyone Orchestra for an early evening performance, all four members took part in indispensable party antics of Andy Frasco & The U.N. on the Starshine.

Eggy – “Bennie and the Jets” (Elton John) [Pro-Shot] – 5/28/23

The madman jester of the jam scene pulled in plenty of outside help for his incendiary Summer Camp sendoff. In addition to all of Eggy, his rowdy performance included appearances by Maggie RoseSierra HullSaxsquatch, and more, as well as a parade of nude revelers.

While this last SCamp in the familiar format certainly brought up mixed emotions, Frasco’s raucous performance featuring crowd-surfing races, covers like My Chemical Romance‘s “Teenagers”, and plenty of other shenanigans certainly kept the vibes high and smiles wide. Though the diehard Los Angeles Lakers fan was dealt a major blow earlier this month with his team’s elimination from the NBA playoffs, Frasco went home with some hardware of his own as the recipient of the coveted Wook Of The Year trophy.


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Of course, two of this year’s headliners also made momentous sophomore trips to Three Sisters. A lot has changed for Goose since the band last stepped foot in Three Sisters in 2019. While that set was stunted by rain, it continued to propel the band forward via word-of-mouth. Fast forward four years, and Goose enjoyed top billing and staged a two-set performance on the Sunshine Stage on Friday during prime time. With plenty of time to stretch out, Goose aired extensive renderings of “Echo of a Rose”, “Thatch”, and “Hungersite” which displayed just how far the band has come in just four years.

Goose – Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL – 5/26/23

Though Summer Camp Music Festival is well-regarded as a musical menagerie of genres—mingling jam, EDM, bluegrass, and much more—Willie Nelson presented something of a common thread as fans from all walks gathered at the Moonshine Stage on Sunday to bear witness to an American music legend. With his son Lukas Nelson (who would later sit in with moe. on “Mexico”) sitting by his side, the 90-year-old singer-songwriter delivered an hour-long set of his songs which have become indelible pages of the American songbook. Things likely looked a little different to Willie, who last played the festival in 2009.

During his set, Willie brought out moe. guitarists Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier, bassist Rob Derhak, and keyboardist Nate Wilson alongside Sierra Hull and UM guitarists Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger to sing backup vocals on the traditional gospel hymn “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”. While the jam band men departed, Sierra Hull got to stick around to help out on “It’s Hard To Be Humble” before Willie’s walk-off big finish as he threw his hat and other ephemera into the crowd as the band played him off.

Other headliners made their debuts at Summer Camp this year including Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade and Mastadon. Claypool was no stranger to Summer Camp, performing at the festival with a variety of projects over the years, most recently with Primus in 2017. Currently in the midst of a reunion tour with his Frog Brigade brethren, the single-set performance toggled through the band’s lone album, Lennon Claypool Delerium songs, and Pink Floyd‘s Animals.

In a running Summer Camp tradition, Death Kings closed out the festival in the wee hours of Memorial Day morning. The heavy metal supergroup helmed by Mike Gantzer (Aqueous) and Ryan Stasik (Umphrey’s McGee) pulled in some additional talent for their 2–4 a.m. set in the Soulshine Tent including Andy Frasco, U.N. guitarist Sean Eckels, and Luke Bemand (lespecial) to bid farewell to Summer Camp… for now.

Check out daily galleries from Summer Camp Music Festival 2023 by Keith Griner along with an assortment of fan-shot videos. Stay tuned to the festival’s social media channels for official announcements on the future of Summer Camp.

Lotus – Summer Camp Music Festival – 5/25/23 – Partial

[Video: aershko]

The Disco Biscuits – “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” (Dead Or Alive) – 5/25/23

[Video: shinepigeon]

Yonder Mountain String Band – “What The Night Brings” [Pro-Shot] – 5/25/23

Umphrey’s McGee, Kanika Moore – “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (Tina Turner) – 5/26/23

[Video: shinepigeon]

TAUK ft. Kanika Moore – “STFU” [Pro-Shot] – 5/26/23

Goose – “Hungersite” – 5/26/23

[Video: shinepigeon]

Lotus – Summer Camp Music Festival – 5/27/23 – Partial

[Video: aershko]

Lotus – “Spiritualize” – 5/27/23

[Video: aershko]

moe., Umphrey’s McGee – “Crosseyed & Painless” (Talking Heads) – 5/27/23

[Video: aershko]

Papadosio – “Cubensis” [Pro-Shot] – 5/27/23

Keller Williams – “Freaker By The Speaker” – 5/28/23

[Video: aershko]

Willie Nelson – “Whiskey River” – 5/28/23

[Video: shinepigeon]

Willie Nelson – “Georgia On My Mind” – 5/28/23

[Video: shinepigeon]

Willie Nelson – “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” – 5/28/23

[Video: shinepigeon]

Willie Nelson – “On The Road Again” – 5/28/23

[Video: shinepigeon]

Willie Nelson – Summer Camp Music Festival – 5/28/23 – Full Set

[Video: shinepigeon]

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