Memorial Day Weekend Fest Preview

By: Dennis Cook, JamBase Associate Editor

Summer festival season kicks into high gear this coming weekend with dozens of festivals around the United States. JamBase takes a look at five of the finest gatherings coming up and makes a few helpful suggestions beyond the big names at the top of the bills for those about to rock beneath the stars around this great country.

Summer Camp Festival | Chillicothe, IL
We begin with one of the jewels of the jam world, the 10th Annual Summer Camp, taking place Friday, May 28 through Sunday, May 30, with a pre-festival party on Thursday, May 27 in Chillicothe, IL, at the Three Sisters Park. Anchored by three days of moe. and Umphrey's McGee performances, the tenth edition of this festival also includes headlining sets from The Avett Brothers, Gov't Mule and Yonder Mountain String Band. Here's a few acts well worth working into your schedule if you're heading to Summer Camp.

1. Backyard Tire Fire :: Thursday :: 6:30-7:30 pm :: Starshine Stage
Ed Anderson is one of the few singer-songwriters out there to give Tom Petty and Springsteen an honest run for their money in the meat 'n' taters rock game. With his stalwart bandmates, Anderson makes music for the day-to-day slog and those sweet moments away from the grind of it all. Foot stompin' greatness is all but guaranteed at this set, which could set your whole weekend at Summer Camp off on just the right foot. BTF also plays on Saturday from 1:00-2:15 pm on the Sunshine Stage.

2. Split Lip Rayfield :: Friday night :: 12:30 am-2:30 am :: Campfire Stage
A great number of top-flight musicians have been seen sporting Split Lip Rayfield t-shirts over the years. That's a positive sign right there, and if you dig into their rootsy, irreverent music you'll probably want to wear one, too. There's something intrinsically right and unpasteurized about Split Lip, a spirit punk rockers and bluegrass lovers can both vibe on equally. Their Late Night Campfire Jam is likely to have a gravitational pull to many of the musician fans at Summer Camp, so don't be too surprised at the surprises likely to ensue.

3. The New Mastersounds :: Sunday :: 4:00-5:00 pm :: Sunshine Stage
Simply put, if you love soulful, funky music you're missing out if you don't check out England's New Mastersounds, who possess one of the sharpest, coolest approaches to the genre going today. There's just the right mix of rawness and polish to them, and the quartet's interplay borders on telepathic.

Summer Camp Schedule

Summer Camp Directions

Summer Camp website

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