Summer Starts with Summercamp

The festival season officially kicks off, as it does every year, with the annual moe. and Umphrey's mecca that is the Summercamp Festival. Tiny Chillicothe, IL (population: 6,000) will double in size for the weekend as moe., Umphrey's McGee, Les Claypool and the illustrious Willie Nelson bring some of that downhome, grassroots spirit that have made Summercamp one of the most popular, enduring and truly authentic small festivals on the circuit. You can check out the full lineup here.

Though you could probably spend all three days watching sets and doing little else, Summercamp has always made a concerted effort to make its nonprofit/greening activity a central part of the experience.

HeadCount, of course, will be on hand registering voters and asking people "What's Your Issue?" Stop by our booth if you are attending. We'll also be hosting moe. guitarist and HeadCount board member Al Schnier for a little Q&A and acoustic set at the "Soulshine Tent" on Sat, May 23rd at 2:30 PM.

We certainly won't be alone in trying to bring some added consciousness to Summercamp.

Green Energy Team, an organization rooted in simple, ingenious invention, will be displaying their solar powered air and water heaters made from old soda cans, and showing you how to make them too. The group donates devices to needy families who can't afford air and water heating. If you think taking aim at global poverty, the need for recycling and our overreliance on unclean energy sources with one simple creation is ambitious, you're right. That's why it's worth seeing for yourselves what these guys are doing and how you can help.

Also, The Bloom Biodiesel Bus, a bus that runs on biodiesel made by high school students in Chicago Heights, will be parked at the festival, and the students will be demonstrating how to convert used vegetable oil into fuel that works in any diesel engine.

"[Summercamp] is a wonderplace to get the word out, and a really great way to get the names and missions of these organizations into someone's head," says Vanessa Robinson, the organizer of the nonprofit and greening initiatives at Summercamp 2009. "It's important for people who are going to this festival to try to learn a new idea."

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