Summer Camp Music Festival 'taking a hiatus' after 2023 event in central Illinois

Chris Sims
Journal Star

The producer of Summer Camp Music Festival dropped a bomb on Facebook Monday, announcing the festival at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe will be going on hiatus after the 2023 event.

The festival was founded in 2001 by Pekin native Ian Goldberg. As the 22nd event is about to take place this Memorial Day weekend, Goldberg cited a changing festival landscape for putting a hold on future Summer Camp events.

"Due to various factors, Summer Camp Music Festival as we’ve all come to know it will be taking a hiatus," Goldberg said.

"The challenges of throwing a mid size independent music festival in the face of the big corporate festivals as competition both for fans and for artists, along with the logistical challenges (especially post pandemic) of throwing an event of this size in a small market in Central Illinois have had us reevaluating what we do for awhile now."

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The biggest challenge, he said, has been trying to make the necessary changes to Summer Camp without losing the integrity of what makes the festival what it is.

"We could not figure how to scale back the event in a way that would feel true to everything Summer Camp Music Festival has come to be," Goldberg said. "Cutting pieces of it felt like leaving our children behind. So we decided it was time to put Summer Camp Music Festival to rest. For now."

Goldberg didn't want to leave fans with a bitter taste in their mouth and offered some good news, as well.

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A "Scamper" dances enthusiastically to the sound of Break Science during the Summer Camp Music Festival on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe.

The Summer Camp tradition of gathering at Three Sisters Park will continue in 2024. A reimagined festival is in the works.

"It will likely include certain elements that long time SCampers will find very familiar. Most importantly we have cherished our long relationships with our host bands, moe. and Umphrey’s McGee and we look forward to what the future may hold with this new event," Goldberg said.

More details are expected on the new festival after the conclusion of the 2023 event.

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For now, Goldberg invites everyone to celebrate this year's Memorial Day bash like never before as a means of closure and moving forward together with high expectations for the future.

"As a kid from Pekin IL, who just really liked throwing parties for a living, I could have never dreamed we would create something like this community," Goldberg said.

"It is all because of you beautiful people, and how your spirit of love and happiness permeates these grounds, online, and in your own world's back home year after year. I am forever grateful and appreciate your support as always."

Chris Sims is a digital producer for the Journal Star. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisFSims.