Welcome New Camp Counselors: Emma and Niki!

Since 2011, the Summer Camp Counselor program has searched the country seeking a select few SCampers ready to play a larger role in the festival. By using their talents and interests to help communicate Summer Camp’s story, our Camp Counselors represent the festival both online and “in real life,” generating content for their Campfire blogs, hosting contests and Summer Camp events, setting up Make A Difference Charity Drives and more.

We would like to welcome our two newest members to the team, Emma and Niki! They will join us this Memorial Day Weekend to begin their Camp Counselor journey. Get to know your counselors below, and stay on the look out for their first posts on the Campfire Blog after the festival!


What originally attracted you to Summer Camp specifically, and music or festivals in general?

Emma: While I have always loved music; it wasn’t until I found friends through the music scene at my college that I started to get into camping festivals. Everyone raved about how Summer Camp was unlike anything else, a place where you could be yourself and see amazing artists intimately.

Niki: I’ve always loved Umphrey’s McGee and was first invited to this festival to celebrate Umphrey’s and jam all weekend. I had been a huge fan of electronic music and techno and was super excited to catch John Butler Trio, Big Gigantic and Griz in 2015. It was my first festival outside of Lollapalooza and maintained it’s special place in my heart since then. The diversity is what makes it so attractive and keeps me coming back each year. I like how open the campground and stages are and it just feels like home.


Which five artists are you most excited to see at Summer Camp 2019, and why?

Emma: STS9 because I’ve never seen an axe the cables set so I’m excited to finally experience that. Rebelution because they were one of my first musical influences in high school. Gramatik because I get down to SB5 once a week, at least. Aaron Kamm & The One Drops because they were a regular local band I used to see back when I lived in Missouri, so I’m super stoked to see them again. Umphrey’s McGee because they’re freaking wizards and what better stage to see them on than Sunshine!?


1. Umphrey’s McGee. Like I said before, I love this band and cannot get enough! As a manager and blogger with Grassroots Chicago, I interviewed Ryan Stasik two years ago and got a real in-depth view of the band: they’re more than bros with instruments. They’re really close with such a strong history and now have successful, beautiful families, and I just love that! I also had the privilege of meeting the entire band at their “its not us” album release party in Chicago last year and was invited to shoot that show. Since meeting the entire band face-to-face, and having them all sign my Umphrey’s Grassroots hat, every time I see them is just more and more special.

2. Zeds Dead! While they don’t have 20 years of albums under their belts, I know every single one of their songs and cannot get enough of their live shows! The first time I saw them live was at Summer Camp in 2017 (after a Friday-night Umphrey’s set) and it was like MAGNETS after that! I saw them 5 more times that year! Grassroots Chicago is partially to BLAME… we partnered with Zeds Dead for a Deadbeats pop-up before their Navy Pier show when I first started working there. As an art-based company, it was really awesome to learn that Hooks is a graffiti-artist and feature his work in our Art Gallery. He even did a full mural on donated wall-space around the corner from our shop! There is something so special about these two and their sound and I am soooooo gonna COLLAPSE when the LIGHTS GO DOWN and I see them on stage!

3. Gramatik. It’s been over 10 years now since Street Bangerz first came out and I cannot wait to celebrate ten years of such a wide-range of down-tempo chillstep to electro-swing, hip-hop and trip hop. My first ever Red Barn set was in 2017 when Gramatik played Sunday night. I went by myself that year and really paced myself all weekend to make sure I would get myself to that show and it was so worth it! His afternoon set left me almost in tears thinking he had lost his magic, but it’s cuz he was saving it for the barn 100%! Literally every one of his best, most classic songs was integrated into that set and it remains one of the best Gramatik sets to date.

4. Big Gigantic. It’s been since the legendary Big Grizmatik set from Scamp16 that I’ve seen these two perform live! Honestly, these two are the reason I first started listening to Griz and got into modern electronic music. I wasn’t able to make it to their Spring Awakening set as I had to hold down the Grassroots storefront and a gallery event last year so it’s really been a long time and will be such a treat! Personally, I just want to hear “All of Me” and “Blue Dream” and I will be the happiest fan in Chillicothe!

5. Doom Flamingo! I am soooo happy I discovered Synth Wave by clicking on the picture of the grim reaper on the Flamingo floatie when I saw it! Obviously, I found out about Doom Flamingo through Umphrey’s and Ryan Stasik, but it was through Stu White, Ross Bogan, and Mike Quinn that I recently learned all about the band and what makes them so cool! After hosting them on my Twitch stream for an interview, I learned all about their upcoming comic book which includes their avatar personas and Domingo, the heroic, muscular, Flamingo heart-throb the band and comic are centered around. They also told me a hysterical story from a sound-board mishap at one of their first shows and how their sound is paving the way for a whole new scene in music: one that includes drinks by the beach and looming terror all at once. This will be their first Summercamp and I’m hoping to meet up with Stu, Ross, and Quinn to get them some Grassroots merch and talk about their weekend while they’re there!


Why would you make an ideal Summer Camp Counselor?

Emma: I would make an ideal Summer Camp Counselor because just like your “ordinary” summer camp counselor, I’m here to help others have the best time possible. I always provide my friends with an essentials camping list, and bring extra flashlights, socks, etc in case they forget. I’ll always be that person with a full water bottle and snacks to share for those who are having a little too much fun. I genuinely just want other people to have a good time. I think veterans and newbies alike can agree that sometimes we’re hit with a curveball (or massive amounts of rain!). In times like those we should be able to turn to each other for assistance and a smile. I will always be there for my fellow s’campers and this year I would like to do that on a larger scale.

Niki: I’m a lover of all things Scamp. Flashback to Summer Camp 2017: it’s Friday, it had just rained cats and dogs, and left my car in the muddy lot. I’m barefoot, as I enjoy being, but this time because the mud literally swallowed my sandals. I’m literally by myself, just a schedule, phone, and flashlight. From that moment on, I lived my best weekend, seeing every show I set out to see, unhindered by contradicting musical tastes, indecision, or substances. Every neighbor became a friend; every night, an adventure! It was the most connected I ever felt with myself, and it was because I was there for music. With a passion for music as diverse as the lineup, and an even bigger desire to make an impact, I am beyond ready to dive in, show my Scamp-love, and spread it, baby! From my experience writing blog posts and product descriptions, to sponsoring promotional content for an art-based hat and apparel brand, I feel appropriately connected and qualified to play a larger role in my favorite music festival. I am a friendly-face in the scene from working at the Grassroots storefront and booth and taking photos at the biggest Chicago shows. I am a familiar voice in writing over socials, newsletters, blogs, and now Twitch stream. The quality of my content and technical skills have improved over the last year: I’ve learned how to make videos, broadcast online, and design highly-relevant and engaging media. Having attended Summer Camp both on my own and with groups of friends, I understand the importance of pacing oneself and participating in all activities the festival has to offer: Field Day, The Treasure Hunt, Workshops, Drives, Educational booths, etc.. I am ready to be the leader who rallies the troops at Sunrise and lights the night after sunset, guiding first-years to the best sets of their lives and connecting with the seasoned veterans who can definitely teach me a thing or two about Summer Camps-past.


What elements of Summer Camp, festival culture, and the music scene would you focus on covering as a Summer Camp Counselor?

Emma: I think the most underrated element of the music scene, festival culture and specifically Summer Camp would be the amount that is given back to the community, so I would like to focus on that. Summer Camp was my very first camping festival and I went through participating in the volunteer program. I was placed on the Green Team and learned so much that weekend about waste management on a festival scale. I saw how it was sorted and learned about the initiatives set in place to make S’Camp’s environmental footprint smaller. That really stayed with me, as I began to discover and connect with artists’ foundations as well. I think festival culture and the music scene in general create a vast and genuine community across the world. As humans we like to feel good about the communities we belong to. Music, arts, and self-expression have an obvious role within our communities. Yet, there’s very little recognition for the ways we positively impact our own community and the communities we inhabit for a weekend of the year. I would choose to focus on volunteer teams and those that manage them, Conscious Alliance and the Summer Camp Community Contribution fund, as well as other artists’ foundations.

Niki: The number one element I aim to share? All musical magic that happens over Memorial Day weekend in Chillicothe. I love Umphrey’s McGee and some smaller, Midwest bands, but I am definitely more rehearsed in current EDM DJs/producers which makes me uniquely prepared to comment on the live, electronic scene and diverse artists at Scamp.

Fashion and art are more recent passions I explore at festivals. My fashion coverage started by taking pictures of attendees in Grassroots merch, but now encompasses all rave wear, costumes, and thoughtful looks. I love to capture the wild beauty in festival fashion and the freedom and happiness from those sporting something special. My blogs feature artists of interest, packing guides, keys to successful festing, and how to maximize ones experience at Scamp. I want to serve as a guide for first-time Scampers but also teach the old dogs new tricks. Drawing on all my festival experience and connecting with the leaders in the industry, I’m ready to cover the biggest, the best, and all things Scamp!