Solshine Reverie In Review | Chillicothe, IL | 5/23-26 2024

Article Contributed by June Reedy | Published on Sunday, June 9, 2024

Still firmly rooted at Three Sisters Park over Memorial Day weekend, Solshine Reverie navigated the rebranding challenge to meet the expectations of Scampers. The times they are a changin’. 2024 was rain or SolShine and with a little help from Mother Nature, Solshine was able to minimize rain delays but still lost a few headliners along the way. The rebranded Solshine Reverie got a taste of what Summer Camp has known for years in record time. Let’s get into it…

abandoned Sunshine Stage

The festival grounds offered a blend of old and new with some major subtractions. There was no more Sunshine or Starshine Stage. Everything was condensed to the woods, while Moonshine was still the main stage for Solshine Reverie. Soul Patch remained but there was no longer a Soulshine hub for live arts & performances under a tent. That tent was now the Climbing Kites VIP Lounge that cost extra. The entrance was still the same, pavement for carting all your wagons and gear from the red barn into the festival grounds but the first thing noticed was the Campfire Stage is not there at the entrance. No more massive campfire. The stage named Campfire was actually off near vendors' row past the woods with a tiny metal gated maybe 5-foot fire. The stage was an upgrade and it did fit nicely into its spot. Gonna take some getting used to the changes.

Kenny's Westside Stage | Photo by Russ Boxer

New for this year was the fantastic Kenny’s Westside Stage, running full steam out the gate with 10 bands at the Thursday pre-party. The Thursday party also cost extra to attend. The late-night Red Barn shows still happened, costing $20 extra to attend. One of the best features of this festival in any iteration is the local talent and the exposure for these bands. You will always walk away from this festival with a new band discovery, Kenny’s Westside stage seemed to take full responsibility for that this year. 

Directly kiddie corner from Kenny’s Westside was the Illumination stage. Returning from Scamp, this stage features EDM, something Summer Camp struggled to properly house for a long time. Big props to the sound designers for all stages. If there were going to be bleed in sound, it would have been Kenny’s Westside and Illumination but there were zero issues regarding sound and proximities.  

Illumination Stage | Photo by Russ Boxer

Having been at the very first Summer Camp in 2001, I found the entire layout to be very refreshing and reminiscent of where it all began. That being said, the new addition of Sol Care was fantastic and it’s evident where they want this festival to go. Community based. Gathering. Connection. However, the Soul Patch, Sol Care, and Movement areas were too disjointed to make that connection. Perhaps they could have focused on what was going well - renew, refresh, revive what had honestly become, too big of a shit show to maintain.

Memorable moments were everywhere and the smaller size just cemented the old connections into new connections. Thursday preparty opened at noon and there were plenty of Reverie residents camped in line to be the first through the gates, definitely not as many as last year but there is still love here. There is lots of room to grow. Uncle Randy wasn’t at the gate come Thursday but he did arrive in style on Sunday. The gang all came around and there were fresh new faces to supplement to regulars. (Although, if you’re reading this… Nothing can replace the Regulars! Missed you this year) 

Just a Unicorn and her camping gear awaiting entry to Solshine Reverie

Old Shoe, hosts to another favorite festival, Shoe Fest (Labor Day weekend in Manteno, IL) got moved from their previous Sunday wake n bake slot to the Thursday Pre-Party. I'm not sure how to read that because the fact that it cost extra to see our local heroes was a little disarming. Nonetheless, catching them at sunset is always a joy. When you travel outside of Chicago, central Illinois live music supporters will always find a few more bucks to support their musical friends.

String Cheese Incident finally performs on the Moonshine Stage | Photo by Doug Fondriest

The fresh feelings of Solshine Reverie were not only in the new layout & design but also in the music. String Cheese Incident has been here before masquerading as Kyle Hollingsworth Band, EOTO, or various different side projects but for the very first time in its entirety, we got the full String Cheese Incident! Traditionally, this weekend is glued together by moe. It was absolutely endearing to see the music community come together and rally support for the moe. guys. No word on exactly why but in the week leading up to Solshine Reverie, moe. Canceled their appearance unexpectedly.

Umphrey's McGee | Solshine Reverie | Photo by Russ Boxer

That left it up to Umphreys McGee to really step up and bridge the gap from Summer Camp to Solshine Reverie. As the great hosts they are, they brought along some friends, and the music factor was well taken care of. Manic Focus took us through Thursday night to Friday early morning. Carrie Sue & the Wood Burners opened up Friday at 11 on Kenny’s Westside stage. Haven’t heard of them? That’s just another well-kept secret. It did seem like a lack of female performers but it’s always been a boys club here. After Wenny’s Westside stage had produced 10 acts the days before, they found some room to give the girls a spot to shine on Friday morning and again Saturday night with Stan P Band featuring Katelynn Krieglstein.
Katelynn Krieglstein performing with Stan P Band on Kenny's Westside Stage | Photo by Russ Boxer

Friday was full of confusion surrounding the weather. Some folks reported being told to go to their cars and then security not allowing them back into the festival. String Cheese changed the weather and the moods. The evening continued with STS9 on the Moonshine stage. Illumination stage took the reins as Kenny’s Westside Stage took a little break Friday night until they reopened at 11:30 pm for BUTTA’ without a hitch. 

Friday night String Cheese Incident was included in the price of the ticket. With a minor rain delay and schedule readjustments, they were able to take the stage for one grand hoopla set. You could feel the pulsing energy to throw down the hottest jams and give the fans what they wanted in anticipation of the oncoming rain. Opening with “Colliding” and right into “Bhangra”, the “Black Clouds” parted and there was nothing but sunshine from that point on. The song “Jellyfish” off of Born on the Wrong Planet was finally funkdified at Three Sisters Park. So many years of jellyfish totems and SCI lovers were vindicated in full force.

Keller Williams starting Saturday off | Photo by Russ Boxer

Saturday was sunny and damn near cloudless. Uncomplicated and groovy, all was right in the world when long-time Scamper Keller Williams performed on the Moonshine stage at 3 pm. Nostalgia met new possibilities as Keller did his always innovative thang. He scooted off the mainstage to the Climbing Kites VIP stage for another performance while the general admission folks were treated to Allie & the Night Krals.

Allie & The Night Krals | Photo by Russ Boxer

Allie Kral has formed her own band for the first time ever. She has performed at Summer Camp many times but never in a front-facing position like this. Incredible grooves and a rock-n-roll sound grabbed the audience's attention. A supergroup to the Scampers, this made Solshine Reverie really rock. She doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation! Funny tho, Allie is never naughty! She is more like an angel in the scene. If this is the new direction the crowd rode along on that jet with her. It will be interesting to see this band come up with some band-formed originals and not just songs from other artists or other bands that they play in. Thank you as always to Scott Tipping. All you can say is thank you after he blesses you with his clean guitar sound. Rain was no where in sight, but we were baptized by the Blues. Amen. 

Scott Tipping, Baptizing us in the Blues | Photo by Russ Boxer

It looked like Summer Camp but it felt like Solshine Reverie. We’re solmates n all that. It’s got the fresh vibe, there was no denying that. In this twilight zone of thought, dreams and memories dance in the shadowy corridors of the subconscious, crafting tales of wonder and mystery. The true test of bridging the gap was Saturday night.

Umphrey’s McGee opened up their 3rd set on Saturday with a most memorable “Rebubula” covering the moe. classic.  The camaraderie knows no gender, ethnicity, sexuality, no limits of any kind. That’s the part to keep in your mind up front and ready to disarm whatever complaints may arise. Collaboration and not competition will keep us together. FIND MY WAY BACK TO YOU!

Reverie in Full Swing

The third set was an all-star feature with all the friends. They had Allie Kral up for “Women Wine & Song” reprise with “Nothing Too Fancy.”  Scotty Zwang from Sunsquabi et al sat in for a Steely Dan cover of “Kid Charlemagne.” The yacht was in full motion as one after another, Marc Brownstein, Jeremy Salken, Lespecial’s Rory Dolan kept coming out to join the fun. Eggy drummer Alex Bailey got it humming with Umphrey’s “Much Obliged” into Benny & the Jets, an Elton John cover.

Maddy O'Neal | Photo by Brett Bergen

Maddy O Neal returned to share just that kind of vibe. EDM doesn’t have as much of a problem representing female voices. It’s a balance. The vocal expression of women is undeniable. The frequency ripples out much more from the stage than anywhere else so why would you keep banging the same ol drum? While Solshine Reverie celebrates music and community, it also highlights challenges related to gender representation. Underscoring the lack of women on stage means inclusivity and safety issues. Say what you will, but the ladies on stage certainly draw attention to the stage instead of to the crowd. Thanks for taking one for the team, Maddy O’Neal!

Bad Snacks at Solshine Reverie | Photo by June Jameson

Excited as ever to find new music, Grateful Web had the chance to interview Jesse, aka Bad Snacks before her set on Sunday night.

GW: Do you ever get compared to Lindsey Stirling?

Bad Snacks: It absolutely has happened to me and I’m okay with it. I love what she has done for the violin community. I used to teach little kids violin and so many of them are inspired by Lindsay. She was the reason they came in to take lessons so you can’t be mad at that! In terms of music, we could not be more different.

Originally from the Boston area, relocated to L.A., Jesse performs as Bad Snacks and she is doing a “fair amount” of festivals this summer, at least 1 or 2 each month. Her thing is “Home Music.”

“My time at Berklee was such a cool experience. I would have never imagined myself as a professor at an institution such as that. Truthfully, it’s a place I always wanted to attend. I had applied when I was in high school but I couldn’t afford it. As a result, I didn’t go to college. I just kind of figured it out from there. Taking that path and having it work itself out - my real-life experiences allowed me to be super qualified for an official professor job like that. It was extremely validating. It was cool because the experiences that I had worked really hard for ended up being beneficial. It just wasn’t the right time or place for me. I want to travel, play shows, and do tours. I couldn’t do both at the same time without having potato time. It was putting a part-time job on top of a full-time job. 

GW: What is the difference between house music and your version, Home Music?

Bad Snacks: The short answer is comfortable house music. On a technical level, it can mean more downtempo, chill, groovy… It’s more akin to what I would define as dance music rather than house and all of the subgenres of house music. I think Home Music is really just a gesture towards things that are a bit more chill and lush, more harmonically driven. As a string player, bringing in my violin playing, it gravitates towards a lot of layers. I’m very influenced by jazz. Home Music takes a chill vibe. I wouldn’t say that anything I do is particularly super hype. It can get high energy for sure, but I just really want to create spaces for people to vibe comfortably.

GW: How do you design specifically for introverts?

Bad Snacks: I consider myself a down-the-middle ambivert. When I’m on, I’m on. When I’m off, don’t talk to me. Potato mode is real. Creating for introverts, it’s not just the BPM, it;’s not the physical, it’s creating a space for what your body is doing. In classical music, there is an interesting thing where there is a speed called andante. It means walking speed. It’s an Italian term. The idea that a tempo can inform what you are doing, is the same idea I use when I create spaces for people to vibe in a way that is not particularly strenuous. It’s really about creating a calm environment that isn’t so overwhelming. It’s not mosh pit music. Don't get me wrong, I love me some metal thrashing music, but there is a time and place for that.

I create music that you can have a personal relationship with.

Bad Snacks creates Music for Introverts

GW: Do you ever feel like a girl in this world?

Bad Snacks: That is such an interesting question because I think we’re about to hit… We might bury… This is what I think about gender roles. I would love to see the definitions of gender roles expanded to whatever they want to be. I do feel very feminine in everything I am doing, even when it is things that are typically very masculine. Producing music, working on my signal flow, engineering everything, and talking with techs and front-of-house staff, these things are quintessentially very masculine. My job in terms of femininity is to still identify as feminine. That is where the expansion starts.

Austeria on the Illumination Stage | Photo by Brett Bergen

Bad Snacks playlist
5/26/24 Solshine Reverie

like u do
Low Lights Session 3
Stealth Flow 

GW: Can we look forward to more cool samples?
Bad Snacks: Maybe not from any more presidential candidates especially in an election year. The statement that …anyway is making is purely one of ‘how ridiculous is this?!’ That’s really what it all comes down to.

Death by Disco
alright, ok

With special healing circle vibes going out to host band moe. close to midnight on Sunday of the Inaugural SolShine created the hoop's mending. Bad Snacks went into an unreleased song and we created something new, together, in that space and time. Comfortable vibe unlocked ✅

Eyez on U
like u do - because everyone loves a good reprise! The intro was just ambient and now we got into the jamz.
Nao Era Santinha

Bad Snacks played the Illumination stage starting just before LP Giobbi on the Campfire Stage Sunday night. These two ladies were undiscovered jewels at the fest. I hope to see them in a more mainstage way in the future here at Solshine. Maddy O’Neal, Bad Snacks, and LP Giobbi balanced out Stan P Band, Allie Kral, and Carrie Sue so there were all sorts of female voices represented for their various genres. If these women were on highlighted, perhaps with bigger stages or better slots, I’d be totally satisfied. It felt like even with a smaller lineup, tough choices had to be made, mostly at the sacrifice of catching these wonderful women. How great would a late day time *get the party started* set be with these two? The best.

Goose on the Moonshine Stage | Photo by June Jameson

Goose finished up their first Sunday set on the Moonshine stage. New for 2024 was Goose, very much on purpose. Thursday's Pre-Party included Goose’s side project, Orebolo. Saturday was all about Umprey’s McGee when Goose members Peter Anspach and Rick Mitarotonda sat in with them and Sunday, for many, concluded the festival with Goose.

Should I mention that Deadmau5 was supposed to conclude the weekend but offered no apologies and just didn’t make it? Nah.

Solshine Reverie | Chillicothe, IL | Memorial Day Weekend 2024

Just like SCI racing against the rain to get in a set instead of 2 sets as promised for Friday, “We’re gonna do it!” Playing high-energy music and downtempo comfortable home music, Solshine Reverie plunged forward with so much room to grow. There’s a beautiful bud growing strong where the mighty oak of Summer Camp once was.

It’s a balance. When EDM first came to town, there was a question of how it would flow with the string music and jam bands. We figured out how to do that. Henhouse Prowlers keep the torch burning bright by bringing the music right to the people. If you don’t know what you’re looking for how will you ever find it?

Henhouse Prowlers playing late night Saturday in the woods | Photo by Russ Boxer

Saturday night at 1:30 am, Henhouse Prowlers wandered the woods and played a full unscheduled set for a mighty crowd. If you are familiar with the Prowlers, you’ll know what I mean when I say Sexfist. Those days are gone but the memory lives on forever. They play dirty funky bluegrass, they play international bluegrass. They play traditional, they play spiritual but thank God they play as often as possible.

Elix Smith of Grassfed Collective opening up a spirit filled Sunday

Grassfed Collective | Photo by Russ Boxer

Sunday morning still held that spot for spirit-filled music. The Stan P Band turned into Grassfed Collective. Newly formed and primed to play, Stan P is the man around music. You can find him running lights, playing a mandolin, or playing drums. There’s no telling what he will do next but it is always filled with a ton of heart. He announced to the crowd his love of Jeff Austin, another Scamp veteran, and then performed a song he said was “Inspired by Jeff Austin.” If you’re ever in Oklahoma but it had another element of an original YMSB song. It was actually called “The Valley” and it was idealistic for starting the sentimental Sunday on the last day of the festival. Only a couple covers, this new bluegrass Grassfed Collective played mostly all new original tunes. The set ended with their grassed-up version of the Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling” that left the crowd jumpin'.

Henhouse Prowlers on the Campfire Stage | Photo by Russ Boxer

Henhouse Prowlers came on the Campfire stage shortly after. Did they sleep in their suits? That’s them again! The Bluegrass Ambassadors had maybe 350 people gathered in the field creating the perfect heartfelt finale for the festival. Lizzy was handing out peppermint essential oil to place on your pulse points and keep you cool. Schmitty had his fine silversmith wares out for display. Olivia posed with her posse for photos while melon Steve was being his melon self wearing a half of a watermelon on his head. The community vibes like a family picnic rolled out as the Prowlers covered Phish’s “Possum” and then rolled into “Qipilama,” a Uzbekistan traditional song. They opened with the title track from their album Lead & Iron. That song may get missed on stage, I highly recommend listening to the album. It’s so good in your headphones. All their lyrics are so powerful, then they roll into something light and fun like Possum. That’s why you should go see them live.

Ben Wright of Henhouse Prowlers covering Phish's Possum

Henhouse Prowlers Rail Royalty | Photo by Russ Boxer

This Sunday set was no exception. After “Killing Wheels” they played their accapella “Gospel in Review.” The entire front row was crying, it is just that powerful of a song. “Gospel in Review” will go down in history as the song of our time right now. To dry up the tears, they launched into a fantastic HHP version of “One More Saturday Night” because the good ol Grateful Dead always lifts spirits. There’s no crying when the band plays, man! They closed out their set with a HHP jam, “Oil”
“Let’s turn this whole damn world into oil!”
Pave the Ocean. It’s sarcasm. I hope nobody actually thinks this way, but the world is on fire so there may be some truth to it… Back to Lizzy and her peppermint essential oil.

After Henhouse Prowlers performer their song "Gospel in Review"

The world may be oversaturated and complicated but that’s outside the gates of Three Sisters Park. Inside we sucked the marrow out of the last festival day. Inside the festival gates, Solshine Reverie is seeking out the perfect balance. Somehow, we still have the sweet freedom of music.

Lizzy and her life saving peppermint essential oil

Schmitty showing off his goods | Lock Bolt & Key

I tried handing out strawberry cupcakes to folks waiting in line. I had made a whole batch of them and cut fresh strawberries to decorate them with. I simply had too many and I wanted to share them before they went bad. If that isn’t a state of the world today, nobody accepted my offers. I always feel like a creeper when I take your photos without offering you something in return but nobody wanted what I had to offer.

Is this why the patriarchy still persists? Trust issues. Connecting with people you don’t know is a vibe. It’s a little scary to take the cupcake from a stranger. You never know what could be in that cupcake. I get it. Perhaps I should have taken my cupcakes to Frik Frak Blackjack. I think they would have been stoked to get some drug cupcakes. Even if there were no drugs, just pure fresh fruit. There is a time and place for everything.

Chicago Farmer at the Climbing Kites VIP stage | Photo by June Jameson

With a head full of questions, we took refuge in the Climbing Kites VIP Lounge for a moment to catch Chicago Farmer, the purest of souls. Chicago Farmer grows his music and his audience with the patience of nature. He’s a country boy from Illinois and he has got a fear of flying. But his dad told him there ain’t nothing wrong with getting high. You can’t drink a beer while you’re driving down here and you can’t hit a deer in the sky.

Doom Flamingo | Moonshine Stage | Photo by June Jameson

Doom Flamingo was the fierce female-fronted Moonshine act I craved all weekend. Kanika Moore is the sexiest and best thing going in the music world these days. Umphrey’s Ryan Stasik on guitar backing her up is what Solshine is all about. There is no simple answer when it comes to female representation or rebranding or trying to please the masses. Whether it's scheduling conflicts or the fact that there just are not as many female songwriters/performers remains to be seen. Kanika Moore has several projects and it seems like she is very worthy of mainstage focus. For what was lacking, Kanika Moore more than makes up for it. Sunday had that balance. Sunday was in the groove. We found our pocket.

Kanika Moore | Photo by June Jameson

The final flavor of Solshine Reverie, the lasting morsel, was Goose. The fabled story of Goose playing Summer Camp once before in torrential downpours of rain has come full circle. They were not then, the top-tier band they have become and yet they still managed to garner a massive crowd spilling out from the SoulShine tent into the rain. To have Goose on the Moonshine stage closing out the festival, well... Joyful bubbles exemplified what it meant to Reverie with nostalgic reverence!

Goose | Solshine Reverie | 2024

Goose opened Sunday’s set with “Hot Love and the Lazy Poet.” Went into “Feel It Now” by the end, they treated the crowd to a cover of Prince’s “I Would Die For You.” The set break was scattered but many did not leave the field. Mid second set, Goose’s version of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Oughta My Head” and the crowd lost their minds. They put the final touches on what can only promise to be a long-standing relationship with Memorial Day at Three Sisters Park. Fans of moe. And Umphrey’s are now fans of Goose and forever Moore, we will return to gather for this event. It feels more like a product test review than a music review, but this is the new world I suppose. Big names, big stages, small names and the love we pour into em. It’s formulaic.

Nora Brody, OG Forest Fam 4 Lyfe | Photo by June Jameson

Goose Rail Riders | Solshine Reverie | 2024
The smaller festival size fostered stronger connections among attendees. We will still come to gather. We still have sweet sweet music coming from every corner. How they will continue to foster these relationships will be the question. Did the Peace Parade or Festival March that was new for 2024 really happen? The new idea is to collectively celebrate the spirit that runs through the fest but as a fledgling festival still learning to crawl, was a March all it could be? Can they connect the corners and call forth more positive mojo?

New for 2024: Sol Care at Solshine Reverie

Peace Parade | Photo by Shatter Imagery
All these questions and more will innovate over time. Carving out its new identity, I hope to see more vulnerable art. I hope to see more fatalistic endeavors that cement the bonds between music fans. Will there be gender-neutral bathrooms? Will there be enough bathrooms? There is an app for everything but will word of mouth still rule? Is cash king? Can we keep it local or will there be a demand for bigger acts? 

Solshine Reverie | Memorial Day Weekend 2024 | Photo by Nick Langlois
Will fathers toss their kiddos up on their shoulders and come play in a cornfield for the weekend? Can we interdigitate? Interlock our perspectives to unlock I’m not sure what. I wear these progressive ideals like some sort of armour but I don’t know where the battle is heading. All this talk of bears and men, I’m just trying to heed the heads up. Regroup, regather, like the fingers of both hands. 

Soul Patch | Photo by Nick Langlois

It’s easy to keyboard warrior and say things like “Do Better!” but it’s important to note that they can always do less.
Let’s ride together my boogie buddies! Half the magic is you. Namaste

Until we saddle up again, cheers!

Check out more PHOTOS from the weekend