Old Shoe

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’.

As the moon slid gracefully between the Earth and the sun, the sky transformed into a masterpiece of deep indigo. A transcendental shade, indigo knows and holds the universe's secrets within its depths. The celestial dance summoned the wizard of cosmic wonders, weaving a tapestry of wonder together for all who bravely gazed upon its majesty.

In the early 80s (I know, I’m dating myself), my East Coast friends raved about their local hippie band Max Creek. When I visited my crew in Connecticut in 1984, they took me to my first Creek show. The vibe was Grateful Dead-ish, but Max Creek had their own flavor. It was like trying on a new pair of prewashed jeans in a new color. They weren't the same old jeans, but they were my kind of jeans.


The only hikes I’ve been going on lately are price hikes. Seasonal work has me dealing with feast or famine and unfortunately, the feast is just enough to cover the famine. Then the celestial bodies align and the American dream comes into focus. Believing in your dreams like the constellations in the night sky will lead you back home again on Labor Day weekend to Camp Shaw in Manteno, IL to Shoe Fest.

Whatever you do, don’t go to Shoe Fest. Camp Shaw Waw Nas See is basically forgettable. The string-based bands all play at their own slots with no overlapping music. You’ll hate it.

On the eastern edge of the grand prairie lies Camp-Shaw-Waw-Nas-See, near the Kankakee River State Park, 60 miles south of Chicago. It is the host site for Shoe Fest, a location almost as storied in beauty as Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Ohio.  Labor Day weekend 2022 meant the 10-year anniversary of Shoe Fest at Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See. It is a family-friendly festival in the finest of natural surroundings and its success depends on the work of all the players, including Rock Creek.

Pulling into Summer Camp for my first time I couldn’t help but feel a bit apprehensive. Everything I’ve read or seen on the web says “It’s an amazing fest… as long as it doesn’t rain“ Yet, here I was, pulling up to the gate on Friday morning after 3 solid days of precipitation. Stepping out of my jeep into the parking lot I immediately sunk into the mud up to my ankles and thought to myself “Welp, I guess it’s time to get dirty!” 

Cabin fever is revived and revved up to an 11. This summer is finally showing itself, both societally and weather permitting. Let’s kick it off on Memorial Day weekend and see some music! My app is downloaded, I’ve scribbled down which sets I want to go to, and now comparing notes with friends, I still can’t decide which is my best option. It’s all posted online because it is time for Summer Camp 2022! It’s Sunshine, Moonshine, Soulshine, and Starshine stages to rage your face off.

Let’s look at the creativity and courageousness exposing the truths, the deep meaning underfoot, like bugs after the rain, this past year has been insane. Rearranged and renamed, complaints unrestrained, this is the new normal. I’d wanted to write scripture about Shoe Fest, some sort of article of faith, a declaration of devotion to what made me fall in love with festivals in the first place… Alas, this is my iconoclast blast that shall be touted on Facebook groups across America, the finest in toilet reading material.

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