May 24, 2012
Since 2001, the unofficial kickoff of the summer concert season in the Chicago area has been the Summer Camp Music Festival at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Ill. In each of those 11 years, including this weekend, the headliner has been moe., a band from upstate New York that doesn't discriminate against any musical genre.
Though its profile isn't quite on the same level as jam-band contemporaries such as Phish and the Dave Matthews Band, who started about the same time in the late '80s, moe. has nonetheless forged an estimable do-it-yourself career, a self-managed, self-produced one-band music industry that has released 10 studio albums in two decades, most of them on the quintet's own Fatboy label, and forged a loyal and growing following on the touring circuit. Summer Camp became their Midwestern getaway after they came through Chillicothe in 2000 as part of a package tour.
"We just fell in love with the place -- it's not a traditional concert venue, but it's a great place that's both in the middle of nowhere but also in the middle of everything at the same time," says moe. singer-guitarist-keyboardist Al Schnier with a laugh. "It's like a scene from 'The Little Rascals': 'Let's clear out the old barn and put on a show!'"
Noon Friday-Sunday at Three Sisters Park, 17189 N. State Route 29, Chillicothe, Ill.; $65 (Sunday only single-day tickets available) and $200 (three-day pass); summercampfestival.com