Since the festival’s inception, raising awareness around social issues and providing opportunities for the SCMF fan base to make an impact has been an ongoing focus. Initiated as the Make a Difference program, the offered content and programming has grown exponentially and was recently rebranded into the Soulshine Experience.
The Soulshine Stage inside the Soulshine Tent initiated in 2008 is the hub of the Soulshine Experience, a festival of it’s own delight and activity inside Summer Camp Music Festival! Check out the following links that capture our collective efforts and peruse the overview and history to catch a glimpse of our dedication towards a brighter world.
OVERVIEW & HISTORY
Summer Camp is proud to incorporate sustainability measures into the event and is always striving to find new opportunities for impact. Over the years the festival has worked with a number of partners to create a lighter environmental footprint, support Illinois businesses, and divert our waste stream. Summer Camp worked with Caterpillar engineers to approve B20 (a mix of 20% biodiesel) for the generators which had previously only been approved for B5 (5% biodiesel), leveraging a higher proportion of biodiesel for event generator use around the country! The Charity and Greening Fee on every ticket purchased is used to support a grant program for local community groups and charities, as well as to support initiatives to limit the environmental impact of the festival.
Since 2008 Summer Camp’s Soulshine Tent brings the daily dose of loving goodness to empower, inspire, and educate patrons with the tools for a sustainable world. Over the years we have offered a series of hands-on and interactive workshops throughout the festival to show the many ways we can all make a difference. The Soulshine Tent is packed with alternative perspectives on a wide range of issues and intriguing demonstrations. Over the years Soulshine has hosted everything from instrument making to biodiesel manufacturing, and human powered energy to artistic DIY techniques, various body movement lessons and daily yoga.
SOULPATCH is Summer Camp Music Festival’s long-term garden space dedicated to natural building, permaculture and urban gardening education. SOULPATCH, initiated in 2016, is an interactive garden space demonstrating a variety of growing methods and natural building techniques – throughout the weekend, there are experts on hand ready to answer any questions and help patrons plan their garden space back home. 2021 marks the 7th year of gardening education at Summer Camp. The development of the SOULPATCH has grown over time and is transitioning to provide workshops throughout the year. You can view the SOULPATCH web page here.
Celebrate Your Cause!
Since 2001 Summer Campers have been learning about organizations they can participate in at the Nonprofit Row. In 20 years this initiative has stimulated countless conversations and ample action as we have hosted over 50 organizations, many of which come back year after year. Throughout the years we have hosted a space for petitions, social causes, environmental efforts and conscious conversations that bring more awareness and care to our world where it needs it most. We have found that interactive engaging demonstrations are exactly what fans appreciate as they take a break from the music.
One of the various ways our Nonprofit Row partner organizations help us reach our festival attendees is through our Donation Drives. Music festivals are a crossroads of energy, if we all do our part and donate a little, it adds up to a lot! Since 2009 we have leveraged an incredible social impact in the following ways:
• Over 20,000 Pounds of Food : Conscious Alliance
• More than 1,000 registered voters : Head Count
• Over 500 donated hygiene Packs : Yodiladies
• More than 48,000 cigarette butts : Sustainable Concepts Green Team
• Over 3,500 pounds of reuseable good : Habitat for Humanity
• More than 475 School Supply items : various public schools
• Also including other various drives of books, seeds and clothing
Soulshine Live Art Gallery
The Soulshine Live Art Gallery is an exhibition of distinctive visual artists, builders and creators aimed at providing high quality, unique art for display and for sale, while creating a live visual experience. The Live Art Gallery, initiated in 2010 is located on either side of the Soulshine Stage and as the day moves into night, you can find the artists painting live to some of your favorite bands at various stages throughout the festival. 2015 saw the introduction of the Live Art Gallery Silent Auction, participating artists offer works for auction and the proceeds go to a Nonprofit Row organization of choice by the winning bidder, just another way we make a difference!
Green Team and Sorting Center
Summer Camp is proud to be a sustainable festival. We’re taking the necessary steps to reduce our carbon footprint by reusing, recycling, and reducing our festival waste. Each year at Summer Camp, “Green Team” volunteers help to collect and hand sort the festival’s waste into 3 groups: recyclables, compostables, and landfill items. The Summer Camp Green Team works tirelessly throughout the event to ensure that the grounds stay clean and that all festival attendees are educated about recycling and composting programs at the park.
The festival has been composting since 2008 when we transitioned all food vendors to compostable products provided by World Centric Compostables. We also work with our partners Zero Waste Event Productions (ZWEP) to consolidate usable goods left behind at the event and donate them to local charities where they find a caring home and an extended useful life!
SOULounge and Soulfield
Since 2007 Summer Camp has been hosting workshops, a precursor to even the Soulshine Tent! Over the years the opposite corner of the tent from the Soulshine Stage has been morphing over time and was eventually dubbed the SOULounge; a comfortable space with indoor and outdoor garden seating that spins out a hodgepodge of creative mental mind bending stimulation and heart centered community driven discussions. Over time, we have won fans over with everything from finger painting to bicycles that create electricity! Worthy of note, the workshop applications that drift in these days tell tales of SCampers who attended workshops for years, which helped them to find their passion and direction in life. Now these same SCampers offer workshops, recanting all the ways they were impacted by Summer Camp Music Festival. Every year the space between the Soulshine Tent, the Nonprofit Row and SOULPATCH called Soulfield offers a fun variety of entertainment and education.
Every music festival needs a vibe squad! Since 2011 we have hosted the Soulshine Ambassadors who roam the grounds in search of community. The Ambassadors are the eyes and ears of the Soulshine Experience, offering Soulshine Raffle (originally the Go Green Raffle) tickets to patrons who make sustainability minded decisions and/or who are witnessed showing love and compassion to other SCAMPERS. The Soulshine Ambassadors are the bridge between the festival and fans; rewarding positive behavior and answering questions about the many facets of sustainability at the festival or engaging them on issues of interest and offering opportunities for participatory inclusion. Conveniently based out of the SOULounge, they support the workshops and also hold down the Scavenger Hunt table, amping up involvement.
Soulshine Experience Scavenger Hunt
For 10 years we have offered the Scavenger Hunt as a pathway for participation! The board, positioned on the back of the program every year, encourages patrons to act on our many chances to make a difference. By participating in any 3 of the 9-12 categories that rotate every year (including yoga, workshops, SOULPATCH, Donation Drives, engaging with Nonprofit Row, etc.), festival goers gain entrance to the Everyone Orchestra show in the Red Barn every year on Sunday afternoon. It is the climax of the Soulshine Experience programming throughout the festival weekend and where the Soulshine Live Art Gallery silent auction concludes. All the organizations from Nonprofit Row and volunteers are also welcome to attend!
Soulshine Celebration Concert with Everyone Orchestra
Every Sunday the program’s weekend content concludes with the Everyone Orchestra conducted by Matt Butler featuring a multitude of Summer Camp All Stars. To participate, Scampers simply complete the Scavenger Hunt to secure entry. This very special event is also open to all volunteers and staff for the Soulshine Experience, and we have more than a decade of celebrating with the EO at the Red Barn!
Everyone Orchestra conductor/founder Matt Butler takes participants, both on stage and off, on improvisational journeys with the most diverse of all-star musician lineups at festivals, theaters and philanthropic events across the globe. Not only a laundry list of hundreds of musicians, but also dancers, singers, guest conductors and community organizations have embraced the experience of EO as musical adrenaline to the soul. Matt has recruited players from Phish, Dead & Company, Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers, Furthur, Gov’t Mule, String Cheese, Ween, Umphrey’s McGee, The Meters, The Disco Biscuits, Yonder Mountain String Band, Galactic, and many, many more. Tuning in to his energy as The Conductor, the band and audience set the mood of each passing jam as he communicates with the musicians using hand signs, whiteboard and assorted mime suggestions.
Experience is a tenet of life. We strive to develop mentorship opportunities and offer valuable life lessons that support personal growth. Over the years, the Soulshine Experience has provided many internship and leadership roles for individuals forging their path in life. Perhaps the most notable program in the festivals’ history that provides life building experience is our Volunteer program. The catalogue of post-event comments and feedback is long, by volunteering and supporting the event’s production, participants gain incredible life experience and perspective. Cumulatively, through our three volunteer opportunities, in 20 years we have worked with 3,800+ volunteers through our various programs. Just one of the many ways we make a difference!