Camp Barefoot 8

Bartow, WV, Aug 21-24, 2014

written by Elise Olmstead

photos by Roger Gupta

While all festivals have their purpose, vibe, and musical flavor, some are more important to our music scene than others.  Camp Barefoot, being nestled in my home state of West Virginia, featuring some of our favorite bands and upcoming musical talent, and hosting all of my best friends, speaks to the heart of our current Mid-Atlantic music climate and Jamwich team’s personal lives. Bouncing from festival to festival, we get to see clusters of our friends here and there throughout the summer.  Rarely do I get the opportunity to spend time with such a complete collection of buddies as I do at Camp Barefoot.  Surrounded by family at my camp, I exclaim “It’s a best friend party!” and throw my hands in the air for joy.  The feeling of friendship and family runs deep and it is undeniably the can’t-miss festival of the season. 80929048_TJB3576 The lineup was just one of the aspects making Camp Barefoot a strong contender on today’s market, bringing big acts like funk monsters Lettuce, visually stunning Beats Antique, and jamtronica darlings Papadosio.  Besides the main acts, there are also plenty of smaller and local bands that demand attention, such as The Hornitz, ELM, Threesound, Moogatu, People’s Blues of Richmond, and Freedom Enterprise.  A strong Virginia and Baltimore band presence is perfectly showcased among National acts. With genres ranging from jam, bluegrass, funk, jamtronica, reggae, and more, there is a little bit of something for everyone.  My favorite part about a diverse lineup is that you never get tired of a particular sound or style, and you are constantly excited to see what’s coming next. We arrived Wednesday night and set up a vendor booth next to the medic tent, Bear Care, who consisted of friends of ours from Mad Tea Party and other festivals.  Andy Cox’s photo booth was set up down the way and we were sure to take silly pictures with our friends before the weekend was over.  An array of craft vendors flanked the lane up the hill to the ENO stage, with a perfect pit stop at Bryan Bailey and the Kirby’s personal art gallery in the middle.  The ENO stage (formerly the Cary Street Cafe stage), got a huge upgrade this year in size and production which was well-received by the crowd who got to witness the huge sounds of Moon Hooch, Tauk, Greenhouse Lounge, and Deltanine, amongst other stellar artists. 69642736_TJB2620 Thursday’s heavy hitters included the blues rock band People’s Blues of Richmond, who recently won the Rockin’ to Lockn’ contest and is making heavy moves with their music including playing SXSW and nationally touring.  We got a triple dose of middle eastern musical virtuosos Consider the Source, being blown away by John Ferrara’s bass solo at the Wednesday night pre-party, getting weird at Thursday night’s electrifying set, and witnessing their versatility at the Saturday afternoon acoustic set.  Pigeons Playing Ping Pong also played multiple sets that weekend and made my night Thursday night by covering Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.” Heavy Pets, who recently released “Rags and Aces,” the 2nd installment of their EP series, made me swoon with their lyrical grooves like “Movie Star” and “Last Babies.” Papadosio was the main headliner of the evening and I had been anticipating their two sets all day.  I was floating on a cloud of bliss as they played some of my favorite songs including “Right Now” and “Hippie Babysitter” for their first set, then the bouncy “Stick Figure” and lyrically touching “All I Knew” during the second set.  “I have such googly eyes right now,” I said, feeling as if my heart would explode. Papadosio’s Setlist (provided by David Terkel) Set 1: Intro> Madre> Sam C jam> Right Now The Elephant Hippie> We are Water Set 2: Stick Figure> Bionic Man XL> Method Improv> All I Knew Encore: Paradigm Shift 1123486_TJB4119 Friday my pace was a little bit slower and I hung back with my friends at The Brewstel tent, talking about new brews and the perfect bubble solution formula.  I saw Passafire live for the first time and was thrilled to hear some of my favorite songs by them, like the romantic “Kiss My Head” and beach-y “Rude Boi.”  American Babies soothes me with their jam deliciousness just in time to switch the script for a full on funk fest from 7:45 PM to 11:30, beginning with Kung Fu and then Kyle Hollingsworth with The Motet horns. 1496726_TJB3082 We steal away to the ENO stage for Moon Hooch, which has broken out into an intense dance party filled with the primal noises of their saxophones making their signature “cave music.” I’m wide-eyed and messy haired from the contrabass shaking me from head to toe. We make it back to the main stage (the Glass Flo Art stage) in time to see the night lit up with beautiful LED hoops, dancing along to the sitar-infused electronic tunes of Beats Antique. The Motet closes up the main stage area for the night, making me shake for joy and get up and dance to a Jamiroqui cover of “Just Dance.”  The real treat of the evening was watching Greenhouse Lounge, who impressed me with their experimental, face-melting jam-tronica. Saturday Dale and the Z Dubs gets the party started with their fun-loving reggae music at the main stage, but the surprise set of the whole weekend came at The Hot Spot woods stage, when jam powerhouse Moogatu was joined in by members of Consider the Source and Jon Brady of ELM.”Nothing Too Fancy” is one of the most dynamic and difficult covers a band could play, and no one does it as well as Moogatu. Check out the video here: The Hornitz brought the booty-poppin’ beats and old school rap covers like “Insane in the Membrane” as well as an impressive display of beat boxing skills by Friendship, who sang and beat boxed the Phish song “Lengthwise” at the same.  Another beat boxing, looping artist Zach Deputy takes the Glass Flo Stage at 7PM, and we are all crowding around for the Camp Barefoot staple.  Zach never neglects to “Put it in the Boogie” and even plays a song that I fell in love with at CB6, “Sharkies on Bath Salts.” As if we didn’t get enough dancing in, the horns of Lettuce ring clear as day, launching me into the present and onto my feet.  Their song “Blast Off” from the album Rage! always gets me going and reminds me why I love this band so much.  As is CB tradition, our friends Kenny and Mariah brought tons of glow sticks to make a sign on the ground.  We spelled out “Jamwich <3 CB8” and watched our friends dance and glide jubilantly over it.  A hope lantern is let off and everyone pulls out their lasers to make it glow like a UFO.  The creative collaborations are everywhere and I’m feeling inspired by the camaraderie.  We dress in silly costumes and inflatable props for a photo then make up stupid dances during Dopapod, who makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world by playing “Trapper Keeper” and “French Bowling.” 3574134_TJB3628 We push ourselves to the morning hours, sitting with friends and conversating about the beauty in the world, and our hopes for the loved ones around us.  We know that the weekend is coming to an end and we try to keep it going as long as possible.  As I make the walk in the pearl grey morning, through the dewey grass to finally duck into the dark of our shady tent, I realize that I make this familiar trek every year at this same hour, and it always feels so damn bittersweet.  I’m a little bit chilly, but my heart is warm, as though the energy from so many friends surrounding me has wrapped me in a cozy sweater. Camp Barefoot continues to have the perfect conglomeration of music and mountains, friends and fun, weird and wacky, silly and serene.  I would not be the same without it, as I’m sure so many others can say.  Thank you for another wild and wonderful year, I will keep it with me always.