Summer Camp Reinvigorates Itself With Solshine Reverie

2023 05 28 001226 vip 4 8423 taragracerfoto
Photo courtesy of Summer Camp/Solshine

There’s no secret that COVID-19 caused severe damage to the music industry. While now, four years out, the broader part of the music industry is in the midst of a new “Golden Age,” smaller festivals and tertiary markets continue to feel the ramifications of those lockdowns. Ian Goldberg, who promoted Summer Camp and now Solshine Reverie, says he needed to get creative in order to stay afloat.

This year, Summer Camp will not be returning. Instead, the festival is presenting a new experience for fans: Solshine. The festival presents a new experience for fans, with a smaller event that allows Goldberg to stay afloat. The new event takes place May 24-26 at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois.

“Solshine emerged as a response to what I would consider a post-pandemic change in the marketplace for us as festival producers,” Goldberg says. “The impetus came from the fact that, pre-pandemic, we had been on a growth spurt and continuously adding different areas to make Summer Camp what it was, part of which expanded to have multiple stages. We had a lineup with more than 180 artists that as functional pre-pandemic, but once everything changed and we came out of COVID with the supply chain issues overriding, labor, equipment shortages, driver shortages – it made it really difficult to produce a festival at the scale of Summer Camp. Especially in a smaller tertiary market like Peoria, Illinois, where you don’t have all the resources immediately at your fingertips.”

Goldberg felt a rebrand was best in order to avoid fan disappointment for returning to a festival that appeared smaller than it had been in previous editions. Solshine features fewer stages, fewer artists and less staff, but still guarantees an experience fans won’t want to miss.

“I didn’t love the idea of having to present what I call negative messaging throughout the year, reminding people, ‘Hey, we cut this out.’ Or, ‘hey, we’re not doing this. Hey, there’s going to be fewer artists.’ And continuously having to say that. It dawned on me that instead of trying to reorganize what Summer Camp had become, we could start fresh and present a new brand.”

This year’s festival features performances from Goose, John Summit, The String Cheese Incident, The Disco Biscuits, Moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Big Gigantic, deadmau5, Slander and more.

Goldberg says his biggest challenge with presenting Solshine has been to inform fans of the new event, and measure they feel comfortable that the essence of Summer Camp will remain while providing them with a different experience.

“The biggest way is laid out in the lineup,” Goldberg says. “It was funny, as we released the lineup knowing people still had questions and were seeking information about what the festival was going to be all about under this new branding, the lineup was going to be the biggest sign of that. And, once we posted it, the response was tremendous and, from my perspective, perfect. Everyone was saying, ‘Oh, it’s just Summer Camp with a new name.’ Which is what I was going for.”

The festival recently announced Phase 2 of its lineup, featuring performances by A Hundred Drums, LP Giobbi and more.