Weekend Getaway: Campfire Music Festival
As long as the weather cooperates, there is not a bigger or better end of the summer party planned in Pennsylvania than the inaugural Campfire Outdoor Adventure & Music Festival presented by Zippo.
Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 29-31, beautiful Lakewood in northeastern Pennsylvania will transform into a one-of-a-kind summer camp for adults with three nights of live music from more than 30 acts, grilling, swimming and dozens of activities and contests.
Only in its first year, the Campfire Music Festival doesn’t have that one big name band to draw but it has an eclectic mix of up and coming artists — all of which are well worth checking out.
On Friday night, former James Brown impersonator Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires will bring the funk and soul to the campgrounds and serve as the headliners. Another notable act on Friday night is Amy Helm and The Handsome Strangers. Helm is the daughter of former drummer and lead singer of The Band, the late Levon Helm — who she performed for many years with at the legendary Midnight Rambles held at his home and studio in Woodstock, NY (not far from Lakewood).
Saturday features San Diego indie rockers Delta Spirit in the headline slot. You may not be familiar with Delta Spirit, but odds are you’ve heard at least one of their songs as they have been prominently featured on a number of popular television shows like the canceled-way-too-early Friday Night Lights, Sons of Anarchy and Grey’s Anatomy. Another band you definitely will want to check out on Saturday is Hartford roots rock band Bronze Radio Return — especially the catchy “Shake, Shake, Shake” (which you’ll likely recognize from a Nissan commercial).
The last headliner of the weekend is Boston’s favorite indie jazz and soul band Lake Street Dive — who are selling out just about every date that they announce this year. And if you aren’t sold on Lake Street Dive yet, just check out their awesome cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” on a Boston sidewalk. Rolling Stone magazine recently referred to Lake Street Dive as “unexpected showstoppers” — and that may even be an understatement. They also recently were featured on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Some Pennsylvania bands on the festival include Pappy Biondo from Scranton bluegrass/’slamgrass’ band and Abbey Bar regulars Cabinet; Scranton jazz fusion/dance/techno band Rogue Chimp; Philadelphia-based indie rock band The Lawsuits; Philadelphia rockers Toy Soldiers; and two days of jam band music from Sprinter Cat — which includes Harrisburg-native Al Smith on the Hammond organ who I caught up with last year when he was playing drums with the band Cold Fronts.
More than music
And while the bands are surely the highlight of the weekend, everyone loves a good outdoor game — and there are tons planned at Campfire including a corn hole tournament (I’m pretty unbeatable if anyone needs a partner), a Costume Slam Dunk contest (who doesn’t want to see Batman doing a windmill?), a Campfire Photo Scavenger Hunt and even the Campfire 5K (Pretty sure Woodstock never had a 5K). Campers can also relax at the private beach and indoor and outdoor pools when they aren’t canoeing, ziplining, rock climbing, trying their luck on the awesome Campfire wibit obstacle course or playing laser tag, mini golf or beach volleyball. Lastly, they have a full yoga schedule lined up — so maybe that can help cure a hangover from a late night around the fire.
It’s an easy 2-and-a-half hours up Interstate 81 from Harrisburg — trust me, I’ve made the drive thousands of times — and Lakewood is a perfect weekend getaway opportunity for music fans in the mid state and outdoor lovers alike. And if you’re smart, you’ll make a pit-stop in Scranton to try some of our great local beers downtown at the Backyard Ale House; Old Forge for some of their world famous pizza; or even take a little detour off of Route 6 and stop at AJ’s Club Soda in Peckville (home to my weekly team trivia night) for a beer and a bite to eat.
Tickets are available online and come in a variety of packages, some of which include tickets and accommodations in an on-site, fully-equipped cabin. Other affordable stay and play options include RV passes and general and VIP camping options.
Pack your car up with some beer, burgers, tents and s’mores and end your summer the right way with the Campfire Outdoor Adventure & Music Festival presented by Zippo — you definitely will not want to miss the best outdoor party in Pennsylvania this year!
Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be running longer previews of five bands in a “Campfire: 5 Bands to See” feature — but until then head over to the website (or listen to the music player embedded above) and give the bands on the schedule a listen and let me know which ones you want to know more about.