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‘Summer Camp’ music festival returns to Chillicothe for the weekend

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 7:21 PM CDT
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CHILLICOTHE (WEEK) - For the 21st time - with one year missing due to COVID-19 - concertgoers from all different backgrounds have made their way to Chillicothe for this year’s Summer Camp music festival.

Fans describe the festival as four days of music, memories and making new friends.

“It’s literally walking by strangers and shaking their hand. If you need something, you should never be afraid to ask anybody,” said Leigha Jansen, who is attending for her fifth time.

It started in 2001 as a small festival with around 700 attendees. Fast-forward to 2022 - tens of thousands of fans, dozens of bands and plenty of other attractions to match.

“If you go out in the parking lot, you’ll see license plates from every state. They come from all over, right here to this area ... Music always seems to be a common bond,” festival founder Jay Goldberg said.

City leaders say Summer Camp is music to their ears as well - they say it brings in more than seven-times the city’s population and stimulates the local economy - all the way from the dollar shops to the hardware stores.

“Chillicothe is becoming a place to come to now ... They were unbelievable in what they’ve started here in Chillicothe, and I just want to continue it,” Chillicothe mayor Michael Hughes said.

Local police are in charge of the security effort, and after a 2021 festival that saw a total of just six arrests, fans consider the weekend getaway a safe haven.

“This is an ugly world we live in right now, so if you’re in a gated community with folks like this, take advantage. Be grateful,” Jansen said.

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