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New Webster’s Definition of “Summer Camp” – A place that eager, overworked parents send their children for a week so they can be left alone to get laid and drunk ad nausem without interruption. Sound right? Strangely enough, many kids look forward to it for exactly the same reason. Isn’t it ironic?
Anywho, in its inaugural year, Campfire Outdoor Adventure & Music Festival, presented by Zippo, pulled no punches to curate a spectacular lineup of talent and activities for their patrons. All music festivals offer music (duh), but the beauty of the festival environment is to get patrons interacting with their environment, the concept, and (of course) each other, in a harmonious balance of entertainment and engagement. It’s not easy, and with the barrage of festivals entering the marketplace every year, there is an abundance of competition for our hard earned dollar.
To give you an idea of just how much work and heart go into putting on a festival of this magnitude (and for the first time to boot), I got in touch with Campfire promoter Ricky Ginsburg via email to talk about the lineup, location selection, and a few of the more difficult logistics necessary to make something like this happen. Consider it a free crash course on bringing happiness to thousands of music fans everywhere.
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G- Hi Ricky and thank you for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today! Campfire looks to have a banner inaugural year in 2014, and this was definitely put together by folks who know what they’re doing… How did you get involved in music, and tell us a bit about your personal background in the music industry.
R- I have been producing shows and events since I graduated high school 20 years ago. I dropped out of college, started a band and started booking shows for the group, then gradually began working on larger projects. Eventually the band broke up, but I kept working in the industry. I currently work as an independent contractor on many festivals a year including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Boston Calling and several others.
G- While camping at festivals certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, throwing a festival at a camp is something I can’t recall seeing before. What was your idea behind the festival, and how did you come up with it?
R- I was approached by Steve Kops a few years ago to take a look at the camp and see if we could make his dream of having a festival there a reality. He always described the calming feeling of leaving the city and driving to camp every weekend to see his wife and kids (his wife works at the camp and his kids attend) and how scenic and relaxing it is there. We both agreed that the camp has so much to offer that many other festivals simply don’t- The beach and lake, rock climbing, scenic camping that’s a minutes walk to the concert field.
It’s really a no-brainer, we’re so excited to bring people back to camp! We hope that in years to come the camp will be as big of a draw as the lineup.
G- Sounds like a great getaway from the hustle-bustle of the city for sure!
So, with all the festivals going on these days, what makes Campfire unique compared to all the others offered annually?
R- It’s really simple, the camp! While we are so proud of our musical lineup and can’t wait to have all the amazing artists perform on our stage, it’s really the camp that’s the star. Having access to all of our activities, the pristine camping grounds or air-conditioned cabins, as well as the lake, pools and movie theaters just doesn’t happen at other festivals. And all of the music and activities are within a five-minute walk in any direction… There’s no hiking a mile to get from your campsite to the main stage. The list of what we have to offer goes on and on.
The other major point to consider is that we have a world class team producing the event and providing second to none hospitality. Our team is comprised of seasoned professionals who work on the largest festivals in the world and know exactly how to bring the highest level of detail to an intimate event like Campfire Festival.
G- I can dig it!
While the idea for something of this magnitude can happen overnight, putting it all together certainly does not happen quickly. How long did you plan for it before making it happen?
R- Steve and I have been working on this for a few years, but things really picked up this fall once we brought our marketing genius, Alison D’Arrigo, on board. There were a few other folks that really helped accelerate the process too. We’re really lucky to have such talented people working on this festival.
G- And how long did it take you to curate such an awesome lineup of talent?
R- We spent about three months with our head of music programming, Ian Imhoff, crafting the line-up. It was a group effort, but Ian definitely led the process. He has amazing taste and great connections, having worked with The Lumineers for a few years.
G- And how difficult was it to secure the camp for the festival?
R- The location picked us! Steve attended the camp as a kid, his wife works at the camp and his 5 kids attend the camp.
G- A match made in heaven!
So, with all the work put in, and all the hours spent making sure the festival goes off without a hitch, you’re definitely going to reap the rewards and feel a great sense of accomplishment with the undertaking. That being said, what are you most excited for with the festival?
R- The opportunity to see thousands of folks get back to their summer camp roots, explore the awesome grounds, and listen to amazing musicians perform in an intimate setting.
G- Makes perfect sense.
And, though it’s only the first year, is Campfire something you hope to expand to different markets and areas if it proves successful?
R- Potentially, but we are laser focused on making year one a success right now. And bringing laser tag to the people…
G- Right on… Slow and steady wins the race.
And of course, what artist are you most excited to see during the festival?
R- Keytar Bear! Honestly, I love all of the acts performing and I will be happy if I get a chance to see any of them. The role of Festival Producer is a pretty all-consuming role on site, so I doubt I’ll have much downtime. But if I do, Keytar Bear for sure!