Dance 'til dawn
Tents and vehicles are scattered across the lawn. People of all descriptions are exploring the property, laughing with their friends and enjoying the sunshine. And a constant, dominating beat resonates over the farm. Adventure Camp Music Festival has arrived.
The first annual Adventure Camp was held in Decorah over the weekend of Friday, Sept. 14. Running for two days and two full nights, the festival featured various artists from all across the tri-state area. Decorah native Kyle Sorenson, also known by his stage name DJ Smiley, organized the event.
“I’ve wanted to throw a festival for about three years now,” Sorenson said. “I went down to 515 Alive [electronic music festival] in Des Moines this year and played at that … I got about 10 people booked that day, so I had a really good start on the artist line-up, and things just kind of fell into place after that.”
In addition to the two primary stages, Adventure Camp offered other forms of entertainment, such as a bouncy castle, face painting, merchandise, food vendors and an unadvertised third stage at the end of a prairie trail.
“There’s a definite festival feeling,” Ryan Castelaz (‘15) said. “It’s not just a concert.”
Chase the Adventure, a licensed hunt and gun club, hosted the festival. Their property is located just south of the Decorah city limits, where Sorenson noted that the lack of noise ordinance was a blessing for the festival.
“Once you’re out in the country, it’s mainly making sure things are okay with your neighbors,” Sorenson said. “At [the gun club], they are used to rifle and handgun shots all day. A little bit of music is a break from the norm for them.”
Aside from the music, Adventure Camp was designed as a camp-out. Most people camped both nights, since the majority of the crowd was from outside of Decorah. Chase the Adventure’s farm offered an abundance of open space for tents and bonfires.
“The camping is awesome,” Anders Hopkins (‘16) said. “I’ve been to festivals before, but they’ve only been big ones in the city where people come for the day and leave.”
Many people suspected that the festival would only feature electronic and dubstep music, but Sorenson booked several non-electronic artists and bands, including Luther alumni band General B & The Wiz. The five-piece rock band was excited about the opportunity to perform in Decorah again.
“It’s where we started the band,” Seth Duin (‘12) said. “It feels like coming home.”
Luther was represented through electronic music as well. Rahul Patle (‘14) played a set at the main stage under his stage name Mahol.
“Everyone is into the music,” Patle said. “There is a connection between the sound and the crowd. It is a privilege to perform.”
The first of its kind in the region, Adventure Camp was a tremendous undertaking, and Sorenson credited its success to the people of Decorah and the help he received while organizing the event.
“You can’t have a festival like this without support from a community,” Sorenson said. “You really do need people with their own specialized skill-sets when it comes to putting something like this on. One person can’t do everything.”
Sorenson is hopeful that Adventure Camp will become an annual tradition for Decorah. He has already investigated renting a bigger plot of land if he feels that the festival can expand.
“We’re hoping to do it again next year,” Sorenson said. “Mark your calendars for Adventure Camp 2013.”