Creating Euforia and music

BY NICK FETTY | MAY 14, 2009 7:27 AM

Summer is the season of beaches, barbecues, and baseball. It is also the prime time for rock festivals. Between Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza comes Iowa’s own musical gathering: Camp Euforia.

This evening, the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., will host a battle of the bands, with five acts jockeying for a spot on the Camp Euforia bill. The White Tornado Outbreak, Johnny on Point, 5 in a Hand, Slip Silo, and River & the Tributaries are all competing for the opportunity to play the Lone Tree festival, held in July. The battle will begin at 7:20 p.m., and admission is $5.

“The Camp Euforia battle is a little different from other battles hosted here,” Yacht Club owner Scott Kading wrote in an e-mail. “Usually, crowd votes determine the winner here, but for the Camp Euforia battle, that is only a part of the equation. [The judges] also look at the style of music and how well it is played and combine that with how well the band fits in with everything at Camp Euforia.”

Camp Euforia touts itself as “A Celebration of Community and Music.” With last year’s attendance estimated at around 1,400, the festival is much smaller than its peers.

In 2004, Camp Euforia started out as the one-day Euforquestra Fan Appreciation Party, and it has since doubled in duration. The festival is named after local afro-beat/reggae/funk septet Euforquestra, and it takes place at Jerry Hotz’s farm near Lone Tree, roughly 20 miles south of Iowa City. Euforquestra performs at the festival annually, and the group will perform on the main stage both nights this year. Iowa City acts Public Property and the Gglitch are both Camp Euforia regulars, and they have performed every year since the festival’s start.

“It’s good for the local music scene,” Hotz said. “We try to get a few outside bands in, but we really try to cater to a lot of local bands. It’s hard to get all of them, but we do the best we can.”

Although his nearest neighbors are a quarter of a mile away, he said, they have always been very supportive of the event by offering their land as additional space for camping. While Hotz’s neighbors are older and don’t actually attend the festival, he said, they can still hear the music from their porch.

Fans who might have to miss tonight’s show shouldn’t fret; the Yacht Club will host another battle of the bands for Camp Euforia on June 13. So far, Nifty Mountain PowWow, Substatic, Filling Space, and Big Funk Guarantee are scheduled to compete.

Past battle winners include the Uniphonics, Dead Larry, and Samba Nosso. All three of these groups are scheduled to perform at this summer’s Camp Euforia, which will take place on July 17 and 18.

“Most people have a hell of a good time, and I enjoy it,” Hotz said. “It’s a bunch of good people who work on it all year long. It is fun.”

Kading’s selling point for Camp Euforia is just as emphatic but a whole lot dirtier.

“Last year, this guy out of his mind on mushrooms took a shit on stage after the festival, and [I] don’t want to miss stuff like that.”

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