When I first heard React Presents was adding another festival to their list of upcoming events, I was blown away. After the success of Spring Awakening, I didn’t expect them to have plans for another fest up their sleeves so quickly. This time around, React appealed to a larger audience with a wider range of musical tastes. Taking place in Somerset, Wisconsin, just along the eastern boarder of Minnesota, Summer Set Camping and Music Festival featured everything from electronic and hip-hop artists to reggae, indie rock and jam bands.
Upon arriving we waited to go through security in a winding line of cars from as far as North and South Dakota to Nebraska and Colorado. Modern-day hippies and city hipsters came together to represent an eclectic blend of personalities, sporting distinctive festival-fashions like bandanas, animal hats, bright tie-dyes, dread locks and lots of plaid. By the time we set up camp, our party crew didn’t make it into the festival until dusk. We took in the bright green Somerset fields and surrounding woodlands as we climbed the steep journey to the three stages.
The Hockey Rink, otherwise known as the EDM arena, was so packed that security had to take preventative measures the first night and stopped allowing entry after 10PM. Instead of heading into the madness, we found a spot on the hill and waited for Big Gigantic to close out the first night. They opened with an instrumental version of Jay-Z and Kanye’s N*ggas In Paris. Everyone agreed they set the bar pretty high for the rest of the weekend as they mixed together experimental dubstep with jam band and jazz-like elements along with some hip hop and underground trap samples.
Saturday was a day for pure relaxation as we watched the rainfall from under our cabana, drank beers and made new friends. We explored the North and South campsites and then made our way to the festival for Excision. We were dying to check out the Hockey Rink for Gabriel & Dresden, who never disappoint, but decided to leave soon thereafter to catch the second half of legendary rapper Nas at the main stage. The second night ended chilling in hammocks listening to Umphrey’s McGee jam out their most popular hits from afar.
We woke up early Sunday morning just as the sun began heating up our tents. After gathering the crew we headed across the street to Rite Float Park where we posted up at the river’s bottom with our hammocks, slack line and began to unwind with a box of wine. The afternoon quickly turned to evening as we wound up back at the EDM arena for some straight dirtybird beats from Claude VonStroke. Later at the arena, Mat Zo threw down a mixed genre set that served as a perfect lead into Israeli psytrance group Infected Mushroom, who completely blew our minds. I’ve never experienced a set with this strong of a stage presence before as they took control of all our senses with frenetic lighting, their new trippy stage setup, and live vocals.
Finally we were ready for the last headliner of the weekend, Pretty Lights. Sitting from afar, we observed the crazy energy from the crowd, which consisted of jam-step grooves, bright flashing lights, lasers, fog, and a flurry of glowsticks. The weekend ended way too quickly, with everyone saying solemn goodbyes as the festival season drew to a close. We were quite impressed with React Presents and their ability to appeal to a wide array of fans. We give major props for being able to keep events evolving while ultimately maintaining a strong love for the music.