Summer Set is quickly becoming a mainstay in the Midwest festival circuit. Just in its fourth year, SSMF has elevated itself to a can’t miss on the summer schedule. Located about 45 minutes east of Minneapolis in Somerset, Wisconsin, the festival is situated on an enormous campground that’s ideally suited for this many people to gather for a massive festival. Here’s seven things this festival is totally getting right:
1. Layout – This was the first year where it felt like SSMF maximized the space they had at their disposal. They added a fifth stage and with the way they had them spread out, you were never more than a small walk from another one whereas in years past the trek between the Grove and the Main area was always daunting. That hike was still a hike, but The Big Top and Meadow stages were close enough to any of them to provide an oasis in between.
2. Diversity of Music – I love EDM as much as the next person, but it’s nice to have a change of pace over the course of three days. While not lacking in DJs, I really enjoyed the hip hop and electro-pop interludes with acts like The Weeknd, Thievery Corporation, Purity Ring, and Boombox on top of the festival staples like the electronic-focused headliners.
3. Big Name Headliners – Bassnectar. Big Gigantic. The return of Deadmau5. It doesn’t get much bigger than those names for the marquee slots, and all three delivered fantastic sets for their 90 minutes.
4. Music All Night – With after parties on both Friday and Saturday going until 3 am featuring GRiZ, Haywyre, The Floozies, and Tone Loc, you could be listening to music for 12 hours a day. The after parties did cost a little extra, but it was a reasonable price. Those in the VIP campground were even luckier, as there was a special after hours just for them that started each night at 2:15. Artifakts played Friday, but Saturday night that camp was treated to a special set of Carnage b2b Manic Focus b2b Jauz. The prime location of the VIP camp really gave the extra expenditure some value.
5. Water, Water, Everywhere – The ample availability of water could not have been more necessary this year. With temperatures over 90 early in the weekend with humidity to match, the abundant free water stations and roaming teams of H20 ambassadors were absolutely needed. Kudos to Summer Set for taking a proactive approach to the health of their patrons.
6. Daytime Activities – Between the carnival rides and the lazy river at Float Rite, campers had a lot of options to kill some time before the music got going in the early afternoon. Float Rite also helped many stay cool as temperatures soared on Friday and Saturday.
7. Partnering with DownBeats – Summer Set also listened to the growing demand for hearing protection by working with us to deliver custom DownBeats cases to their fans. Between those available at the merch tent and for the VIP campgoers, we distributed 500 pairs throughout the weekend and had people begging for more as we tore down our setup at the end of the weekend. It was great to see so many people embracing their hearing health, and a major festival like Summer Set supporting it.
Another Summer Set has come to a close, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this festival improves yet again next year. See you in 2016 Wisconsin!