Sugar Creek Festival Recap

Sugar Creek Music Festival took place at the beginning of September at Camp Manitowa in southern Illinois. The three-day festival had a very select group of people, with most attendees from the surrounding area who have been dedicated Sugar Creek-goers from past years. It was lovely to see such great support from attendees, staff, and vendors. Sugar Creek had a huge sense of community and inclusiveness that made me, an outsider from Ohio, feel very welcomed.



There were three stages at Sugar Creek: the main stage, a small side stage, and an EDM stage set up in the woods. The main stage had bands play music ranging from bluegrass and folk-rock to reggae. The side stage was my personal favorite for the pure fact that anyone could walk up and play. Musicians came together, some knowing one another, some not knowing one anyone at all. It was beautiful to watch complete strangers figure out each other’s sound and what they could play together on the spot.



If you weren’t hanging out at the stages, you could find many attendees at the bubble tent, which seemed to be the main attraction for all ages. The Joyful Bubbles group was nothing short of a joyful time. They had multiple bins set up for anyone to come by and make their own bubbles of various shapes and sizes. It is such a pure and simple activity that lit up the faces of so many when walking by, bringing out everyone’s inner child.



During the daytime, you could catch many out on the lake, including me and my group of friends. There was 24/7 access to canoes and kayaks for people to take out onto the water, and if that wasn’t your thing, you could swim out to the floating dock with a giant water trampoline attached.



Once the sun set, most of us set ourselves up around the main stage, socially distanced of course, and hung out waiting for music while watching the aerial performers. Once the music started, a few fire performers gathered to show off their skills under the dome on the basketball court, which lasted even after the music was finished for the night. If you didn’t find yourself mesmerized by the fire performances, you could make your way to the EDM stage in the woods where many went dancing until the sun came up.



Sugar Creek had such a wonderful sense of community and innocence, making it easy to enjoy. Overall, this seven-year-old, DIY music festival, really made me appreciate the beauty of smaller festivals. Everyone who attended Sugar Creek, down to the vendors and staff, was truly out there to lift one another up and help each other out. The current times have been difficult for everyone, and Sugar Creek was a well-organized and safe space to escape to, with a much needed friendly atmosphere.




Sugar Creek Music Festival




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