Camp Euforia celebrates 15 years by getting the band back together

Camp Euforia

5335 Utah Ave SE, Lone Tree — Thursday-Saturday, July 12-14

The early days of Camp Euforia. — photo courtesy of the festival

Fifteen years ago, Iowa City funk-fusion band Eufórquestra was looking for a way to say “thank you” to its fans. When they pitched the idea of a festival to landowner Jerry Hotz, things clicked, and Hotz’s farm has been home to the Camp Euforia festival ever since.

Over the years, the band has moved (they’re based in Colorado now), and members have come and gone, but Camp Euforia has remained as a mainstay of the Iowa summer festival scene. Multiple stages now ensure that the music — a mix of local, regional and national acts — never stops (see full schedule below). And Eufórquestra’s current incarnation always plays on both Friday and Saturday night.

This year, in addition to the Friday and Saturday Eufórquestra performances, a very special act will play on Thursday night in celebration of 15 years of fans, friendship and frivolity.

“This year the original lineup will be making a special appearance (this is the first time we have announced this) on Thursday night,” Eric Quiner, the band’s original keyboardist and executive director of the festival, said in an email. “We will be playing a bunch of our original music from over 10 years ago! Many of the members are traveling quite a distance to be here for the special night. Our long time fans should get quite the thrill to see and hear this lineup.”

Quiner now lives in Des Moines where he is involved with real estate (running a business with Iowa Realty) and urban farming (he owns and operates Dogpatch Urban Gardens with his wife). Like many of the original Eufórquestra lineup — notably, he says, guitarist Mike Tallman — he’s remained a key part of the festival since the beginning.

Quiner estimates that he’s been involved with “just about every job at the festival” over the years, from running vending to booking to building the more permanent infrastructure that helps carry the festival through from summer to summer. He even worked for Hotz as a farmhand for several years when things were first getting started.

“Jerry has been a mentor for me and has become one of my best friends,” Quiner said. “We are 30 years apart in age; he is from the country, I am from the city; and if you ask him he will tell you I have not done a single job right in the 15 years we have known each other. And yet our partnership has worked amazingly well for all of this time.”

Although the festival is a reunion for many long-time friends, there’s no barrier to entry or learning curve for newcomers. Quiner emphasizes that the event is well-organized and “easy to consume,” and credits Davenport’s Hive Event Consulting, who, he says, “quarterback the day-to-day happenings.” He notes that “friends are easy to come by.”

Eufórquestra performs at Camp Euforia. — photo by Scott Dye

Quiner points to two moments that stand out to him each year. One is watching the stage go up the night prior to the event, with all of the other staff and volunteers. “It is a triumphant feeling to be surrounded by the awesome folks that make this happen and it feels more and more nostalgic every year,” he said.

“My other favorite moment of the festival is watching Eufórquestra play each night,” he continued. “An amalgamation of all that we as Eufórquestra and Camp Euforia have accomplished over the years typically sets in right about that time. We are a success story of fidelity and commitment to each other and all that partake year over year.”

How to attend:

Gates open at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 12 for three-day pass holders. There is camping and RV parking available — camping is no extra charge; RV spots are $70 for an advance reservation or $100 at the gate, if still available. Car parking is $10, payable in cash only (ATMs are available on-site). Advance ticket prices are $125 for the three-day pass, $100 for two-day (Friday and Saturday) admission and $70 for general admission Saturday only. All ticket prices go up $15 when purchased the day of the show. Children ages 14 and under are free with an adult. For easiest access to the site, be sure to follow the directions on the website.

Who to see:

Quiner told Little Village the act he’s most excited about this year is Portland, Oregon’s Fruition. The bluegrass-tinged folk rockers are touring for their fifth full-length album, Watching It All Fall Apart, which came out in February. They’re the closing band on the main stage Saturday night.

Exile Brewing Company Mainstage Schedule

1 p.m. — Soul Sherpa
3:15 p.m. — Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts
6 p.m. — The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
8:45 p.m. — Eufórquestra
11:30 p.m. — Turkuaz

11 a.m. — Ryne Doughty
1 p.m. — Baberhood Bluegrass Band
3:15 p.m. — Middle Western
6 p.m. — Chicago Afrobeat Project
8:45 p.m. — Eufórquestra
11:30 p.m. — Fruition

River Music Experience Barn Stage Schedule

9 p.m. — Uniphonics
11 p.m. — Camp Euforia All-Star Jam

12 p.m. — Interstellar Cave Dweller
2:15 p.m. — Some Friends
4:45 p.m. — Elizabeth Moen
7:30 p.m. — Kind Country
10:15 p.m. — The Diplomats of Solid Sound
1 a.m. — The Tripp Brothers

12 p.m. — A-Z
2:15 p.m. — BEEs
4:45 p.m. — Flash in a Pan
7:30 p.m. — The Candymakers
10:15 p.m. — The Maytags
1 a.m. — Dead Larry

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