LIVE REVIEW: 2nd Annual Cracker/CVB Camp In

A fan event gives fans a reason to get out and meet other fans outside of their town (or the Internet) where they can discuss the details of a band’s works and quirks till their heart’s content. Also, being in close proximity to the band for a day or longer gives them a chance to hang out, chat and bond with band members. Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven share a couple of band members, and because of this, they began touring together, undoubtedly creating a crossover section of fans. Cracker’s fans are called Crumbs, and as a collective, Crumb Nation.

On the third day of Camp-In 2 in Athens, Georgia, Crumbs gathered for a band meet-and-greet at Hendershot’s Coffee and Bar, a shop where bands play. There was a meet and greet, announced by David Lowery, lead singer for Cracker and CVB, during which new Cracker music was played on the venue’s speakers. Afterwards, a Crumb’s band played onstage. Later on, there was a live performance by Jonathan Siegel on guitar at the Flicker Club next to 40 Watt. Then, there was the main event, the CVB/Cracker show at 40 Watt with folk art for sale by local artist Panhandle Slim. The singer for Hounds Below, the opening band from Detroit, having their first Athens show, declared, “We don’t know how we ended up on this gig but we love it!” David Lowery commented during the Cracker set, “Check out our Camp-In hoodie at the merch table. Why is it red? Because of Georgia.” Likely he referred to the main color for University of Georgia, Athens, where he teaches music business.

Cracker CVB Camp-In 2-4 CVB onstage

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During the Cracker set, Crumb Jean Marie DeSpiegler talked about how the Campouts and shows are about hanging with other fans, theme dress events for fans (this night it was “mod”) and how on occasion, the bands hang out with and have drinks with fans after the Campout shows or play house parties.

Trixie Martin, a Campout/Camp-In regular — maybe a big Crumb — responded by email, “There are few bands that have the connection to their fan base such as Cracker and CVB. Camp In and Campout are similar to family reunions. An environment such as this wouldn’t be possible without the graciousness of the musicians. I tell people now, after seeing so many live performances of Cracker and CVB, that I don’t necessarily go to hear the songs. What is the draw, the thing that brings me back is the people that are on that stage — people that happen to be rockstars — and the people that are in the crowd — all of whom I am proud to consider my friends. People come from as far as Britain and Canada and other incredible distances to participate in these 3-day-long events.

In Campout lore, Campout began as a b-day celebration for Lowery and Hickman, who happen to share the same birthday (September 10). Next September we will celebrate Campout 10. The desert location, the community, and the music lends to a very spiritual experience. It’s a chance for the folks in Cracker and CVB to also spend time enjoying music of others. Velena Vego (manager of Cracker and CVB) and the bands work hard to bring in good, cutting-edge, new musical talent to share the stage with Cracker and CVB. Camp-In in Athens, as well as Campout East (in Virginia), are similar to the big daddy that is Campout, and yet completely different. The music, the friendship, the community is there, but the location lends to different experiences.

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