CHILLICOTHE — Within the grounds of Summer Camp you won’t find people toting kids around and making bracelets, but rather a field full of hidden adventures and any people watcher’s dream come true.

Live entertainment, camping and lots of mud. There was nothing out of the extraordinary as the annual Summer Camp Music Festival at Three Sisters Park kicked off the weekend-long festivities Friday. At least, that could be said by an outsider.

But beyond the unique sights lies an opportunity to live in the moment. At each corner there is something new.

A trio of friends set up camp on an old abandoned bridge, their brightly colored tie-dyed shirts hang from the rusting old steel beams. They smiled and waved at each passerby.

Children being pushed by their mothers giggled on the swings inside a contraption decorated to look like a giant jellyfish.

A sea of hammocks swung softly, dangling between the trunks of the trees that fill what is known by the regulars as “Wook Forest.” The only light was from the flashing of neon signs as the tops of the trees enclosed the campers in their own private getaway for the weekend. Yet, the lifestyle could be seen as anything but glamorous.

And for some people that is the beauty of it.

Dillon Bach, 27 and his fiancé, Kyleen McCabe, 25, of Lombard considered themselves “seasoned” in the art of Summer Camp as they endured their fifth festival weekend. The first year they worked as volunteers on the festival grounds. Seeing everyone else having a good time was all the convincing they needed to try it for themselves, and the rest is history.

Their neon yellow tent sat in what was once an open field, but for “S’camp” weekend, as they called it, it became a place of vacation for them.

“We have a couch,” Bach joked as he patted the arm of the blow-up couch he comfortably lounged in.

Summer Camp has become something of a tradition for the pair, as they have traveled with a group of 14 for this year’s festival. With each year the group grows, becoming more diverse.

“Almost like a little club,” said McCabe.

A flash of lightning lit up the sky, and a roll of thunder shook the grass that had been trampled into a muddy soup.

“Weather is not going to stop us,” said McCabe, breaking the brief silence that followed Mother Nature’s interruption. “It will just be rain boots for the rest of the weekend.”

The thumping music quickly replaced the sounds of a storm brewing, the roaring clamor from the nearby stage just barely audible in the distance.

Despite the unspoken curse of storms cast upon the festival each year, the couple returns for the music, art and quality time with friends. The “freedom” that the festival offers being the most enticing.

“It’s the one weekend a year where we can let loose and not worry about anything,” said McCabe. With no cell service, she enjoys being able to disconnect from the responsibilities beyond the fence line.

Summer Camp is the group’s favorite festival, as it is the largest music festival in the country that is fully inclusive, with the camping and stages all in the same area.

From yoga workshops to hooping, to countless food, clothes and art vendors, there is something for all ages at Summer Camp. Nine stages will host some 180 musical acts, including headliners Zeds Dead, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Big Gigantic, STS9 and three days of moe. and Umphrey’s McGee.

“No matter what time of the day, you can always find something fun to do here,” Bach added. “And I can’t do that at home.”

They have met some of their best friends through Summer Camp. Although it is in the heart of the Midwest, it attracts people from all over the world. They recalled a man they met one year who they called “Crazy Christian” who is now in medical school in Warsaw.

“It’s a package deal,” Bach said. “I don’t have one favorite thing.”

They said each year is something different, and no two trips are ever the same.

“You come for the experience,” Mack Riha, 22, a friend of the couple, interjected. “It’s a good way for when everybody’s growing up to get the band back together.”