Camp Euforia closes after 17th festival

Eufórquestra plays a set to close out the main stage Saturday at the Camp Euforia Music Festival in Lone Tree. This was the festival’s 17th and final year. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

LONE TREE — As cars pulled up to the gravel entrance to Lone Tree’s Camp Euforia, Eric Quiner greeted almost every driver and set the tone for the festival’s last weekend of live music: “Welcome, how many years have you been to camp?”

“I bet the average person has been in here five or six years,” Quiner, Camp Euforia’s director, said.

Quiner has welcomed campers into the music festival for 17 years, since the festival’s headlining band, Euforquestra, kicked it off in 2004.

About 1,300 campers were expected for the final festival, above the typical 700 to 1,000, Quiner said. The festival wrapped up Saturday.

Camp Euforia planned to have its final festival in 2020 but postponed the encore due to the pandemic.

“I played with Euforquestra, and our whole band started it together,” said Quiner, who is no longer in the band. “It’s kind of like the end of an era. We all have a lot going on, and everybody’s got a ton of different endeavors.”

Quiner said the festival, held on Jerry’s Farm, 5335 Utah Ave. SE north of Lone Tree, became more intricate — and more work — every year.

What started out as a “big party” with four or five local bands and free admission turned into a three-day festival with more than 20 bands on three stages. Admission this year was $130 for a three-day pass, which included camping and activities for all ages.

Jerry Hotz, the owner of the farm festival grounds, said it felt good to see such a big turnout this year.

“One guy came up to me and said he’s been here since the first year and the last year. He came from Colorado,” Hotz said.

T.J. Kaylor, 48, of Cedar Rapids, said he’s been coming to the festival since 2007, camping under the same big tree every year with friends, who call themselves the “Rainbow Tribe.”

He said he hopped the farm’s fence the day before the festival set up, which some regular campers do.

“It’s not something you can really explain,” he said. “It’s the energy that you feel when you are here.”

Looking back, Kaylor said he remembers the big storm that hit the festival in 2018.

“After the storm was over, everybody’s campsites and the entire area was trashed. It was pretty bad. Everyone banded together,” he said. “We all got everything set up … we were playing music again within four to five hours.”

Kaylor said he’ll be looking for another music festival to attend next year.

“Hopefully, there will be something else,” he said. “There’s Revival, Summer Camp, Farm Fresh Reggae.”

Dawn Oberreuter, 37, of Norway, Iowa, another Rainbow Tribe member, said she’s been at Camp Euforia for 10 years.

“On the way here, I was so happy listening to the music I was going to hear,” she said. “But then my happiness almost turned in to sadness because it is the last year.”

“I have goosebumps even thinking about it.”

Carrie Dolan, 53, of Cedar Rapids, has attended for 10 years, and camps next to friends she met at the festival in 2017.

“Jerry’s Farm is gorgeous, and every year it’s gotten better,” she said. “You can sit here in your camp spot and hear all of the music.”

Quiner said Hotz may host smaller events on the festival grounds in the future.

“What we may do would be a private event,” he said. “I’ve got a mailing list for this entire event. We would take it off Facebook, off the internet and have a private party.”

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Festivalgoers arrive Thursday at the Camp Euforia Music Festival in Lone Tree. The festival concluded Saturday, ending a 17-year run. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Dawn Oberreuter sits for a portrait Thursday at the Camp Euforia Music Festival in Lone Tree. Many festival attendees have returned year after year. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

T.J. Kaylor, of Cedar Rapids, sits for a portrait Thursday at the Camp Euforia Music Festival in Lone Tree. Kaylor has been attending the festival every year since 2007. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Camp Euforia festival director Eric Quiner greets arrivals Thursday in Lone Tree. Quiner has welcomed campers into the music festival for 17 years. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Maggie King (from left), Aaron Kile, Jack Lewis and Mason Hampton set up a tent Thursday at the Camp Euforia Music Festival. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Jerry Hotz stands for a portrait Thursday at the Camp Euforia Music Festival. Hotz has been hosting the festival on his land since 2004. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Festivalgoers dance during a performance by Eufórquestra on Saturday night at the Camp Euforia Music Festival in Lone Tree. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

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