Rock Camp Captures the Joy of Jamming With Your Idols

Posted by Nicolás Delgadillo in Culture on February 16, 2021

Rock Camp documents the fulfilled dreams of the Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp over the years and captures the joy from both the campers and the rock star counselors

Rock Camp sounds like the kind of summer getaway you always wished you knew about as a kid. The good news is, at the official Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, there’s no age limit. So whether you’re a youngster with big rock star dreams or an older fella looking to absolutely crush a midlife crisis, this camp is the ideal destination for you.

Rock Camp: The Movie documents a week at the renowned experience, goes over its history, and profiles the camp’s creator, David Fishof. Fishof, the son of a Holocaust survivor, was born in New York City and began a career managing up and coming bands. He then pivoted to sports, becoming an agent and treating it the same as he did music. The way he sees it, with all of the marketing and commercialization of sports, it’s practically the same as show business. 

Eventually, music called Fishof back, and he’s since found great success as a producer of live shows. Some of his notable productions include the Monkees reunion tour as well as Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. In 1997, he officially kicked off the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, which promised attendees a genuine rock star experience alongside legends of the industry. Despite a ton of press, including appearances on shows like The Simpsons, Bones, and Saturday Night Live, there wasn’t too much attendance early on. 

Thankfully, as time went on and more notable musicians became involved, the camp gradually grew in legitimacy and recognition. Through interviews and clips of the many artists that became involved – including members of Aerosmith, Judas Priest, Guns N’ Roses, Alice In Chains, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Heart, Black Sabbath, and more – the film shows how, for many of them, the idea did seem a bit cheesy at first. But once there, it became another passion. There’s a surprising amount of genuine emotion from the stars the documentary speaks to, giving the film a much needed heart. 

The campers tug on the heartstrings as well. There are people from all walks of life who take part in the experience, from an accountant to a church drummer to father and son duos. Some of the kids who attend have disabilities and shred like nobody’s business. The wide range of people adds tons of variety to the bands themselves, which could consist of a 13 year-old girl on drums, an 17 year-old boy on guitar, a 45 year old-woman on vocals, and a random rock star backing them up on bass. After a week of jam sessions and rehearsals, the camp culminates in a show at legendary venues like the Whiskey a Go Go. 

Rock Camp isn’t the first to document the experience; a VH1 series that aired in 2010 also showed the camp through the eyes of the campers. But this new documentary gives us the whole perspective, and by putting focus on Fishof, it shows how the concept came from a pure place of joy and possibility. That joy has obviously spread throughout the years the camp has been in business, and the film successfully captures that feeling and excitement. At the root of it all is the very real emotion and power that music has over its most ardent fans, and how it can form lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories.

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