‘Road to Camp Bisco’ – Artist Gwen AP
My road to Camp Bisco is a strange one; high and glorious in some parts, low and rocky in others. It began back in 2005, my sophomore year at college when I was first introduced to the Disco Biscuits. My friend played me a track from one of their albums and I remember sitting on his crusty old couch thinking, why is this song so long, and how can you like this? There are hardly any lyrics! A month later I found myself talked into the adventure of Camp Bisco IV.
Camp Bisco IV was a seminal experience to say the least. The music grabbed me. It caught hold and still hasn’t let go. I remember dancing as hard as I could, screaming Astronaut and Hot Air Balloon as loud as my lungs could bare, and when it started to rain on the crowd, I just wanted it to rain harder! It was an incredible feeling of freedom, a wonderful place where nothing mattered except the music.
For the next few years it was a straight shot of Disco Biscuits as far as the eye could see. There was a core group of us that were serious. We craved the music, the pulse of a show, and we hit the road hard. This was about the same time in college when I began painting on a daily basis. I painted what I felt: beautiful chaos. The lyrics of many Disco Biscuits songs seemed to become a wonderful narration for my life.
After a few years on overdrive, my road took a very abrupt turn. I found myself pregnant, married, and living in a brand new city with only my new husband by my side. I spent the next few years cultivating a family and finishing my degree, with live music virtually out of sight. While I continued to paint and listen to the Biscuits whenever I could, it didn’t feel the same.
Then, fast forward to Camp Bisco IX. I was back on the road with canvas in hand, ready to dance till dawn, and paint the hell out of something. It was all about the music, all about sharing that experience, and doing so with great friends. There’s a wonderful community of us that all share the same love. After painting for the first time in the campgrounds and fields of Camp Bisco, I realized my paintings were different around the music. They were full of life, free and organic, and seemed to tell a story. My live painting from Camp IX looked like what that Camp felt like.
Then came Camp Bisco X. Drum roll please! The clouds seemed to part as Marc Brownstein took a chance and allowed this small blonde the opportunity to paint on stage with the big boys. I started out the weekend laying down the first bit of spray paint in the campgrounds when we set up our tents. I painted dripping purple in the field during the rain of Conspirator and Shpongle. By Saturday afternoon, I was on stage with Dirty Paris, applying electric lime green as suggested by a crewman. Then, I sewed my balls on and painted my ass off to an illustrious day set that only the Disco Biscuits can deliver. By the end of the weekend Marc Brownstein was shouting his name suggestion for the painting “Planetary Disciples” out the stoop of his trailer. This painting had truly captured the essence of Camp Bisco X.
The Road from Camp Bisco X to today has spawned an array of live paintings and new friendships with people that far exceeded any expectations I could of have dreamed up. Since Camp Bisco X, I have had the pleasure to live paint with many profound musicians including the Disco Biscuits, The Manhattan Project, Conspirator, Brothers Past, Roots Collider, Paper Diamond, Alpha Data, and Michetti to name a few. From album covers, to custom paintings, to musically inspired live paintings, my road has evolved into a beautiful path filled with wonderful people and incredible adventures. Not only are the musicians wonderful, but the crew, and the different communities of wonderful people I continue to meet along the way are all truly inspirational.
I now sit here with great anticipation for the upcoming Camp Bisco XI. Each year has surpassed the last, but now that hardly seems possible. I can’t wait to see how it gets better! See you at Camp!