Road To Camp Bisco – Jabari Kefele
“If you look real high you just might find
Sitting in the stars, glistening, glistening
Waiting for the band to come
Just waiting for that man to come.
Oh, I wonder…”
They always say that the journey is more important than the destination. I assumed that essentially meant that the lessons you learn on the way to getting what you want or going where you need to go is oftentimes more enriching than what you discover when you actually arrive at your goal. While this old adage can be applied to many things in life like love, careers, education, etc, I have found that in my experience it is a much less valid piece of advice in terms of music festivals. While packing up your chariot to the brim and hitting the road with your closest buds is usually fun and, of course, an integral part to the festival experience, for me there is nothing quite like walking through the gates of your favorite festival and being filled with that sense of coming home. Nobody likes waiting in line or getting their belongings searched, so in that way I like to think of the festival as the journey rather than the destination. Camp Bisco will always have a spacious alcove in my heart from now until the time alien robots descend upon us in a blazing inferno.
What else do they always say? There’s nothing like your first time. For me no truer statement has ever been uttered. Camp Bisco was the first camping music festival I had ever experienced. I’d been to a few concerts, even ventured to a few sketchy raves in the underbelly of Brooklyn, but I had never cast aside the constraints of the real world and plunged headfirst down the rabbit hole until Bisco.
This is less of a story and more of a therapeutic release for me. I could tell you about the infamous “Peach Man,” a tale that is still boisterously recanted among my brood of brothers, or that young lady who turned a mud hole into her own personal hot tub in the middle of the water refill station, or even that time a tornado bellowed across the camp grounds snapping ropes and launching tents 30 feet into the air. However I’m sure you’ve been to your fair share of festivals and have your own stories that could give mine a run for their money. So instead this Road to Camp Bisco is one of existential reflection, one camper’s love letter to the home that he thought was lost and the journey that has no destination but will hopefully persist as long as there is air in these lungs.
As I said before Camp Bisco in 2012 was my first festival. The first time I left behind the what if’s and the oh no’s of the day to day and traded in my weekly schedule for a daily set list. The lyrics that I began this piece with come from a tune called “The Sun” by Portugal. The Man. I don’t pretend to be a music theory expert or anything of the sort, but to me that song speaks to leaving behind our egos and tangible treasures that we build up in our minds and realizing that we are all simply “Born of earth and light like all these others” and that even further “we are all, we are all just lovers.” Sitting in a sun drenched field surrounded by the people I love and who love me, this was probably the first time I could honestly say music spoke to me. I thought I knew what that meant, when someone would say “Oh bro that track totally speaks to me. That drop was so nasty!,” until this moment. It’s a simple and beautiful song and combined with a simple and beautiful moment: sitting in the grass watching a band play while the sun was out. Nothing about this situation was ostensibly grand or beautiful but it was a moment of immense self realization and perhaps the first moment I decided that music wasn’t a luxury or a past time but sustenance, and my friends weren’t just buddies and pals but an adopted family.
Now that’s not to say I didn’t lose my face at Skrillex who literally melted it off with the tongues of fire he brought to main stage as he did his best Moses impression. Indeed like the biblical figure, Skrill used towers of fire to lead his people through the wilderness and bestowed upon us one of the most righteous performances ever delivered on speakers. If you were there back in 2012 and made your way to his set I’m sure that his set is still branded on your mind. Like Portugal. The Man, Skrillex also revealed something to me. This was less of an internal revelation and more of and external eye-opener, showing me the absurd anarchy and devastation that was not only permitted at musical festival but served as their key component. What I saw in front of me was freedom in living color, youth regardless of age and unbridled, unashamed happiness. Seriously though when he dropped his “Goin Down Remix” of the Birdy Nam Nam track “Goin In” i’m pretty sure I could feel seismic tremors.
There are a slew of other performances I could call upon from my time at Bisco. The Disco Biscuits, Kill The Noise, JWLS, Minnesota, Lotus, Grammatik and Break Science all opened my eyes in 2011 and when I returned, Bassnectar, Dillon Francis, Destroid, Seven Lions, Baauer, Chris Malinchak and Herobust all stand out in my mind till this day. In the end, the most impactful moment Camp Bisco has ever had on me was last year, when it was announced that the festival would no longer be returning in 2014. Rumors had been swirling for while and I believe that many close to the Camp knew that it would be a year of change. How does that other saying go? You don’t know what you had until it’s gone. I had no idea just how much this festival meant to me until it was no longer in the cards. It felt like a family reunion had been cancelled or finding out that you’re adopted! Okay maybe not that last one but it brought me some really dark days last summer. I won’t lie. I gave into despair. It was hard to see a future where Bisco could return. I felt as though the place where it all started for me, the place where life actually finally started to make sense was gone for good….
Wipe those damn tears out your eyes! Haven’t you heard? Bisco is back baby! Okay so we might be moving to a new location and you’re going to have to break out your EZ pass to get to Scranton, PA. But who gives a damn? The destination may have changed but the journey will never end. It’s not about where you go but who you go with. It’s not about what you’re doing but why you’re doing it. It’s about doing what you love with the people who make every day a holiday and never make you apoligze for being who you are!
On this Road to camp Bisco we may have to take a few detours but hopefully our path will stretch far and wind with no end in our sight.
Sensible Reason is looking for submissions to our Road to Camp Bisco (RtCB) series. Please submit posts to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on how to write your own and examples of last years posts check out this link!