‘Road to Camp Bisco’ – Lauren Cook
The unusually warm weather pattern that has taken over the Northeast this winter season has left many, like myself, yearning for that 15-degree jump in temperature that signifies the start of festival season. For me, no other festival gets me as anxious, excited, giggly and outright impatient quite like Camp Bisco does.
As festivals large and small begin releasing initial lineups, it’s no surprise that Camp Bisco has yet to release theirs. Anyone who has ever been to Camp Bisco before can tell you the festival likes to keep its fans waiting in anticipation for the ridiculousness it brings to the table year after year. Over the last 10 years Camp Bisco has made a name for itself as the premier Northeast festival that mixes the biggest and best names in electronic and jam music together seamlessly in just three days time. In addition to the always headlining Disco Biscuits, past acts have included LCD Soundsystem; Cut Copy; Wiz Khalifa; Skrillex; Ratatat; Ghostland Observatory; Shpongle Live; Nas and Damian Marley; Snoop Dogg; Method Man, Ghostface Killah, & Raekwon; Ween; Kid Cudi; Thievery Corporation Live; Girl Talk; DJ Shadow; Bassnectar; MSTRKRFT; The Roots; Pretty Lights; Rusko; Diplo; Major Lazer; Chromeo; Holy F#ck; Caribou; Yeasayer; STS9; and !!!.
What I have always loved about Camp Bisco is its ability to mix such huge acts that bring in the big crowds with smaller acts that win over a crowd’s heart once they have arrived. Here I am referring to Camp Bisco’s Hill Stage. Last year, the Hill Stage, which features local and upcoming artists as well as the Silent Disco, received a much welcomed makeover thanks to Mr. Bugsly Presents, Fresh & Wholesome, CruTopia, VJ Adrenochrome, Projected Reality, and Paint the White Van. The groups’ collaboration transformed what was once in its previous years a very basic stage into a magical, mythical, eye catching attraction in and of itself. Adorned with props and lights galore the new Hill Stage wowed patrons new and old alike. The stage, a staple of Camp Bisco since it moved to ILCC, has also showcased the growth of artists over the years. Veteran festival goers have seen the likes of Bassnectar, Brothers Past, Orchard Lounge and Papadosio grow from Hill Stage artists to Main Stage and Dance Tent show stoppers. The intimacy of the Hill Stage has always been an attractive option for me, seeing as I prefer a smaller festival over a larger oneand as the years have gone by, Camp Bisco has continuously outdone itself in terms of size.
Last year, Camp Bisco accomplished a feat many in the early years thought would never happen. The festival sold out. In my three years of attending Camp Bisco, last year was very different and slightly disappointing compared to the previous two. The larger crowd was brought in by a much more electronic and dubstep heavy lineup. This meant a younger crowd and a crowd that for the most part, believe it or not, had not heard of or cared much about headliners The Disco Biscuits.For die-hard, loyal Biscuits fans such as myself and many friends, this was a huge turn off. Complaints could be heard throughout the festival grounds regarding the amount of peopleattending who didn’t plan on catching even just one of the Biscuits’ six sets that weekend. And yet, at the end of the weekend, when everyone returned home to their real lives and I looked back on the time I had, one thing stood out above all of the bullshit, all of the complaints, all of the noobs and all of the music, and that’s family.
Plain and simple, regardless of the additional acts that follow the Biscuits and the crowd they may bring along, Biscuits fans return to Camp Bisco year in and year out for two things: The Disco Biscuits and the family that they have created over a decade and a half of touring. Even if fans think the Biscuits aren’t playing their best, they still go to Camp because Camp Bisco is the biggest family reunion in the tri-state area. It’s where fans from California, Colorado, Kentucky, New York and every small town and big city of America can come together and reunite to rage proper. After last year, I wasn’t sure if I would go back to Camp again. But then it dawned on me, as much as I might like to drink that hater-aid of Camp X, I would go back just to see my friends from across the country that I only ever get to see a few times a year. THAT is something beautiful and has been a cornerstone of Camp Bisco since its inception.
With my family by my side I have made some of the funniest, most ridiculous and awe inspiring memories at Camp Bisco. I will never forget my first Camp (Camp VIII). It was also my first Disco Biscuits show and my friends and I arrived on Saturday, missing all of the torrential rain that weekend. The first song I ever heard live was the Perfume version of M.E.M.P.H.I.S. Luckily for me, the rest of the 3 sets that day were by far some of the best music I have ever heard that band play. I chased that Sister Judy’s Soul Shack for almost three more years until they finally played it again at Mayan Holidaze this past January while I stood front row practically in tears. I also met some of my best friends at Camp VIII, people who I now attend Camp with every year and will continue to do so until Camp Bisco is no more. Camp IX was the first time I attended the entire festival. In the midst of a stellar year performance-wise, my friends and I were all very excited for the final two sets of Biscuits when the most epic of all storms came down upon Camp Bisco with a fury unlike I have ever seen (in true Camp Bisco form, mind you). As the clouds rolled in and all of the campers were ushered back to their tents, I began a journey down a long, strange path that lead to both tears and laughter. You see, I’m terrified of lightening and this storm packed a very electric punch. During the time I spent in that 10-person tent with my family I laughed, I cried (seriously) and I wore glow sticks for the first and last time. We danced and partied to an iPod/iHome and when the lightening would hit too close to home, we’d all hit the floor like it was some kind of game. Then, as the rain let up, a beacon of light could be seen from the stage, calling us ragers out of our tents and down to the mud. We jogged/walked all the way down to the Main Stage to the tune of Electric Avenue, a moment that will stay with me forever. Camp X, the biggest and for me the most different of the three, also offered a host of amazing memories despite my previous rantings. Camp X brought Shpongle Live to the U.S. for the first time! It also brought another epic rain storm that, unlike the previous year, did not stop the music and could not stop the fun. I braved that storm, lightening and all, right in the field with everyone else. I never in my life thought I would have the courage to do such a thing and it’s something I will always keep close to my heart.
Camp Bisco currently has a very love-hate relationship with its longest and most loyal fans but like the song says, “Never had a home like this and the prophet said be careful what you wish, never had to think twice always knew my home was in paradise.” In my eyes, paradise is as much a state of mind as it is a place and there’s no better paradise than hanging out with your family and listening to the band that brought you together for 3 days. And while Camp Bisco might not be paradise in terms of landscape, it sure as hell is home base for many families that, without the Disco Biscuits, would cease to exist all together.
Tickets for Camp Bisco are available here. If you have memories about Camp Bisco that you would like to share feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.