So I think it’s safe to say that the dust has literally settled on Camp Bisco and that means it’s time for our quasi-journalistic take on the events that went down this past weekend. Now, this was my first time at Camp and, as many would assume, I had my predictions on how the whole scene would play out. Suffice it to say, many of my assumptions were correct. My experience started in the satellite lot on Friday where I was forced to gather anything I could carry on my back (so basically a tent, a pillow and a backpack with a sweatshirt and 6 beers, leaving everything else behind) and hop on the bus, where, on the 10 minute ride into the campground, I listened to several campers argue over how many people had died thus far into the festival. Apparently, at least one didn’t make it through Wednesday night, before the music had even started. At that point, I had already begun to suspect what life on the inside would be like.
Despite my relatively light luggage situation, the search process took over 10 minutes for myself alone, the security attendant all the while explaining to me how Camp is now a “zero-tolerance” festival and harassing me for having rolling papers and multivitamins. Certainly not what I had expected considering what I’d heard of Camp in the past and, unsurprisingly, it turned out it was all in vein, for I was only steps inside the festival when I had been offered Ketamine and Molly, for starters. I was reassured that I had been right all along.
I’m not here to criticize festival goers who like to indulge and escape reality: that’s part of what makes festivals so great. But I find it amazing that such a recognized and tenured festival can still play host to such a cesspool of barely functioning strung-out ravers and get away with it. It seemed that the death count conversation that started before I even got into the festival was a constant source of discussion and, sadly, entertainment. Frequently, your head had to be on a swivel on the lookout for ATV’s and golf carts flying by with sirens, always with another dehydrated and undoubtedly overdrugged kid in tow, many of whom looked well under 21.
For those of us who were there for the music, though, the festival was fairly well-done. Unfortunately, the main stage was the weakest of the stages with its unsymmetrical layout, the side-by-side setup and the inadequate capacity. Not to mention the issues with Bassnectar‘s power supply which stopped his show at least 6 times. The B.I.G. Tent and The Label Tent is where I spent most of my time and was fairly impressed with the layout in those. Water and beer were always close by and, in the event you were to watch someone “die”, it was easy to get a medic to them and get them help (speaking from personal experience). One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Camp was to experience the new idea behind label-curated tents, such as the day Fools Gold Records (A-Trak & Nick Catchdub‘s label) took over the Label Tent to showcase some amazing talent I’d never heard before in the form of JWLS and Codes. After much discussion with others, it also seemed unanimously agreed that sets from Dada Life on Friday and Dillon Francis on Saturday in the B.I.G. Tent were some of the greatest of the weekend.
I could go on and on about pro’s and con’s of Camp and I think, given the die hard fans of The Disco Biscuits and Camp Bisco, I would have a lot of dissenters with my true opinion. It is my belief as an avid music fan that music festivals are for music. However, there were many people I noticed that I doubt went to see a single show all weekend. And that’s the nature of this kind of festival. It’s a lot of what I’ve heard Bonnaroo is like. People come to party, to experiment with drugs and to escape their shitty lives. To some the music is the soundtrack. To others like myself, it’s the main event. If you’ve never been to Camp Bisco, I can honestly tell you from a lot of experience that there are much better music festivals out there, but if your goal is to get as fucked up as possible, Camp is your jam. For those of you who have been many years in a row, I don’t know how you do it. But if you’re still alive, clearly you can handle it, so party on.
P.S. To whoever was selling bath salts as other drugs to unsuspecting people, that’s not cool and you know it. Cut that shit out.