Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

Dirtybird Has Perfected Summer Camp for Adults (and booty shakers everywhere)

If anyone has information leading to the recovery of our Canon T2i camera with 17-40mm wide angle lens, please email [email protected]. The equipment was stolen on Saturday night at the tree fort area and contains photos from the weekend.

What Makes Dirtybird Campout So Magical?

The answer is Campout’s sum of its parts. Every single part of Campout – before, during, and after – adds up to make it so great. The community of fun-loving, ass-shaking House junkies who attended campout is a huge part of this and the reason why Dirtybird as a collective and record label has grown to be the juggernaut it is today.

But Dirtybird Campout is so magical because of a variety of other reasons. The artists who DJed at Campout are just as much a part of the community as us attendees are. The artists love the music just as much as we do, and they certainly like to have a good time just like the rest of us. Whether the artists were throwing down epic sets on stage, participating in games, or just hanging out at our camp sites, we followed their lead and could not have had a better time during three days of ridiculousness. Accessibly to the artists is such a cool part of campout and knowing you could run into Billy Kenny, for example, at your friend’s camp site makes everything so much better.

Know what else makes Campout so magical? The Do Lab. These production wizards are responsible for some of California’s finest music attractions – like Lightning in a Bottle, Woogie Weekend, and of course the Do Lab stage at Coachella (among my favorite stages at any festival anywhere). The structures at Campout, thanks to The Do Lab folks, captured the essence of Summer camp and certainly made me long for those Summer afternoons I spent in the woods of Maine as a youth. There were tree forts, cabin-esque wooden stages, and even large teepees scattered throughout the festival grounds. Even the BBQ pit felt like a mess hall that can be found at most Summer camps. Overall the design and architecture of the festival grounds was extremely on point and the Do Lab folks nailed it by keeping the “campout” theme alive!

You have a strong community vibe, amazing musical artists, Summer camp games aimed at nostalgia with an adult twist — what more could you ask for from a music festival? And the Dirtybird players are just getting started.

Surprises and Highlights

Everyone had their own unique experiences at Campout 2016. There are stories that overlap, there are stories that will never be told, and everyone walked away from the festival with their own personal highlights. In addition to high points there were some surprises for me as well – but some of these surprises turned out to be highlights (mind blown, I know). Here are a few of my highlights and surprises.

At 7:30 on Friday night the camp grounds were turned into a warehouse rave – like we were transported to Berlin and landed there in the wee hours of the morning. Instead what really happened was Polish duo Catz ‘n Dogz had taken the stage. No longer was the sun shining – the only lights that were seen were neon strobes and lasers, as well as ones coming from costumes and totems of the attendees. The 4×4 beats were pounding and a DJ act that I had long been awaiting did not disappoint. Dirtybird may be known for booty bass destroyers, but I love me a quality House and Techno set. Catz ‘n Dogz performed a set that really couldn’t be replicated and it was a fantastic way to kick off the weekend.

Here’s a surprise – Reggie Watts played a highly-talented set on the main stage but did you expect him to be riding around in a golf cart performing his act? No, we didn’t either but check out the video of him doing exactly that below.

Speaking of surprises, the biggest surprise of the weekend for me was Sage Armstrong’s set that took place at 4:45am on Saturday night. I didn’t know much about Armstrong beyond his fantastic song “Ass Out” but what I discovered is the dude can throw down a monster booty-shaking set. Moreover, Sage will actively rap on the microphone over the beats he plays, which is a dynamic most DJs don’t offer. Check out below for a sample of his live sets.

Barclay Crenshaw, Round 2! Claude Vonstroke’s real name is Barclay Crenshaw and last year’s edition of Campout saw the label boss performing under this moniker for the first time. As Barclay, he spins tunes that fall under the Hip Hop and Future Bass realm. When I heard his set last year, I knew I had to be present this year when he did the same thing. His set was unreal and shows a really cool other side of Claude Vonstroke that we normally aren’t exposed to. He’s the real deal folks (not that we were doubting it)!

Justin Jay and Friends. Dear lord how good is Justin Jay?! My entire Saturday revolved around making sure I was front and center for Justin Jay’s set. This hour-long performance featured Justin’s friends on vocals and various different instruments, as well as Justin Jay himself singing over the music using some autotune. The crowd was dancing along, smiling, and singing and there was probably no better overall vibe all weekend, in my opinion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Justin Jay may very well be my favorite musical artist of the moment.

Newcomer Ciszak absolutely destroyed the stage for an afternoon set of G-House deliciousness. His songs like “I Want” and “Hypnose” are on constant rotation for me and it was awesome to see how much fun he was having dancing around the stage in his cheeseburger button down. The Brazilian producer/DJ is making a name for himself and now that I finally had a chance to see him live you can bet I’m paying even closer attention


The Buzz…

In my post-festival blues I stayed close to the Facebook forums that had people discussing the stellar weekend they were just a part of. Here are some of the things they are talking about:

Reggie Watts’ headlining set. It seems there was not a more polarizing set all weekend than Reggie Watts’ set on Saturday night, which was the last set on the main stage before after hours began. Some people loved the set due to Watt’s obvious creativity. Some people hated the set because they felt it killed the vibe that Justin Martin had built up over the previous hour.

Justin Martin’s edit of Four Tet/Bjork, dropped during his main stage set and the closing Family set (seen below). In browsing the forums after campout, this seemed to be the most sought-out track of the weekend. And for good reason – this one brought all the feels. Justin Martin posted on Facebook that it was a special edit he did just for campout but unfortunately it will probably not be released due to copyright issues. We can only hope!

Justin Martin & Christian Martin’s sunrise Drum n’ Bass set. Leading up to campout there was a lot of talk of brothers Justin Martin & Christian Martin doing a sunrise Drum n’ Bass set – which is really the type of music they used to spin when they were getting started. And some might say Christian Martin’s specialty is sunrise sets. Unfortunately I had to tap out before they came on but everything I heard the next day was how this was one for the record books.

The camps, renegades, and late-night shenanigans. I didn’t realize the camping culture of Campout would play such a big piece in the overall weekend. And when I say that out loud it doesn’t make sense why this is such a surprise to me. I didn’t do a ton of exploration around the campgrounds after hours but in reading conversations after the festival, there was a LOT going on. There were renegade parties happening everywhere, featuring both DJs from the attendee groups to artists from the lineup making surprise appearances. It seems Campout had more of a Burning Man vibe than I expected and this really is a good thing. One of the best parts of camping festivals is meeting new friends and it sounds like people stumbled upon lots of great parties and newly-formed relationships.

Closing Thoughts

I just want to give a huge shoutout to Dirtybird and The Do Lab crews. It’s obvious a lot of careful planning went into the weekend and it went off without a hitch. The festival sold out and was a home for happy smiling people across three days. The fun and the vibes could not be beat and Campout is easily one of the best festivals around that I hope continues for a long long time.

I do hope that whoever stole property out there – whether it’s my camera equipment or anything else – please do what you can to return the belongings to their proper owners. Theft is just not cool and really brings a dark spot to an otherwise epic weekend.