The campground was massive, and you could feel that you were surrounded by tons of energized people. Camp itself had a completely different environment than the festival. Everyone around us had such personalized campsites. There were tents, flags, tapestries, and just so much care that went into creating the camp. On more than one occasion we woke up to the smell of bacon which made it feel like a version of home. The tapestries were my favorite, and there was one hanging downhill from us that said “What’s a Bisco?” on it. It gave me the inspiration for this post, and I really wish I had taken a picture of it. Another element of camp was the random cheers, shoutouts, and bizarre noises that echoed through the campground all weekend. Each time the night would come to an end, you could hear groups coming back to camp together and just recapping the night in epic fashion.
WHAT'S A BISCO?
Earlier this month I went up to Pennsylvania for a three-day music festival called Camp Bisco (preview post here). I was new to this festival, and I had never even heard of it before I saw this year’s stellar lineup. I knew I wanted to see Bassnectar this summer, and while looking at his tour dates, this fest caught my eye. It was east coast, which makes for a manageable trip, and I couldn’t believe the other headliners that were on the bill. As I read them one after another, STS9, Big Gigantic, Pretty Lights, Tipper, I knew we had found the right festival. The biggest question I had, though, was “who the hell are the Disco Biscuits?” I thought I had heard of them but definitely never listened to them before. I was clueless.
Well, as it turns out the Biscuits are fusion band that started in 1995 and were our hosts for the weekend. Camp Bisco is the band's flagship festival that began in 1999 (dang!) in New York. The idea was to combine jam bands, DJs, and electronic music and put it all in the same place. It was really about taking two subcultures and mashing them together to form one super group of music lovers. This year was the 14th installment of Camp Bisco after it took a hiatus last year in lieu of the Husdon Project (later known as the Mudson Project because of the horrible weather that led to plenty of disasters). So, with this being the first year at a new location, and recovering from Mudson’s wrath, there were plenty of people (on Reddit at least) that had high expectations for how this year should go. All the hype made me super curious about these crazy cats known as the Disco Biscuits and what they were all about. The Biscuits played 6 sets over the course of the festival, and we saw their opening set on Thursday. It was the perfect welcome, and they were really thankful that this festival was up and running again. It made me feel very appreciative and fortunate that I was able to experience it, because Bisco is totally a one of a kind festival. We talked to plenty of people on the way in, but one person stuck out. He encouraged us to go see the Biscuits at least once, if nothing but out of respect for them throwing this massive party and bringing all of these artists together for us. I really liked that perspective, and we ended up seeing part of five of the Biscuits’ sets. For a day-by-day rundown of the festival, check back for a new post.
The impression that I got from Bisco was that both the festival and the people that gather for it are relentless. It wouldn’t matter what time it was, somewhere in camp there were always a ton of people who were awake, hanging out, telling stories, or just plain partying. The sets went pretty late too, with some headliners not starting until after midnight and finishing at 3 a.m. You had to be on your A game to keep up with it all, because things were constantly happening at camp. Sleep for an hour, and you would definitely miss out on something crazy. What I thought was cool was that this festival had a real ‘summer camp’ vibe to it. There was plenty of hiking (thanks to being on a ski slope), plus a waterpark and zip lining, and then of course the music performances. There were so many things to do, and so many active people bringing the whole scene to life.
There were so many stories shared that weekend. I think that’s characteristic to the type of people this festival attracts. For the most part, everyone I talked to seemed to have an adventurous spirit and had done a lot of living already. The whole vibe of the festival gave me so much inspiration, and it was truly refreshing.
My favorite part about being surrounded by 12,000 people all weekend was that we’re all music fans. Music is the one common reason we’re all here together, and I love talking to other people about their favorite music. Someone near us had a Red Hot Chili Peppers totem, so it was an instant connection. Everyone around us was wearing band t-shirts and talking about the other festivals and concerts they’ve been to. It’s just a fun thing to talk about, and I loved being in this little music niche. Vinnie and I brought up our trip to Cleveland a few times, and it was cool to share our own stories with other people.
I feel this is true about any music festival, but the people that go to Bisco make it what it is. When we first arrived, part of the experience was exploring the festival. It was like discovering this new little hippie town I had never been to, venturing into uncharted territory. And, it was weird to think that this pop-up village of festival freaks only exists for four days a year. Bisco is like a traveling circus but on a much larger scale and with much longer breaks between gatherings. It takes a ton of people to breathe air into the festival and give it life and spirit. Each person that makes their way to Bisco adds something new to it, and when it’s all combined, that’s where the experience of the festival comes from. It’s that unique combination of humans that makes Bisco what it is.
So, I have plenty of things to talk about when it comes to Camp Bisco. Believe it or not, this is just the first of three posts and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. Coming up I’ll be writing a day-by-day recap of the festival and also a post that’s all about the People of Bisco. If you were there, comment below with a favorite memory from the weekend!
If you’re job hunting like I’ve been all summer, there is a good chance you will become discouraged at some point in the process. Nail four interviews, get four rejections, and frantically apply for twenty more jobs and you’re about where I am right now. I’ve had my hopes up about several very good positions this summer. I’ve prepared for interviews, put on my most stylish adult clothes, fought traffic to get downtown on time, and left the interview feeling extremely confident over and over. And somehow I’m still unemployed. There’s still some reason why the job I thought I would be great at wasn’t a good fit on the other end.
I’m impatient, I’m antsy and I’m broke. And I don’t like it. I realize that I’m going to have to be resilient when it comes to these things. To brush off the rejections, let go of my faux plans, and focus on the here and now. I had a great interview today and one scheduled for next week, so things are promising, and I’m still managing to be optimistic. I’m thankful that living at home cuts down on my expenses and I’m trying as hard as I can to not ask my parents for money. But, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, I’m ambitious and I’ve set a high bar for myself. I’m very sure that I can be successful and have a fun time while doing it. I just have to wait for the right opportunity, and be resilient rather than discouraged when a door closes on me.
GOOD TIME SUMMER JAMS
Listen to it on Spotify (check out the side bar!) or just ask me and I’ll burn you a copy. Vinnie’s been really digging it too, so if it has his stamp of approval I’m sure it’ll have yours! Check below for a run down on some of my favorite tracks off this mixtape.
There’s definitely more where this came from! Check out the full playlist on Spotify, I guarantee it’ll add some energy to your summer drives!
Ahh, festival season. Those five months of the year where thousands of music lovers trek around the country to gather with thousands of other like-minded people. I’ve become a big fan of music festivals; the energy surrounding them, the sense of friendship you feel with every person you encounter, and of course the massive appreciation for music. There aren’t many bad things about festival season, but if you’re one of those campers who didn’t prepare ahead of time, you might not find yourself in such good spirits.
The hardest decision is usually which festival(s) to spend your money on, but if you’re camping like most people, you might be stumped deciding what to bring, too. Or maybe you’ve been to a fair share and you think you have it down. No matter how many festival stripes you have, this list will help make sure you’ve thought of just about everything. There are plenty of lists out there on Pinterest that start from scratch, but I’m going to assume you already know to bring a tent and toothpaste. I included some helpful basic lists below, in case you just went ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I forgot about toothpaste!’.
I’ve only camped at one festival (soon to be two!), but I tend to over-prepare when it comes to big events, so I'm in a good position to give some advice. A couple of these ideas really saved my butt at TomorrowWorld last year, so I hope you find something useful too!
Well, I think you’re ready for a great weekend of festival camping! The best way to make sure you’re comfortable is to prepare well ahead of time. If there’s anything I left off this list that you think belongs on here, leave me a comment below!
CAMP BISCO, HERE WE COME!
Other headliners include STS9 (a band I’ve heard but don’t know any songs by heart), Atmosphere (another one I’m really excited about seeing for the first time!), Big Gigantic (can’t wait to hear that smooth jazzy saxophone in a live performance!), Tipper (saw him open for Bassnectar on New Year’s Eve, the dude can throw down!), Pretty Lights (been a big fan since high school, but never have seen him live, so I’m chomping at the bit!), and the reason this festival caught my eye, the King of the Sound himself, Bassnectar will be closing out the festival for us on Saturday night with a time slot all to himself. This will be my fourth Bassnectar show, and I have a feeling it’s going to be the most wild one yet! And, from the sound of it, the artists are just as excited as the fans are for Camp Bisco to kick off.
The festival grounds are on a waterpark, so we’ll have plenty of fun things to do while watching sets and in between. I packed a journal and my watercolor paints so I can have some much needed creative expression (the kind that has nothing to do with technology for once!). The whole trip is going to be so rejuvenating, and I’m super happy that Bassnectar is playing on the last night. He will definitely leave us with the perfect ending.
I'm looking forward to forgetting about the real world for a little bit and meeting some new friends, dancing the night away with a bunch of fun-loving strangers, and sleeping under the stars on top of a mountain. It’s going to be the perfect getaway from the mild adulthood anxiety I’ve been experiencing. That’s for another blog post, though! So, we leave tomorrow morning at 4 a.m., and I won’t be online much until we’re back on Monday. Until then, you can check back for the few posts I scheduled for when I’ll be gone! And I’ll definitely still be writing (the old fashioned way!) while I’m gone, so keep an eye out for my recap of the festival!
Writer, stargazer, believer in human beings. Die-hard rock and roller with an insatiable urge to dance my way through life.