In just one week on Thursday, July 14th, the space ship that is Camp Bisco is taking off for its 14th intergalactic odyssey. We’re thrilled and honored to help cover and document the adventure that’s awaiting us on Montage Mountain in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and we quickly wanted to thank our readers and the Camp Bisco Fam (join the Facebook group here) for boosting our articles and supporting the grass-roots coverage we provided last year. (In case you missed them, check out The Things You Hear at Bisco and The Other Things You Hear at Bisco). We attended for our first time in 2015 at the new venue, and to say the experience changed our lives would be a rude understatement. Words don’t really work when you try to explain Camp Bisco to someone who’s never been, but I guess we’ll take a shot at it with this preview. That said, the only way to truly understand the ethos of Camp Bisco is to attend. Tickets are still available right here, and if you’re on the fence, read these 10 reasons why we love Camp Bisco here at Sound Fix. It would be an honor if we converted some friends into true Nabisco Triscuits with this preview. (While you read, check out this prickly new-ish track by Zeds Dead, who are performing on Saturday. Fair warning: might be a bit distracting as you read).
10. Bisco always stacks a lineup with an eclectic mix of musical acts.
Although it might appear at first glance the festival organizers arranged far more electronic music than “non-electronic” music this year, when I dug into the lineup a bit more, I realized that was more of an optical illusion than anything else. There are approximately 21 “non-electronic” acts on the lineup. The Disco Biscuits are performing 6 sets, so that’s 26 different non-EDM performances on the menu. That’s an average of 8.66 chances to experience something different than electronic music each day. (I love electronic music, by the way, but I’m just trying to put this all into an objective perspective to make a point). These acts are The Disco Biscuits, Big GRiZmatic (I’d call them a band), Lotus, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Gibbz, Pleasure, Lettuce, The New Deal, Papadosio, RAQ, Thundercat, Funky Dawgz Brass Band, G-Nome Project, STS9, Future Rock, Keys N’ Krates, Lil Dicky, Tourist, American Babies, The Indobox, and SunSquabi. If you ask me, I’d call that variety.
9. There’s a fully-functioning water park in the festival grounds.
During the summer when it’s not besieged by a band of jolly ravers and hippies, Montage Mountain is a full-blown water park equipped with a huge funnel slide, a lazy river, a group racing slide, and a vicious wave pool. There’s nothing better than cooling off in a pool after a good, healthy rave. Towards the end of the weekend, I’d highly suggest wearing goggles and other skin-protective equipment, because last year on Saturday the water clearly changed colors. I heard some pretty funny stories about people dropping doses by accident into the wave pool, and about a Nabisco Triscuit taking a vial of the water back to his lab at school to test the lovely water of Bisco for all sorts of chemicals. I haven’t seen the results, but I also heard they opened the water park up to small children the Monday after the festival. This all said – the water park is an amazing touch.
8. You can take a chairlift up the mountain and zip-line down over the stages and festival grounds.
The line takes literally forever when you get to the top of the hill, but once you’ve made it up to the professionally organized zip-line crew, you’re in for a ride you’ll never forget. I remember my girlfriend and I waited and zipped down over a huge crowd of festival attendees dancing to Rufus Du Sol. We took some badass videos during our flight that I’ll cherish forever. Plus, they hired a comic to stand on the top of the mountain and entertain the crowd while they waited.
7. Snakes, snakes and more snakes.
I’m kidding but slightly serious. Kidding in the sense that the presence of rattle snakes on Montage Mountain is not something someone would typically buy a weekend festival pass for (unless you’re into that kind of stuff), and slightly serious in the sense that people really did spot and kill snakes on Montage Mountain. I heard this hilarious story, which I documented in The Things You Hear at Bisco, about this guy who walked over to a bunch of dudes tripping, holding a massive dead rattlesnake by its tail. The guy asked the group how they killed the snake, and the spunions replied, “Dude, we just beat the shit out of it.” Triumphant laughter ensues.
6. The Gouda Boys will be there again this year.
I’m obsessed with eating the cheesy creations and culinary masterpieces Maine’s own Gouda Boys serve at music festivals. Once you’re physically able to eat at Bisco, which can sometimes be few and far between, I highly suggest stopping at their tent. To make things even tastier, we were just told the Gouda Boys will premier a brand new dish at Camp Bisco 2016. This shoutout is also emblematic of the overall quality of food options the festival organizers provided for Camp last year. It’s always smart to save by bringing food to festivals, but you should really set aside $20 – $30 for a couple trips to the food vendors.
5. Like the Gouda Boys, Moonmats and Grassroots California are both returning this year.
If you’ve never stepped on a Moonmat before, you owe your feet a sincere apology. If you’ve never heard of them before, a Moonmat is a patented neon mat you can cary around and lay on at festivals. Gubb, the bass player for Twiddle, typically stands on one during their performances because they’re incredibly comfortable to just be on top of. In my humble opinion, Grassroots California designs some of the best hats on Planet Earth. Dopapod, Twiddle, and a number of other bands rely on Grassroots to produce artistic, swaggy band merchandise. To add to the madness, Grassroots just released a line of fresh “chain hoods.” Check them out here. Like #6, these shoutouts are again emblematic of the quality of merchandise and art vendors Bisco peppers its festival grounds with each year. Get ready to break the bank on Shakedown Street next weekend boys and girls.
4. The “Above the Waves Stage” is one of the coolest open-air venues I’ve ever seen.
Like its name suggests, this stage is literally above the wave pool at Montage Mountain. I will never forget splashing around like a Megalodon Shark during Jauz’s penultimate performance during the last day of Bisco ’15. The irony was just too thick to not pretend to be a vicious prehistoric predator while swimming around in a wave pool which was essentially a third of the dance floor. To get a taste of what I’m talking about, check out this video of Bisco’s crowd going nuts when heRobust drops Rusko’s “Woo Boost” at the Above the Waves Stage.
3. I kid you not, Bisco’s lineup staff is a group comprised of wizards, three-eyed ravens, and soothsayers.
What I mean by this, is the people who put together Camp Bisco’s lineup are incredibly attuned to modern music and will schedule musical acts that will, without doubt, blow up in the next 6-12 months. If you do not know a band on the lineup, you will know all about them in 6-12 months time. For example, I would argue Jauz was big, but not enormously popular before his Camp Bisco set. They scheduled him to play the second to last set of the festival, right before Tipper, and in my opinion, he served that festival slot with teethy justice. Maybe that singular performance in ways launched his meteoric rise to fame, but look at him now – he’s almost a household name in the world of EDM. I’m really looking forward to catching some of these incredible up-and-coming bands take off during and after Bisco. A few predictions I have in mind include SunSquabi, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, and FKJ.
2. The Disco Biscuits.
These prolific musicians are the masterminds behind Camp Bisco and the founding fathers of this intergalactic event. They perform incredible live sets riddled with space sounds, upper-echelon bass playing, gnarly guitar solos, and genre-bending elements, and the festival is gifted with six different opportunities to catch them play next weekend. They’re also wildly attuned to the shifting tides of the music industry and have willingly allowed different genres of music to stake their claims in the festival’s lineup each year. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Allen (drums), Brownie (bass), Barber (guitar) and Magner (keys, synths), and you should too. Check them out on Facebook.
1. Call me cliche and corny, but the people at Camp Bisco is my number one reason for attending.
When I got home from Camp Bisco last year, my head hurt due to obvious reasons, but my belly was literally in pain from laughing all weekend. I will confidently say there is not a funnier community of people on this planet than the community that comes out to Camp Bisco each year. Don’t believe me? Read this collection of funny one liners I published last year, and then if you want more, check out this one. I walked away from Camp Bisco last year with more new friends who I still keep in touch with than I can count. I can’t wait to reunite with some of these amazing people this year, and I truly hope you walk away with a similar collection of hilarious memories and new partners in crime as I did. Hope to see some of you there, and email me if you want to meet up (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
PS – join the Camp Bisco Fam if you want to start connecting with the crew before the festival, and stay tuned for our annual Camp Bisco Spotify playlist over the next few days (here’s the link to last year’s).