We trampled the ground.
Step by step, skip by skip, raging dance move after raging dance move, the 25,000 attendees of Camp Bisco collectively killed every last bit of lush green grass that grows on rolling hills of Mariaville, New York last weekend.
We didn’t mean any harm. Think about our demographic break-down - half of us were hippie-dippy, environmentally-conscious tree huggers. We couldn’t swat a fly if someone paid us to.
But alas, we trampled the grounds of the Indian Lookout Country Club. Armed with the notion that grass always sprouts back, that all things which grow in nature have beautifully simple life cycles in which they die and are replaced with similar creatures, we danced the days away. Using every inch of real estate available to us, we explored the campgrounds, raced each other to the ferris wheel, pushed and shoved our ways to the front of the stage. The grass was gone, kicked around and trapped under our sneakers, and the dust flowed unchallenged.
Walking through a thick fog of dust may not sound like a relaxing weekend to an outsider looking in, but for us, it was a joining force in our tight-knit, temporary community. Covering our faces with bandanas, racing through packs of tissues, we shared our supplies freely without expectations of paybacks. We were coexisting in this musical dust bowl together - stuffed noses, black lungs, dirty fingernails and all.
In its 11th year, Camp Bisco is bigger and better than ever. When The Disco Biscuits hosted their first festival in Cherry Tree, PA in 1999, they were probably ecstatic with the 800-person turnout. A decade later, Camp Bisco has grown tenfold to become a staple summer festival for house-heads, dead-heads and hip-hop-heads alike. Staying true to the festival’s goal of “combining sets by electronic DJs with improvisational rock bands,” Bisco ignored genre-boundaries to provide a weekend of eclectic musical offerings for all to enjoy.
There really was something for everyone. Two main stages sat side-by-side, one for live bands and one for DJs/rappers, allowing audience members to see back-to-back acts without running across the 200-acre space. Across the campgrounds stood the Label Tent (which catered to electronic acts) and the B.I.G Tent (the dubstep tent). I’ve seen my share of festivals botch their tent setups, with too few speakers or too narrow of a stage. But Bisco gets an A++ for their tenting skills; the B.I.G Tent provided flawless sound quality, and the structure allowed fans to see the stage from any vantage point in the crowd. Womps and wobbles roared throughout the speakers to audience members hundreds of feet back - it’s always refreshing to see a stage done correctly.
As the dust settled Sunday morning, we stood in amazement of the now deserted community that once thrived with life and love and laughter. We packed up our belongings and prepared for the long descent back to “the real world.” We were leaving Camp Bisco, humbled by the pure harmony in which humans can exist, and devastated that our journey had come to an end. But our camping neighbor, a boy named Ryan from Louisville, Kentucky who had quickly become one of my closest friends, spoke sweet, soft words which reminded me that although the festival was over, we were now all connected on the continuous journey of life:
“We’ll see you later. If not here, then there. If not there, than anywhere.”
Now, time for the musical details: Inside Camp Bisco Part II: The Music