Nestled nearly 1,000 feet above the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, thousands of jamtronica fans were camping among the ski slopes at Montage Mountain for the yearly Camp Bisco Festival hosted by The Disco Biscuits from July 12-14.
After ascending halfway up the mountain in their own vehicles, fans are then guided to either the onsite or offsite parking lots. They unload all their gear and climb aboard one of the many school buses providing shuttle service to the venue’s entrance.
As of 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, one bus driver who also drives students in the local Scranton school district said he had been on shift since 7:00 p.m. the night before, and he wasn’t going to be done until 10:00 p.m. Thursday night, a grueling 27-hour shift. It was apparent that the dollars being thrown into the tip jar he had taped to the dashboard was certainly well-earned.
The life of a Bisco-camper
Many people bring only essentials; a tent, clothes, and a cooler. But then again, this is a music festival so there were plenty of totem poles, glowsticks, and other “necessities” in tow. Others had carts to help haul up essentials like pop-up canopies to their campsites. The shuttle service was expedited and on point, it seemed like Camp Bisco certainly improved in this area compared to it’s previous years which garnered many negative reviews.
Once dropped off at the main gate, campers then hop onto a wagon pulled by 4×4 pickup trucks which take them up the ski slopes to their final destination for the weekend. If they are staying off-site, they can head on into the festival grounds following one more brief safety search of bags and possessions. The majority of Camp Bisco sprawls across the base of Montage Mountain where the ski resort’s lodge and waterpark are located. A wave pool, lazy river with plenty of inflatable tubes, and some super slides are nestled along the mountainside with the “Above The Waves” stage as one of the main attractions.
On day one, it was a dubstep haven at the “Above The Waves” stage including artists BUKU, Squnto, Boogie T., G Jones, and Snails making up most of the lineup for the evening.
Headed to Electric City
Leaving the waterpark area, there are lots of food and other festival vendors ranging from Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to Grassroots California, and Moonmats, taking up most of the middle stretch between the “Above The Waves” stage and “the tunnel” to the main stage, a 16,000+ person amphitheater named “Electric City”.
“The tunnel” isn’t actually a tunnel, but it certainly seems like it. This narrow pathway was a constant cow herd conjoining the two areas of the festival. No alcohol was allowed from one side or the other. Props to the young, LiveNation employee who was constantly making sure people were always walking on the right side, and vocally expressing to all, “Either chug it or chuck it!”
First Show of the Day
At Electric City, fans are welcome to chill out on the lawn or find a seat underneath the pavilion. The pavilion is a great place to relax in the shade. Eventually, it protected thousands from the torrential downpour that would come on the final night of the festival. The storm postponed numerous shows and cut performances short including Liquid Stranger’s set by about 20 minutes.
Boombox was the first band to kick off the festival at the “Electric City” stage. Zion Godchaux (son of Keith and Donna Godchaux who toured with the Grateful Dead during the seventies) and Russ Randolph make up the duo Boombox. Both from Alabama, the duo mixes house-infused drum machine beats with smooth, serenading guitar licks.
Godchaux plays guitar and sings while Randolph mans the laptop and beat machines. This set was a relaxing and fitting performance to ease fans into their dancing shoes before many of the heavier acts started to perform.
Wet and Wild at “Above The Waves”
Later in the evening, BUKU performed a set on the “Above The Waves” stage mixing many bass-heavy dubstep tracks along with some of his signatures like “Here We Go” and “Front to Back”, which garnered many live plays across the country last year.
Squnto followed up with his famous “Mega Chop” set. Unfortunately, his “chop cam” went out due to technical difficulties from a bad wire leading to nearly half of his set lacking any visuals, only a black screen behind him.
Tour buddy, Boogie T. joined the stage after Squnto. It was obvious the number of fans this DJ has gained over the past few years, as nearly the whole hillside was full of fans ready to boogie to the woogie. Boogie T. dropped some wubs, along with some live renditions of his tracks while playing electric guitar. Despite two different ear aching cutouts on the sound system, Boogie kept the vibes alive throughout his whole performance.
Boogie has taken to Facebook to determine what happened to his CDJ’s asking why they are losing connection. Check out the video he posted below.
Fifteen minutes following Boogie’s set, the young, prodigy G Jones joined the “Above The Waves” stage for another impeccable set of intricate yet mindblowing bass music. This was by far the loudest and heaviest show of the night.
G Jones played old classics and a handful of unreleased tracks that will appear on his upcoming debut album. The LP is expected to release later this summer. One fan mentioned this set was the loudest of the whole weekend, or maybe G Jones understands just exactly how to unleash those subs to their fullest potential.
The Disco Biscuits followed by Tipper were the headliners over at the “Electric City” on Thursday night. The Disco Biscuits played out some amazing jams including a particularly special rendition of Pink Floyd’s famous “Run Like Hell’. Following their set, the masses started to form in anticipation of the elusive and mind-boggling set of the one-and-only Tipper.
Tipper joined the stage at 1:00 a.m. to play a solid hour of glitchy, drippy, and squelchy bass music. It was a full hour of downright out-of-this-world sound design. When one listens to Tipper at home, they might not fully understand how bass-heavy his music actually is.
But once seen live, it is obvious that this British composer who once sported the loudest car in the world during his Fuel label years is certainly not messing around. Along for the ride, the amazing Fractaled Visions was in attendance to add a special, psychedelic visual component to Tipper’s performance. Check out the video below for a little taste of what fans witnessed during his set.
Around 8:30 p.m. the official Camp Bisco app announced Space Jesus’ B2B set would include Boogie T.and BUKU. This B2B set would take place at “The Renegade stage” in the RV Section at 4:00 a.m. This set sure kept the night-owls grooving until sunrise.
Connect with Camp Bisco
Stay tuned for a complete review of Camp Bisco’s day two and day three, out soon on OneEDM.
All photo credits by Brandon Benton.