Road to Camp Bisco – Greg Sarafan
The first time someone played the Disco Biscuits for me, all I could say was “turn off that noise.” I just didn’t get it, the sounds they made were strange and I couldn’t wrap my head around the music they made. My friend attempted several more times over the next few weeks to try and play them for me. I liked other music in the same genre, but I just didn’t understand how anyone could like ‘that’ music. A few months after, when a second friend invited me to go see the Biscuits with her, I decided to at least go check it out. I was home from school and had nothing else to do. By the end of the first song, I knew I had been wrong about the Biscuits. Not only that — I knew I’d be back.
The next time I saw the Biscuits was Saturday of Camp VIII, my first Camp Bisco. What a muddy and awesome time that was. Really, I can’t emphasize enough how muddy it was. Within the first 20 feet of passing through the main gate, I was out of my car helping push the car in front of ours out of what seemed like two feet of mud. Sweaty, tired, and covered in mud, the first hour of my first Camp was unforgettable.
I set up my campsite went to explore. [Full disclosure, our site that year was an Easy-up with cardboard boxes as a floor.] Shoes were lost that year, they just got stuck in the mud; sandals didn’t really help either, you would just slide around and fall on your ass. So, barefoot it was. I walked around with ankle deep mud squishing between my toes and didn’t regret it at all — well, until the next day.
Camp VIII was like no other festival I have ever been to. Almost everyone was there to see the same band. Well, at least at Camp VIII that was the case. I distinctly remember during the Perfume vs Tractorbeam set on Saturday it seemed like everyone around me knew every word to every song. All 3 sets of the Biscuits that day blew me away. It was that day I became a fan for life as did many of my friends. It wouldn’t be until years later that I would understand what an amazing day of music Saturday of VIII really was.
Camp IX I was able to attend in style. Over the year between VIII and IX I had met some of the great people that run MCP Productions and decided to help them out with promotion throughout the year. By the time Camp IX came around, I found myself with a pair of VIP tickets and life was sweet. My favorite memory of that Camp has to be the Bethany (Orchard Lounge) vs. Magner DJ battle. Sorry Mags, but Bethany kicked your ass. Later that weekend, Bethany summed up perfectly how I feel about Camp Bisco: she would rather be here than anyplace else; “this is home.”
Camp IX cannot be discussed without at least mentioning the ridiculous electrical storm that forced everyone back to their tents Saturday night. I know I’ve never experienced a storm like that nor have most people I have talked to who were there. Lightning flashing across the sky every 2 to 3 seconds. Not just from ground to cloud but from cloud to cloud, ground to the sky, sky to crowd, sky to stage, and everything in between. It seemed as if there were at least 2 lightning strikes on the campgrounds. Out of their tents when the storm ended, everyone danced down the path towards the main stage, to Eddie Grant‘s Electric Avenue, a song that the Biscuits seem to play pretty frequently during such breaks.
Camp X was a different experience all together. So many more tickets sold, so much more dubstep, so many more friends to hang out with even when I wandered off by myself. At each Camp Bisco there is a highlight that I always think back to. At X it had to be the inverted Confrontation on Saturday afternoon. An amazing fast-paced version that spurred me to dance in the saga with my friends under the giant installation in the back of the main field.
Shpongle Live at Camp X was an experience I will never forget as long as I live:
For those of you who were lucky enough to catch their set at Camp Bisco X, you can attest to how extraordinary it was. I’m not going to lie, at first I was baffled to see that Shpongle wasn’t given a night set time considering that they are known for the visualizations that accompany their trippy melodies. I was hoping for the whole experience and was prepared to enter Shpongleland. Deprived of darkess they brought on an epic storm, even by Camp Bisco standrards. When Simon Posford stepped on stage, the first thing he said was: “Lets pray to the weather gods for some exciting weather.” Right at that moment, the rain picked up and the sky lit up and bolts of lightning flashed across the sky.
Camp Bisco XI was a treat. I was free to roam the festival as I pleased. I met up with my friends when I came across them and quickly departed when I fancied; I listened to whatever music I wanted, even if my friends didn’t. The highlights were numerous but Lotus and Future Rock really stand out to me as something that most of my friends chose not to go to that I think they now regret. Lotus was a hard choice to make over Emancipator but I sure do not regret it. The Biscuits of course were the real highlight in my eyes. They played very few shows last year and even after catching two out of three of the Road to Camp Bisco shows, I still hadn’t had enough. Arriving late I only caught the end of their first set of the weekend from the gate. Listening to the Biscuits finish up their set in the distance and trying to discern what they were playing was like a fun little game I played with my friend as we waited to enter the festival. The rest of the sets that weekend were memorable but nothing more than Tricycle>Great Abyss> Spacebirdmatingcall, the highest of the highlights of my Camp Bisco XI experience.
I experienced huge changes in my relationship with the festival between Camp X and Camp XI. Starting Sensible Reason and making connections in the industry has given me a new perspective on festivals in general. I will never forget the day I looked at CampBisco.net and saw Sensible Reason’s logo up on the partners page — something I never expected to experience, at least not this early in the game. Being part of the machine that makes a festival happen even peripherally was an experience that put a giddy little glowing feeling in my chest and hop in my step. Helping to engender the excitment around the festival is a great feeling. The creation of the Road to Camp Bisco series is my own unique contribution to the megalith of material that promulgates to the masses what Camp Bisco is really about.
At this point in my life I would go to Camp Bisco even if it was only the Disco Biscuits playing. Every year people complain and bitch about the lineup: it sucks, it’s amazing, I hate this, I love that. Though commentary on the lineup never ends, that’s not what it’s really about. It’s about the Disco Biscuits, plain and simple. There is nothing else like arriving at Indian Lookout Country Club and knowing that you are about to see 6 amazing sets of your favorite band. If the Biscuits are your favorite band, then there’s even more icing on the cake. Most likely there are going to be friends and family there that you only see at shows. People you love and miss, that you only see once a year at camp, that makes the experience that much more special. If that’s not enough for you, MCP has picked out a bunch of other acts that you can go see to fill the space between the Biscuits sets. Safe travels to all of you on your way to Mariaville.
Camp Bisco is a festival I love and a place I call home somewhere beyond the Zex Sea. I look forward to working yet again with MCP Presents for a second year as media partner. I am proud and excited by Sensible Reason’s association with Camp Bisco and can’t wait for Camp Bisco XII!
Sensible Reason is looking for submissions to our Road to Camp Bisco (RtCB) series. Please submit posts to email@example.com. For more information on how to write your own and examples of last years posts check out this link!