By: James Ellington
Over 20,000 people headed to the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, NY in mid-July to attend one of the Northeast’s largest music festivals. Hosted by well-known jam band The Disco Biscuits, Camp Bisco attracts people from all corners of the country. The festival that at one time was a small celebration of electronic and jam band music attended by 800 people has become a staple of the American music festival scene in the last decade.
Every year since the festival’s inception there has been a steady rise in attendance. This year, however, they reduced the total capacity and made way for some serious improvements, including larger dance tents, a third entrance for faster entry, long distance shuttles and added venue facilities.
Photo by: SFARi Photo
The two main stages were positioned side-by-side making for seamless transitions between acts. This setup is likely something that more concerts and festivals will adopt in the future. As one stage is capturing the attention of the crowd, the other is being broken down and set up for the following act. Once an act is finished, without missing a beat, the lights dim and the other stage lights up. The entire crowd shifts over a few feet and is already back dancing.
Highlight: Amon Tobin ISAM
Amon Tobin’s ISAM performance was one of the more unique and original showcases this year. ISAM stands for “Invented Sounds Applied to Music” and that is exactly what it sounded like. His cinematic themes and textures matched beautifully with stunning visuals, which sculpted a performance unlike any other. It consisted of heavily processed sounds, textures and other unworldly-sounding elements pieced together to create magical scenes and movements. ISAM uses state-of-the-art technology to project shape-shifting 3D animation onto a highly complex geometrically-shaped screen that surrounds Tobin while he plays. The real-time projection mapping and generative imagery, along with Tobin’s sound design, created one of the most interesting and unique performances of the festival.
This year Camp Bisco brought in a larger tent than previous years to house the festival’s second-biggest stage. The wider tent allowed for more people inside and made for much better sound quality. This was the place to be for EDM lovers at Camp Bisco. A-Trak, Dillon Francis, Dada Life, Mimosa and many others hit the B.I.G. Tent stage throughout the weekend.
Highlight: Zedd & Porter Robinson
Two of the biggest names in EDM, Zedd and Porter Robinson closed out the first night of the festival with a surprise two-hour back-to-back set. They had no previous plans to play together but about 10 minutes before Zedd was due to go on, the two decided to take their time slots and put them together. Playing side by side, they electrified the big tent with their hard-hitting dance tunes. These two producer/DJs are considered by many as some of the biggest in the game right now. Once word got around camp that they were playing together, the B.I.G. tent became jam-packed in a matter of minutes. The two EDM giants made it look easy as they jumped around the stage and hyped the crowd up, all while mashing some of this year’s biggest tunes.
The label tent was definitely worth visiting this year at Camp Bisco. It was an opportunity for labels like Fools Gold, OWSLA and Ninja Tune to showcase some of their newer and more established artists. Ninja Tune artists who performed include Blockhead, Starkey and FaltyDL. A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs’ Fools Gold label featured acts including Codes, Craze and JWLS.
Photo credit: Nicky Digital
Craze hit the stage at the label tent on the second day of the festival. This 3x DMC world champion hit all of the stops during his 90 minute set. Never taking his hands off of the equipment, he didn’t let a second go by without doing something interesting for the crowd. Mixing between trap/dirty south, electro, house, dubstep and moombahton, he kept his set interesting and the audience dancing. With his unique style of combining classic DJ techniques with the latest genres, Craze takes the art of DJing to another level.
Some festival goers took a different approach and decided to take some of the music into their own hands. With music at the festival proper this year ending at 2:00 am, a lot of people wanted to continue dancing into the night. So they headed deep into the tent city and set up their own shows after the main stages closed down, bringing their own speakers, DJ equipment and power sources to keep the music playing all night.
Photo credit: Nicky Digital
Dubspot’s own Mark Martinez AKA Subset, along with myself and multiple other Dubspotters, coordinated a large afterhours party. Subset played a marathon seven-hour back-to-back set with moombahton giant Sazon Booya. Equipped with a thousand-watt power amp, two 15” club speakers, a Pioneer DJ mixer and CDJs and computers packed with music, the small Dubspot camp lit up the night as music blazed until the morning.