It would be unfair to “review” Camp Bisco 2012. Its sheer size and feel is impossible to capture in a write-up. Rather than simplify the throbbing bass, the throngs of people crisscrossing paths in various stages of stumbling reality and the obvious dangers of having 15,000 campers on one site, I’ll say no more than…what a trip.
EDM is taking over the popular conscience of American music. David Guetta has crossed his Ibiza-flavored dance party into the bloodstream of the US pop market while acts like Skrillex, Deadmau5 and the Swedish House Mafia pack festivals from Spring to Fall. So why is Electronic Dance Music so contagious right now? It’s the vibe. The energy and carefree nature of festivals like Camp Bisco is unrelenting. Freedom in the air pumping super bass for kids young and old. There are no rules, no parents and no limit on the beer. Doses, double stacks and capsules are all around. It’s an electronic playground…it’s Camp Bisco 2012.
My crew and I arrived around ten thirty am in Mariaville, NY twenty minutes outside of Albany. We didn’t have a parking pass, but since security was run by families and the local chapter of the Hells Angels, that didn’t much matter. The car search was quick and less than thorough and we were able to park right at our camp site. By noon our tent was constructed, we had beer on ice and could hear a certain throbbing bass close by in the distance.
The site was designed for massive lots of camp sites to surround a “town” of activity which included merchandise, food vendors, art exhibits and two massive main stages which were side by side. The stage layout was excellent. While much of the weekend was plagued by poor planning, (ie. running out of ice and not selling any sort of drinking water in bulk) the music schedule was flawless. The headliners and main stage acts went off one after another, rotating back and forth throughout the day.
The music was great. Skrillex’s set was high energy and error free. Amon Tobin’s stage show was incredible, as the crowd was memorized by his visual platform which seemed to be more carefully planned out than the set. A highlight of the weekend was Brooklyn electronic duo Break Science who featured Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na. Their blend of beats and rhymes was a welcomed break from the relentless breakdowns and strobes that dominated the three-day fest. As always, The Disco Biscuits funk/hippie/dance hybrid captivated the crowd with multiple sets all weekend, while a giant ferris wheel glistened in the distance.
Swedish duo Dada Life raged hard in one of the site’s party tents on Friday night. Their command of a crowd of a few thousand was impressive. Dada said jump, and motherfuckers jumped. They kicked off their set with Tim Berg’s “Alcoholic” and continued to rev up from there. They played until nearly 3 am. Insane light show and creepy food-inspired visuals punctuated their much-anticipated set.
The festival was a blast, but wouldn’t be life without its problems. One man overdosed and was found dead in his tent and countless others were rushed through the site on ATV’s for medical attention. Although I hate to speculate and only speak from what I saw, it seemed that drugs were the focus of the event. There were pushers moving from site to site offering anything you could possibly imagine. If you have a weakness for chasing a rush, Camp Bisco is your playground.
There’s something to said for the energy and bond that came from this event. Strangers turned campers became neighbors and ultimately friends. A two-hour line for a shower seemed logical in the early morning heat. A porta-potty just made sense. Sleep was rare and happened only in the quiet of a late Friday rainstorm. Bass, bass and more bass. Molly, E and marijuana. Take it or leave it Camp Bisco 2012 came, saw and conquered.