After a year hiatus, Camp Bisco returned for the 13th time.
Camp Bisco is a three-day music festival organized by Philadelphia jam band The Disco Biscuits. The Disco Biscuits have been running Camp Bisco since the early 2000s, recruiting an assortment of their favorite artists to perform for thousands as part of this highly-anticipated weekend extravaganza. People travel from all over, coming from as far as Wisconsin and as close as New York, just to be able to partake in the weekends festivities. This festival has grown to become one of the more popular festivals in both the jam band and electronic scenes, with over 100 acts jam packed into three days and music running as late as 4 a.m.
Camp Bisco did not happen in 2014 due to the amount of drug-related deaths and hospitalizations that had occurred years prior. The Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, N.Y., which housed Camp Bisco for so many years, did not allow the festival to return due to the negative reputation the festival had gained. I attended my first Camp Bisco in 2013. Despite having had a great time, the number of people I saw overdosed on various substances was alarming and definitely dampened the mood. Over the years, the festival had become less about the music and more about the partying.
However, this year the festival made a return, finding its new home at the Montage Mountain Water Park in Scranton, Pa. a little less than two hours away from Montclair. My friends and I got to camp atop the Montage Mountain, waking up to a beautiful view of Scranton each morning. But the fact that it was located on a mountain meant for a weekend of hiking between 15 to 20 minutes uphill from stage to stage. The water park element proved very useful in keeping cool, but by the end of the festival the water had gained a faint brown color. Also available for the festival goers were hundreds of food, clothing/jewelry and art vendors.
Chaos arose at Camp Bisco on Saturday, with a strong storm causing attendees to evacuate the festival grounds. Thankfully, the storm cleared, allowing the music to continue on for the night. The already over-sold festival allowed thousands more onto Montage Mountain on Saturday, the majority of them coming solely to see DJ/producer Bassnectar perform. I was blown away by the actions of this particular fan base, who camped out at the stage for 10+ hours with their backs turned to all other acts performing on the stage that Bassnectar would perform at later on in the evening.
No one can be sure what the future holds for Camp Bisco, or if it will ever find a permanent home, but there was definitely a noticeable effort put in by both the staff and the fans to try and make this year’s Camp Bisco better than the last one in 2013. Although the festival had a lot of ups and down, it was great experience. Some highlights of the weekend were sets performed by The Disco Biscuits (PA), Papadosio (NC), Tipper (UK) and STS9 (CA).