I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a group called The Disco Biscuits found themselves in Scranton, PA. They were searching far and wide when finally they stumbled upon it: the perfect place for a new venue, a festival, and an unforgettable weekend. Fast forward to July 13, 2017 and Wooks and Wonders from all over the East Coast found their way to this magical place, Montage Mountain, envisioned by the Biscuits just a few years earlier. The fans are all packed up and ascending Montage Mountain to enjoy themselves in childlike wonderment. They’ve made it back to Summer camp, however this time around, things look a bit different. Stages with incredible combinations of lights and speakers have sprung up all over the place. There are vendors selling all kinds of trinkets and treats. This is no ordinary camp experience. This is Camp Bisco.
This year’s edition of Camp Bisco held many surprises, and we happily made our way to Montage Mountain, excited for what was in store. We were met by early challenges to start the weekend as the drenching rain began to shower down upon us. The rain was a common theme for the weekend, but while our bodies may have felt drained and drowned, our spirits were not! While Thursday is usually the quieter and more relaxed day of festival weekends, in perfect Bisco style, the party began in full swing on the first night. The opening set, and arguably one of the most memorable sets of the weekend, came from a PA local who has been shell shocking his way through the dubstep scene: ‘Subtronics’. He laid down one of the most epic, and inspiring performances we can remember to kick off a festival and his iridescent stage presence shined a light onto the soaked crowd who couldn’t seem to get enough of the young producer. Dropping heater after heater, we found ourselves having to catch our breath a few times throughout the set. This set pushed us to our limits in the best ways possible, and it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.
Coincidentally, it seemed that our last set of the night was just as epic as our first. ‘Griz’ took the headlining slot for this year’s opening day and absolutely blew the roof off of the main pavilion stage. Griz’s ability to infuse songs from all corners of electronic music with his own funk-filled originals, turned the crowd upside down, inciting a party that seemed to come close to riot qualifications. We left Griz with smiles on our faces and our feet completely danced out for the night. However, that didn’t stop us from discovering a secret set happening in the RV section of the camp grounds. Experimental heavy hitters ‘Space Jesus’ and ‘Digital Ethos’ kept the party going for eager fans who did not want the night to end. Falling asleep at the set, we knew the rain and the long day on the mountain had left us for dead, and we retreated back to our campsite happily defeated.
Our Friday started the same way our Thursday did: soaking wet. Friday was, unfortunately, a day where our photographer experienced a lot of technical difficulties due to the rain. While we were distracted by the camera issues, we continued to stay determined to get our fill of the Bisco experience. Our highlight sets of Friday ranged in style and genre dramatically. First, we had the lovely pleasure of catching another PA native, ‘Louis Futon’, who brought and an incredible amount of electric energy to the already charged mountain. His set sparked an irresistible groove that echoed through the crowd and boomeranged its way back to the stage, creating a full 360 experience. This set was unique, fresh, and had the perfect balance of crowd pleasing party music and intensely emotional anthems. It seemed that the Pennsylvania artists really came with their A-Game this year at Camp Bisco.
As we transitioned into the night, ‘Lotus’ was the next set which really moved us. The band’s incredibly particular sound is one that is extremely well known at Bisco, as they seem to play the festival almost every year. The green was filled with excited fans who found themselves lost in the sounds floating from the stage. It seems that Lotus cannot find a way to disappoint their dedicated fan base, and we have joined their ranks after this weekend. We can’t wait to see them in Philly later this Fall. Finally, depending on where you stand, the famous/infamous Bassnectar experience touched down on Bisco. Lorin Ashton seemed to bring with him a rocking thunderstorm from the rain gods which forced fans inside of the tent, making the place feel like a can of sardines. The crowded tent was insane. People seemed to be preparing their energy for battle before the set, and once Bassnectar’s first track dropped, that preparation let loose. Bassnectar is an act who continues to cheerfully surprise us every time we see him. This set was no different, and we got everything we needed from it. Another year of Nectar at Camp Bisco in the books, we ended our Friday night.
We awoke Saturday extremely weathered, to say the least. Human beings are not supposed to be wet for this long and we found that out the hard way. However, as we took our first steps back into the music grounds, the happy and chipper faces of all of our fellow Bisconians, shot energy into us like a breath of fresh air. We quickly made it over to Action Bronson’s set to get our fill of hip-hop that we so desperately needed. Bronson proved why he is considered to be one of the most respected hip-hop acts in the world. He performed with ease, grace, and illuminating prowess. He surprised us even more by taking to the microphone to sing at various points of his set, and to our surprise, his voice was quite angelic.
We got down and dirty with Bronson before continuing our journey through the last hours of Bisco. After Bronson, caught one of our favorite house music acts, The Knocks. If you’ve followed Independent Philly for a while, you know how much we adore this Brooklyn duo and it was a treat to get to see them perform at Bisco. Next up, we caught a wonderful day three set from the founders of Bisco, The Disco Biscuits. We were happily surprised to see a large amount of the younger crowd at Bisco in attendance for that set. They jammed the early night away and left us wondering where the time had gone.
Pleasantly buzzing, we finished our night with a hard hitting combination of sets by Ganja White Night, Kill the Noise, 12th Planet, and Pretty Lights. All of these artists took their stages as if they had waited their entire lives for the moment. It’s hard for us to really choose one as our favorite, as every set had its own unique areas where the artists found their shine. Pretty Lights grooved out so hard that we are anxious with anticipation to see him with the live band at Moonrise next month! Kill the Noise brought out 12th Planet during his set for an B2B set. These dubstep legends put on quite a show for the crowd with a mixture of epic highs and deep lows. Although the majority of our time was wonderful, the last four artists we caught at the end comprised our favorite time that we spent on the Mountain, and as the final set ended, we found ourselves walking back to pack up our campsite gloomy that the event was over.
The only thing we truly knew leaving Bisco, is that we can’t wait to be back for next year to see all of the surprises and fun that that experience has in store for us. It’s not a goodbye Montage Mountain and Camp Bisco, it’s just a see you soon!
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[Photos by C2H2 Photo]
[Article by Ching Chen & Gabrielle Meunier]
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