An Inside Look at the 12th Annual Camp Bisco

Camp Bisco 12 proved itself as one of the best, most unique festivals in the world this past weekend as 20,000 people made their way to Indian Lookout Country Club in upstate New York for the 3rd sold-out Camp in as many years.  The festival attracted attendees from far and wide; New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, and even Canadian license plates were spotted on the cars scattered throughout the campgrounds.  With a diverse lineup of jam bands, electronic live acts, and some of the top DJs in the world, Bisco offered music for just about everyone.

Quick Glance:

What we loved:  diverse lineup, easy entry into/out of festival, reasonable food/drink prices, incredible workshops and vendors, and a great overall atmosphere.

What could be improved:  Bathrooms/port-a-potties, increased free water sites, and added locations to purchase ice.

The festival grounds opened Wednesday night at 9pm, allowing attendees to arrive a night early to secure a camping spot.  When we arrived at the festival bright and early Thursday morning, the campsites were at least half-way full.  Before entering the festival, all cars were searched for prohibited items by the security staff.


While we were told to expect a long wait in the car line, we were pleasantly surprised that it lasted only 30 minutes.  The Bisco staff did a great job ushering patrons into the festival.  The staff also did a great job at navigating cars to their camp sites and ensuring that each car had an adequate amount of space next to them for tents to be setup.


Festival goers spent much of early Thursday setting up their campsite and getting acquainted with the lay of the land.


It was not before long that home-made totems began to emerge.  Over the weekend, we saw some awesome totems (just check out our pictures), but our favorites had to be the Bob Saget,  Mugatu (Will Ferrell from Zoolander) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad) cutouts.

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One of the coolest parts of the festival had to be the Silent Disco, which did not start until after midnight each night.  The name pretty much describes the stage… As you enter the Silent Disco, you are handed a pair of wireless headphones, which are synced with whatever the artist at the time is playing.  It was truly one of the most unique experiences ever, jamming out to incredible music while everyone outside of the Silent Disco stage stared as if they were on the outside of an inside joke.  We regret not going each night, but we did manage to catch the final one.

The lineup for day 1 of Bisco was absolutely stacked, however, with so many great acts that all seemed to overlap, it was impossible to catch all of them. We started our day off in the B.I.G. Tent, where we caught a performance by Koan Sound.


Even though it was early in the day, the OWSLA signed duo rocked out to a fairly packed tent and played a great set.  With the sun beating down, the B.I.G. tent was just too hot for us, so we bailed after the beginning of their set.

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Next up we got the chance to catch Macklemore & Ryan Lewis followed by Umphrey’s Mcgee on the main stage.  Both groups put on a great performance, but it was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis that really set the stage for the entire festival.  Right after they performed their opening song, “Ten Thousand Hours”, Macklemore got on the mic and told the crowd that they had come all the way from their European tour to perform at “The best fucking music festival in the world”!

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Soon thereafter we had to head over to the B.I.G. tent again to catch legendary English DJ and producer, Flux Pavilion.  Flux put on an incredible set that was filled with VIP and unreleased tracks.  His set featured many songs from artists on the label he co-owns, Circus Records, as well as many of his own tracks such as “I Can’t Stop” and “Blow the Roof”.

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After Flux Pavilion’s set, we were confronted with a difficult decision: STS9 or Flosstradamus?  The two acts are complete opposites, but are both one of a kind.  We went with Flosstradamus, and while we are sure STS9 put on a great show, we do not regret out decision.  Flosstradamus put on one of their trademark, ratchet, hard, trap filled, simply incredible performances.  The duo certainly know how to hype up a crowd and talk of their performance at Bisco has flooded their social media pages over the past week.  We certainly cannot wait until Floss comes to Philly for the Mad Decent Block Party later this summer.

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After Flosstradamus finished up their set, the skies turned dark black and it looked like it was about to pour.  Because we did not want to sleep in a wet campsite for the next three nights, we headed back to our campsite to make sure everything important was put away.  Fortunately, the rain never came, but we missed out on some great acts as we rushed back to our tent.


When we re-entered the festival we found Dillon Francis absolutely destroying the B.I.G. tent in a fashion unlike any we have ever seen.  Even from our perch in the far back of the tent, Dillon Francis’s performance was truly a site to behold (not to mention music to our ears).  It would have been impossible to count all of the totems that were waving through the air, but needless to say, there were tons.  While some people may find totems annoying as they can block your view of the crowd, they created one of the coolest sights we had ever seen at a show ever.


The production value that went into the B.I.G. tent was top notch, with multiple LED panels and a stunning light show.  Dillon Francis played one of the best sets we have ever heard and the crowd certainly agreed.  There was never a dull moment during his set and we feel sorry for anyone who missed his performance.


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The last act up for the night was Boys Noize. However, because of how packed the tent was, there was no way we could make it into the photo pit to shoot, so we put our camera away and just enjoyed the music.  Boys Noize showcased why he is regarded as one of the best DJs on Earth.  We had a long day ahead of us on Friday, so we only stayed for the first half of Boys Noize’s set before heading back to our camp and going to sleep.


The lineup for Day 2 was just as promising as the first day.  Bassnectar followed by Destroid later in the day promised to be a night filled with bass music.


Up early in the day was Wolfgang Gartner, who never fails to impress with his song selection and mixing.  Gartner had a multitude of fans rocking out non-stop and the hot sun did little to impede the crowd from dancing.


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We then headed to the B.I.G. tent to catch Eskmo and Paper Diamond’s set.  Although playing back to back with one other, the two were total opposites.  Eskmo was experimental (he tapped a lamp on his DJ booth with a drum stick), where as Paper Diamond was hype.  The stark contrast did not seem to draw more or less fans for either act in the packed tent.  We have had the chance to see Paper Diamond several times and each time we are reminded of just how much we enjoy his music.

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After Paper Diamond it was time to head back to the main stage for the one and only Bassnectar.  Maybe the main stage was not loud enough for him, so Bassnectar harnessed the power of all of bass used for both main stages into a performance that was undoubtedly the loudest we had ever heard.  Bassnectar was obviously a huge selling point for many people in attendance and it seemed there wasn’t a single person in the entire festival who was not there for his set.

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After Bassnectar it was time for the Harlem Shake, er, Baauer.  Unfortunately, our camera battery had died during Bassnectar and was charging in the media tent, so we did not get any pictures of Baauer.  But we can tell that you that his set was incredible.  Baauer is by no means a “one-hit wonder” and his live performance was beyond impressive.


We ended day 2 by catching the newly formed Dubstep super group, Destroid.  Destroid features dubstep artists Excision and Downlink alongside KJ Sawka, who was the drummer for Pendulum.  The trio rock alienesque outfits, perform on a stage that looks like a foreign planet, and play some of the craziest music we have ever heard.


Excision and Downlink used midi-guitars that were custom made for them, while KJ Sawka performs on the drums.  A live act Dubstep group performance is something you have to see to believe.  Destroid dropped many of the tracks from their debut album such as “Raise Your Fist”, “Activation” and “Wasteland”.  After Camp Bisco commenced and attendees returned home to their wifi networks, they flooded social media with praise of how crazy Destroid’s performance was. We agree wholeheartedly.

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As if the first and second day of the Camp Bisco lineup weren’t enough, day 3 was the proverbial icing on the cake.  Day 3 was very promising as another diverse lineup had been crafted to give all  fans something to enjoy. 

Having seen Danny Brown in Philadelphia we were excited to get the chance to see him again at Bisco and he did not disappoint.  Danny Brown performs with more energy than just about any artist we can think of.  He also manages to sound just as good live as he does on his album, which is no easy, nor common, task for rappers.


When the line-up for Camp was released, and we saw that Zeds Dead was on it, we were excited for their performance. However, we did not expect to be completely blown away.  Having seen Zeds Dead multiple times, this was by far our favorite performance by the Canadian duo.  They mixed their songs with perfection and their track selection was spot on.  There was a huge turnout for their set, and as their name would suggest, Zeds Dead totally killed it.

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Some other great performances on day 3 came from Passion Pit, Dirtyphonics, Congorock, Crizzly, and Project 46.  Dirtyphonics had incredible energy and played some tasty tracks that spanned multiple genres.  Crizzly had the crowd going absolutely nuts during his entire set.  Congorock and Project 46 mixed all types of house music together and had some of the better sets we saw during the weekend.

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Having never seen The Disco Biscuits, we saved our first time for their final performance of the night.  The group that is responsible for bringing the incredible weekend together seemed to save their best performance for last.  Alongside one of the greatest light/visual displays we had ever seen, the Disco Biscuits played some amazing music to a crowd that obviously was feeling bittersweet,  ecstatic in the present moment, but dreading the end of the final set because it would mark the end of Camp Bisco 12.

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[Photo credit: Garfinkel’s Photos]

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