After a one-year hiatus Camp Bisco returns to a new home in Scranton, Pennsylvania at Montage Mountain. This new home offered a wide array of different activities for festival-goers to partake in but it definitely was not without hiccups. After traveling 11+ hours through the night from Chicago to Scranton we arrived at the off site parking around 6:30am to a beautiful sunrise but that’s not all…a long line of tired and cold festival goers stranded at the bottom of the mountain stare back at us. After waiting in the off-site line for well over four hours, we finally were placed on a shuttle up the hill only to be greeted with yet another grueling line. At this point everyone was exhausted, dehydrated and fed up with everything that we had already endured to get to this point; but little did we know it was not over. Once on the poorly run tracker shuttle and dropped at the bottom of the hill, we were greeted with the epic trek up the side of the ski hill to get to our camping spots. Campers and their gear was scattered all over the rocky paths and panting as the sun beat down on our backs. After pushing and pulling our very limited amount of camping gear up numerous paths; we settled on a spot shaded by some of the beautiful lush forest that was situated beneath the ski lifts…. and that is where camp Dante’s Inferno was born.
Now I know what you are thinking, why the HELL would you put up with all that? Let me tell you, the music made up for all the crap we had to deal with throughout the weekend. I have never heard so many great sets in one place. The music didn’t start till Thursday evening so we had time to recover from the extreme task of getting to our camping spot. The evening started with a literal bang at Zoogma’s set, where if you have read anything about Camp Bisco this year you probably know what happened. A disgruntle fest-head leapt on stage and crashed into their equipment, cutting the sound. Besides that minor incident, their set was a great way the start the weekend. Atmosphere was up next on the main stage – Electric City. This large pavilion tent housed some of the best music of the weekend, with amazing views from the lawn; there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. As the crowds began to fill, it was time for my personal favorite to take the stage, STS9! Bringing a fire set, everyone washed away their tired vibes from the seemingly never-ending journey. With a quick run back to camp, we passed by hip hop group Flatbush Zombies at the Above the Waves stage, which literally was next to a wave pool. Festival-goers could enjoy the music while they floated in the water with waves crashing on them. The first set of six amazing Disco Biscuits sets was just getting underway at Electric City when we returned. Sunset disco DJ Goldroom, provided a great intro to the late night party that was about to happen. Pretty Lights took on the main stage shortly after and the feeling in the air was unmatched. Floods of people lined the pavilion seats and packed the lawn, eagerly awaiting the nasty beat and amazing light performance that was about to ensue. It was like Derek was a conductor for the thousands of people dancing in unison. The night closed out with a DJ set by Classixx, at Above the Waves, where some were still enjoying the comfort of the wave pool in the cool nights air.
Awaking Friday, everyone was sore from the trekking and constant dancing and shenanigans from the night before. Luckily for us we could enjoy the groovy music of Tauk from our campsite, which got us pumped for what the day had to offer. First up on the list was The Motet at Electric City. Along the way we spotted a spray paint duo, Pineapple Paint, who were doing body-art paint so naturally we had to stop. After getting painted it was Motet time. Their funky beats with jazz influences were a soothing soundtrack to the afternoon. Brother duo, The Floozies, laid some fresh electronic beats, which got the crowd jumping at Above the Waves. Emancipator had the crowd entranced with their spine tingling tracks from their upcoming album “Seven Seas.” Getting from Above the Waves to Electric city was quite a challenge during peak times especially with the multiple alcohol check points along the way but finally after making our way through the seas of people we made it just in time for Mr. Carmack. Walking into the furthest stage, Steamtown, it was apparent that he was on the wrong stage; the place was completely packed shoulder to shoulder. With a slight sound issue leaving him with no sound for a bit, he made up for it by throwing down a nasty set for the jam-packed crowd. Set three of the Biscuits followed as beams of lasers shot well into the crowd, everyone got down with their jams. The sax slaying Big Gigantic closed out the main stage and they definitely did not disappoint! Tucked away right in the middle of the venue laid the Disco Lodge, which held most of the after hours. Since we had not checked it out yet we decided to give it a go, Buffalo Analog, from Exmag, was laying the tracks for the early morning dance party. On our way back to camp we stumbled upon Camp Hate, a renegade stage that was playing some deep beats that we couldn’t resist. As the sun started to peak over the mountains it was time to head back to camp to recoup for the final day.
Saturday started with the flood of one day only campers filing in, taking whatever space they could find left. After the late night, The Werks were a great into soundtrack to the final day. One of my other favorite sets from the weekend came from Moon Hooch, a saxophone, percussion trio, at Steamtown stage. As the day progressed the music started to shift into party mode to prepare for the evening’s main event, Bassnectar. Exmag threw down an amazing set at Above the Waves. At this point there was a shift in the wind as a severe storm started to approach the area, a voice came over the intercom announcing that everyone must exit the venue and return to their camps. Right after that the downpour started, rain came down from the sky in sheets soaking the grounds lasting about 45 minutes. As the skies began to clear a beautiful double rainbow appeared over the backside of Above the Waves stage. This was the theme for the entire weekend, although things may have been rough at times; to find a rainbow, you must weather the storm. With the storm an updated schedule was announced and no acts were cut. Papadosio was up on Above the Waves playing at the end of the rain and delivering an amazing set to the freshly washed crowd. The air was thick with excitement at the second to last Disco Biscuits set as they pumped the crowd up for the hours and fifteen-minute block of Bassnectar. Although there has been a lot of controversy going around the Internet over these back to back sets and disgruntle fans of each artist, from where we were everyone was pleasant and having a great time with each other.
As the time approached for Bassnectar to take the stage all you could see was a sea of people anxiously waiting for him to step on stage. As soon as the first note played out those speakers, the crowd went completely wild. Each with their own style of dance, Bassnectar brought everyone together for the love of music. The night closed out with a trippy set from British composer Tipper. A sadness hung in the air as a final note sang from the speakers as Tipper walked off stage; no one was ready for the weekend to end.
I will spare the details of the exit but I will give a clue that it was quite similar to our experience entering the festival. Overall there were some amazing times had this past weekend by each festival-goer, but there are definitely some logistical issues that need to be worked out for future Bisco’s. This is going to be the case for any new location; The Disco Biscuits are aware of the issues and plans are already in the works to improve the hang-ups next year. The weekend is about the music, which did not disappoint. We will definitely be returning next year but with a bit of advice: be sure to bring your hiking shoes.