FESTIVAL REVIEW – Dirtybird Campout West 2018: One for the Books!

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Kicking off fall festivities and rounding up summer festivals for 2018, the 4th annual Dirtybird Campout West was nothing short of incredible. In fact, this may have been the best one yet.

Courtesy of Infamous PR / Taken by Helen Perez

We all know that location can make or break an event in the music festival industry; and although there was certainly some pressure felt for the Dirtybird team to deliver, the new venue did not disappoint one bit. This year’s DBC West was held at Modesto Reservoir Campgrounds, located in Northern California this new venue allowed more campers, attendees to bring their bicycles, and water activities in the lake. Of course with new territories come new obstacles and challenges to work through, but the Dirtybird team made sure everything was up to par and exceeded campers expectations. Located east of the city of Modesto, it was easily accessible for attendees traveling from all over California, as well as out-of-state. The campsites were equipped with RV hookups, picnic tables and restrooms spread throughout the campgrounds. An additional treat offered by this tranquil location was the abundance of stars and breathtaking views at night, especially for city-dwellers like myself.

Courtesy of Infamous PR / Taken by Aaron Glassman

There was a plethora of games and activities for campers to participate in; some were just as entertaining, if not more, to watch. Everything from Watercolor Painting to Hair Braiding, Birdwatching to Stargazing, Foraging to Hula Hooping or classics like Badminton and Archery; DBC had it all. Some of the team tournaments this year included Potato Sack Races, a .5k Floatie Race, Tug-of-War, Costume Boat Relay, and the always popular Dodgeball. This year team colors ran deep with dedication, and if you were new to DBC it was as simple as checking in with Games HQ and receiving your honorable team bandana to find your tribe and compete with the rest. The magic of Dirtybird is that everyone belongs, and you feel exactly that from the moment you’re there. 

The Bunkhouse stage, which happens to be Claude’s favorite, provided attendees with countless hours of entertainment. Campers had the opportunity to participate in events and competitions such as Axe-Throwing, Open Mic, Lap Dance 4 Your Life, Bobbing for Apples and Pie-Eating; oftentimes leading to patch earnings, bragging rights and occasionally some spectacular prizes. When I say spectacular I am actually referring to the custom gold spray painted, ’99 Subaru hatchback that was the grand prize at Sunday’s Bingo. Just when you think Dirtybird couldn’t get any crazier, they drive this bad boy out from backstage in hopes to make one lucky camper’s dreams comes true. Well, as a witness to the winner’s reaction upon receiving the title to her new car, I can honestly say it couldn’t have been given to a more deserving, appreciative and modest contestant. It warmed the hearts of the bingo crew and audience members when asked how she felt about winning and her immediate response was “I always wanted a Subaru.”

Courtesy of Infamous PR / Taken by Max Benedict

Following the glorious Great Bingo Revival on Sunday was an unbeatable set by South Lake’s own, Micah J. Subtly spinning all-time funk and hip-hop classics throughout Bingo, he continued the groove well into the night. This was definitely my highlight of the weekend. Champagne was being popped and showered, dancers were jumping on and shaking their booties all over the car (so much so that the roof caved in at one point) and everyone at the Bunkhouse seemed to simply be reveling in the victory that was their weekend.

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t gotten to speaking about the rest of the music yet, but I think that is what makes DBC so unique and has created this amazing following of fans. The music is only a fraction of what makes the Dirtybird Campout into what it has grown to be. I met a surprising amount of people who do not follow house, techno, the Dirtybird label or typically attend anything related to electronic music, but have been returning to DBC for the past 2-3 years since discovering it because of how inclusive and enticing it is. This unwritten message has been created and upheld by the camp goers and artists alike that this weekend is solely intended for fun, exploration, inclusivity and breaking away from the monotony of daily life for a few days. The bonds that are created and the experiences shared over the course of this weekend are sincerely irreplaceable, and this is the main reason DBC continues to be successful.

Courtesy of Infamous PR / Taken by Max Benedict

Now, the music! It’s Dirtybird, so the music is ALWAYS amazing. Personal favorites from the weekend at the Birdhouse stage include Gorgon City, Green Velvet, Justin Martin, Shiba San, and the annual Family Set. The Birdhouse hosted other terrific sets by Will Clarke, Steve Darko, Walker & Royce, J. Philip, Mikey Lion vs. Sacha Robotti, Chris Lake, Jesse Perez, and Fisher; to name a few. The Beatbox Competition at the Bunkhouse on Sunday afternoon, with Honeycomb and hosted by Jerome Joyce, became a music act in itself thanks to the raw talent showcased by competitors and amped up attendees for Honeycomb’s set at the Bass Lodge. The Bass Lodge took place on an island, centrally located within the campgrounds that transformed into a lakeside-bass-oasis. Eprom, Ivy Lab, Barclay Crenshaw, A-Trak, Big Daddy Kane, Madam X and Slick Rick the Ruler were a few other artists that blessed the Bass Lodge with their presence and performances over the weekend. Bass Lodge additionally hosted this year’s showcases, which included Trippy Ass Technologies, Worst Behavior, The Do-Over, Plus Size Models and Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage.

In previous years DBC would have music blaring well into the morning hours, but to be respectful to the venue and neighboring areas the Bass Lodge provided after-hours silent disco to those who insisted on dancing all night. The choice to utilize a late-night silent disco format also contributed to the overall camping vibe, allowing campers who wanted to rest up for the following day’s activities to do so peacefully and quietly while allowing those who wanted to keep the party going to do just that. The campsite renegades definitely gave the silent disco a run for its money, but that is something to talk about another time.

Courtesy of Infamous PR / Taken by Max Benedict

Overall, it was a joyous weekend filled with good vibes, classic summer camp activities, slick dance moves and unforgettable memories shared with fellow campers. Whether Dirtybird Campout has been on your sights for a while or is a new event you are now discovering, I can assure you this is not something you’re going to want to miss out on next time.

Dirtybird Campout West 2018:

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