The Dirtybird establishment has always had a reputation for distinguishing themselves independent from typically boisterous EDM productions. This is captured by their overall brand, their bouncy music selection and the family dynamic that can be attested to by their loyal fan base. This past weekend’s Dirtybird Campout full on gave the expectation of mainstream festivals “the bird”. More of an adult summer camp than a rave, the event blurred lines of entertainment and used the Dirtybird label’s distinct tunes as the soundtrack to the end-of-summer, 3-day frolic. Simply put, Dirtybird Campout was about connecting human beings together in care-free, self-expressed, fun-loving debauchery.
Camper Shannon, who was often spotted with her camera and a massive, slappable bag of red wine shared about some of her favorite things from the festival:
“I loved being able to laugh and play all weekend like I was a kid again. Making new friends, fun adventures and lot of places to take photos. Jumping in a row boat with my new friends and linking up with the rest of the boats like we were in Havasu.“
Idyllically surrounded by trees and mountains, the Campout took place at Southern California’s Oak Canyon Park. The sunshine-filled, grassy setting was adorned with hammocks, bails of hay, crafting teepees, and all sorts of recreational enclaves making for an especially leisurely environment. Not just for the birds, Campout drew all kinds of expressive creatures, costumes, and party animals! Circling the grounds, you could encounter and ultimately befriend a dancing T-rex, a flamingo with a 6-foot bong, and an entire arc’s worth of sentient beings and pasty-clad warrior women.
Unique to the event’s ethos in turning mainstage DJ-idol-worshipping-mentality upside down, at Campout there was little separation between performers, staff, and attendees. Campers got the be a part of the show with interactive games and Bunkhouse events — such as the talent show, beatbox competition, comedy open-mic and karaoke. Conversely, performers were frequently spotted mingling with fans, taking selfies in the grass, watching campers express themselves and afterpartying in unison.
These amateur performances at the Bunkhouse stage were highly entertaining and often pulled expansive crowds, with Barclay Crenshaw (VonStroke) himself frequently presiding. A camper named Velasco remarked:
“The Bunkhouse events were dope in their own way . . . Some of the people on stage were just amazing. Others, well . . . let’s just say they were ‘having a great time’. There was a karaoke singer that I swore could have had her own concert right there on stage! She absolutely killed it!”
Another camper named Melina had the chance to mingle with the performers and create life-long memories when:
“Justin Martin walked up to us wearing a black hoodie and a pizza shirt. He said, ‘Whats up guys! So where’s the afterparty?’
We invited him to our camp and started walking. He told me how he hadn’t really ventured off into the campsites before. As we were walking, we heard an RV about to drop one of his songs. I told him it would make their entire weekend if he jumped in there dancing right as this song came on. He looked at me and said, ‘You know what, you’re right, let’s go!’ and he took off running! Naturally, I followed suit in my penguin onesie, camera out.
We climbed into the RV, surprised the DJ, it turned out to be Billy Kenny’s RV! Truly awesome experience!
Intimate connections between the crowd, the music and the artists were palpable. One of the more touching and memorable performances was that of UK’s Billy Kenny. His mixing style was unique and clean and the set flowed effortlessly throughout late Friday night. It was an especially emotional moment when he concluded with Prince’s “Purple Rain”. Camper Josh, who also produces his own music was touched and inspired by the set. Slating it as:
“A great example of the artistry of being a DJ. He was skillful in switching between genres and you can tell he was moved by the music.”
“Honey, I know, I know I know times are changing It’s time we all reach out For something new, that means you too” @dirtybirdrecords isn’t only about shaking your ass at the function, sometimes it’s about putting your arms on the shoulders of those next to you, crying, and belting purple rain at the top of your lungs at 5am…and that is why I call these people and this place my home❤️ A real man sheds a tear or two once in awhile! Thank you @billykennymusic for this heart felt set, we know you truly put your all into it and this was a moment no one will forget! #dirtybirdcampout2016 #billykenny #prince #purplerain #purebliss #beauty #dirtybirdfamilyforlife ?☔️?☔️?☔️?☔️? A video posted by ✨Lauren ? Wong✨ (@sprinklemeeee) on
Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Bruno Furlan who nursed my hangover away with a perfectly stirred beat & melody elixir that hit the spot. He got me with his 90’s R&B sampled track, “Use Somebody” and remix of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”. I joyfully danced next to a cute girl-scout who seemed to be loving the set as much as me.
Reggie Watts’ Birdhouse stage closing set was met with mixed reviews. Some loyal fans were loving the comedian/musician’s unique, layered vocal stylings. For other’s, the artistry was no match for their Saturday night rage vibes. Personally,
“. . . for my crew, it opened up an opportunity to explore other festival offerings. 20 of us ended up settling inside one of the teepees where we were greeted by beat boxers and made up inside jokes — ‘Absolutely NO skipping in the teepee!’. We all laughed so hard that we almost peed ourselves. It made for one of the absolute best memories of the weekend.”
As for Reggie, his talents were fully appreciated later that night in characteristically intimate and weird Campout fashion. A crowd gathered around an impromptu staging of his musings from a golf cart.
Taking a late night slot on Saturday, one of the funnest sets of the weekend came from Barclay Crenshaw, Claude VonStroke’s real-life persona. Camp Counselor John, who was the ambassador of the Green Team and also a professional dancer exclaimed:
“Barclay’s Hip Hop set was soooo nasty and it was refreshing to switch up genres for a bit from the typical Dirtybird sound. I couldn’t stop moving!”
With banging sets stacked one after the other, Sunday’s lineup shaped into the perfect conclusion for the weekend’s marathon adventure-fest. The UK’s bearded, cuddle-loving Will Clarke, hit us with powerfully grimy assembly of tracks. Bodies moved on the dance floor to his newest release, “Booty Percolatin'” and a mix of Dead Prez’ “(Bigger Than) Hip Hop” that was just absolutely mad!
Following Clarke, Berlin’s techno veteran, Marc Houle took over. The lovable Shipfammer, Raphael enthusiastically reminisced:
“Omg Marc Houle has to be one of my top! Bringing the tech and doing vocals!”
The night went on proceeding with Kill Frenzy, who among many other dance inducing tracks, teased us with “No Panties” — a personal favorite of mine since it says my name 😉 . Next up, the night smoothly transitioned into the always-anticipated legend, Green Velvet. Eventually joined by Claude VonStoke for their Get Real duo, you could could tell they were having a blast! The night rounded out with an immersive Family Set that brought together all the artists that remained standing including Shiba San, Justin & Christian Martin and many more as the whole crew had a uproarious party behind the DJ booth.
At most points, I generally found myself either dancing or dance walking on to the next antic. Whether techno, tech house, or the occasional drum n’ bass surprise, all the pervasive beats heard around camp created the perfect soundtrack for connecting with friends old and new.
Camper Ian (AKA the Cigarette Fairy, a nickname coined by me), said that the moments that stood out to him most were when he was interacting with fellow campers:
“I would have to say my favorite part was handing out free gum and cigarettes to the people in the crowd. Also, taking pictures of couples. I took about 15 pictures of couples. To show a girl who I want to come that this could be us.
My friends and I had a blow up pool that we made into a ‘cuddle pool’ with blankets and pillows. We also played mystery knuckles where u write 4 letter words on each other’s knuckles.
A testament to the distinctly friendly dynamic of Campout, my new Canadian friend Rob commented on the hospitality of our camping neighbors, who kept our glasses full of Jungle Juice and made us tacos at sunrise:
“It was wonderful to see everyone being such a care free child, and no one giving dirty looks. So genuine . . . People wanted to give more than take which is incredibly rare these days.”
“I had 3 days worth of some of the most full bellied laughs I’ve ever had. One of my favorite moments was after the Family Set on Sunday night. My new Canadian friends and I made up raps about picking up trash while walking around with a trash bag. We turned some the found objects into a fucked up art piece that included squirting lotion all over a blow-up alien and then trying to bop it to death. It was so absurd, but a hilarious bonding opportunity with my new friends.”
The Dirtybird mission is certainly a special one. Make no mistake that when they use the term “family” it’s not a buzz word thrown around loosely. Dirtybird Campout was created as the environment for us to bond with our tribe and connect fans and artists over one very awesome human experience. I thank the Dirtybird Family for all the debaucherous, hilarious and touching moments we got to share with each other over the weekend. And of course, I can’t even wait until next time!
I would love to hear what YOUR favorite moments were! Leave a comment on our Facebook page.
Peace, Love, Unity & Respect,
– Anna Olinova for EDMLA
Can’t get enough? Check out this amazing short documentary that just came out about Dirtybird’s roots and motivations: