Experience by Kirsty Parker (Speaker Honey)
Scheduled Fun at Dirty Bird Campout
On October 6, campgrounds on the South Shore of Lake Antonio transformed from scenic wilderness to Dirty Bird Campout 2017. Thousands of festival-goers flooded into the park to enjoy three full days of camping and music hosted by the legendary Dirty Bird Records.
Guests show us as early as Thursday morning to get their fill on nonstop music and good vibes. The festival centered around a stacked lineup, which included two main stages with top notch sound systems. Scheduled artists included Kill Frenzy, Will Clarke, Claude Vonstroke, Lux Groove, Walker & Royce, Justin Martin, Shiba San, Sacha Robotti, Amtrac, Mija, Christian Martin, Madam X, the Desert Hearts crew, and more, many of whom have also graced stages at MDA events.
From Friday through Sunday, around 60 DJs were scheduled between the Birdhouse stage, which was the main stage, and the Bass Lodge. In between sets, guests had the opportunity of reliving favorite summertime camp activities such as archery, tug-of-war, kickball, water balloon toss, in addition to face painting, tie-dye and totem crafting. With a variety of food vendors and plenty of bars to explore, Dirty Bird went above and beyond to create a jam-packed schedule of fun.
Life Changing Events & Festival Magic
Many festival-heads can attest that what makes the experience so magical, isn't just catching sets that you have mapped out well in advance, it is the serendipitous moments that we stumble upon and the coincidences that are too good to be true. Whether you wander down the wrong path, end up the wrong stage, or lose your friends, you find yourself in a complete submersion of the unknown - yet in the end, everything falls into place. It's the moment you turn around and are greeted by your next best friend, or stumble upon a stage and end up dancing the night away to unfamiliar artists. Here, the festival schematic holds space for a conductive and expansive experience - and one that leaves you with a sense of awe that you carry with you back into the "Real World."
At Dirty Bird Campout, the unplanned and unexpected was facilitated by the presence of countless renegade stage setups. For those that are unfamiliar with the concept, renegade stages are sound systems and DJ booths that are not organized by the main festival. These stages are personal setups, brought in by groups of people yearning to keep the party going after hours and away from the main action, on their own accord. Renegade stages offer DJ opportunities to artists that are not on the actual festival lineup. DJs are given the chance to throw down some tunes in a high-profile setting. This year, renegade stages ranged from computer speakers with aux cable hookups to heavy duty monitors complete with subs and CDJs.
The Drift Stage
One Bay Area-based group, The Space Cowboys, had an impressive setup called Drift. The Drift stage was strategically positioned along the trail that led to the main festival entrance. The level of professional craftsmanship and sound quality was ja dropping. At first glance, Drift could easily be mistaken for a third Dirty Bird stage - but it wasn't on the map, there were no advertised lineups, and the managing stage crew had no direct support from the Dirty Bird production team.
My crew discovered the Drift stage at around 2 a.m. on Friday night. We set out to catch Christian Martin's set at Bass Lodge, however as we were making our way through the campground, we heard a loud noise off in the distance. As we wandered towards the sound, we discovered an impressive sea themed stage tucked into the hillside. Drift was decked out with state-of-the-art lighting and coupled with the remarkable sound that was booking through the stacked speakers. We had to figure out what it was all about. Walking up to the stage, I was greeted by a welcoming crew. I casually asked about the lineup and if there happened to be any openings. To my surprise, they affirmed that there were open slots and if I wanted to DJ, I might be in luck! With my USBs in my pocket, I took up their offer and suddenly found myself on the decks, selecting my first track!
It was a dream come true - not only did I get to hear my favorite tracks on the best sound system that I have ever played on - the dance floor went off. I was facilitating a legitimate festival-level crowd which included totems, light shows, and shuffle circles. After an hour-long set by yours truly, a talented DJ from Vancouver named Sheen Sayer walked up and asked to play. So Sheen and I went back-to-back, along with my friend and MDA DJ, Roswell for almost two hours. Just when we thought things couldn't get any better, Christian Martin walked up with his USB to join us on stage.
Dirty Bird Artists at Drift
Coming from his scheduled set at Bass Lodge, Dirty Bird's Christian Martin was ready to keep the vibe going! And he wasn't alone - Dirty Bird Records' Weiss showed up as well to go back-to-back with Christian. The famous duo spun tracks for 90 minutes, which was followed by a solo sunrise set from Christian Martin. Saturday night continued in the same manner. Dirty Bird's J. Phlip made an appearance and played for about two hours.
Dirty Bird Campout 2017 was a weekend to remember! Festivals like this one have grown to become a major force in music culture. The presence of renegade stages provides a unique element to help harness the unknown and create memories that go beyond the traditional scheduled activities. I want to thank Dirty Bird Records and all of the attendees for facilitating a magical weekend. Thank you Space Cowboys for making dreams come true. If you want a chance to experience the amazing sound of Drift be sure to stop by Love Boat festival in the Bay Area on Halloween weekend.