Dirtybird Campout: Festival Review

The Dirtybird Campout was a getaway for the repressed child in all of us. References to every summer camp cliché prompted attendees to shed all inhibitions and expressions of seriousness. This place represented an escape from any imposed disillusions brought forth by the responsibilities, rules, and regulations of adulthood. It was the Mecca of shameless tomfoolery and debaucherous entertainment. Every camper partook in the communal embrace of all things lighthearted. Counselors with megaphones chanted invitational declarations, summoning those within ear shot towards the festivities. 

The festival ground was home to only two stages. The Birdhouse reverberated bass from the elevated cabin encasing the stage. Performers on the platform partied in the company of comrades. The lodge for these DJs developed into a thunderous dance floor, providing space to celebrate with friends and electrify the audience. Artists in attendance wowed the audience through their integration of classic club melters with modern speaker busters. The crowd moved in acknowledgment of the DJ’s interweaving of genres and expressions. This call and response opened up a dialogue by which both parties could share and exchange energy. The music emitted congregated campers on a grassy plot of participation from noon until midnight.

The Late Night Lodge took life from the dead of night until the sunrise. The audience was encamped in sound as speakers lined the perimeter of the stage and field. The walk past the man-made lake and structural attractions from the Birdhouse to the night stage marked a transition into the festivities of the evening. Attendees felt this natural pull as they adapted to the more club energy of the night from the light-hearted atmosphere of the day. Though at times, it felt difficult to retain the same vehemence that had been expressed throughout the day. The dwindled endurance of campers required ancillary stimulation as means of propulsion into the morning. Though performers delivered musically intriguing sets, there were times when I hopedto be recharged by a drastic uplift in tempo or bass. 

Some of the most memorable and differentiating facets of the festival stemmed from the delivery of unreleased material and the playful interactions with staff and the Dirtybird Family. The partnership with DoLab provided a level of professionalism that eased the burden of festival nuances off the rest of the organization. Performers and members of staff were right there with you, indulging in the activities the grounds had to offer. Additionally, DJs from affiliated labels, such as This Ain’t Bristol, were seamlessly incorporated into the lineup, diversifying the product passed on to the audience. 

Admittedly, the festival did undergo some changes from the prior year. First, a noticeable and somewhat disappointing modification of the festival was the reduced size of the sound system. One of the most staggering features of the first Dirtybird Campout was the daunting size of the speakers and subs. The past stereo system was taller than the crowd and towered in a way pervaded excitement. Secondly, due to the labels growing popularity, the campground and number of attendees experienced a swelling. While this surge in attendance warranted applause, those of us spoiled by the intimacy of the first Campout felt a bit drowned. Those who experienced these adjustments felt prompted to speculate upon the inevitable changes to come.



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