Family vibes, dirty beats, sunshine and the delicious smell of the grill being put to tasty use! These are just a few of the things you will find at the dirtybird BBQ, but the overarching sense of fun and positivity make it a party not to be missed. In its first major tour across North America, the dirtybird crew has taken its iconic BBQ event out of Golden Gate park to fans across the continent this summer with amazing results.
At the Treasure Island event in the San Francisco Bay, it was a homecoming of sorts, as the dirtybird crew have been busy blowing up to become one of the most creatively credible and respected indie labels in the electronic dance music game. With their hometown friends and family and fans, it was an all encompassing event where everyone was into it, and all were welcome as long as they brought their best attitude and focused on fun.
As I walked around, I did not see a single face without a beautiful beaming smile in the summery sun as good music lovers were fed delicious burgers and hot dogs for their stomachs and only the finest in bass driven house music for their feet.
“BBQ is where it all began, that was our first party, the BBQ happened before the label. The label came two years after the BBQ. The BBQ was just us as a collective wanting to play different music than what was going on in the early days of San Francisco when we just first moved here and we were just transplants fifteen years ago. We didn’t
want to do the usual pass out your mix CD to try to get booked for an opening act, we just wanted to do our own thing and we put our heads together and just started off with a sound system and renegade parties in the park. It was all about having family vibes and all of our friends and it just grew into something beyond what you could ever imagine” - Justin Martin
The dirtybird BBQ is a unique event in that there is no sense of a divide between talent and audience, the fans are a part of the crew so to speak and the crew knows full well how integral the supporters of their music are. It really is a special event that is more than just a party for the artists to directly reach out to their fans, but rather it appears to be an embodiment of the dirtybird philosophy.
"dirtybird is a family, the music is really dirty, gritty, but the people are solid and awesome, wholesome people. Everybody is really cool and we all get along really great. We’re more about having friends than getting famous." - Claude VonStroke
"I guess my favorite thing is, the dirtybird crew we call ourselves a Fam. The people that come to the BBQs, they really get us, they feel what we are about and they are Fam as well. It just feels like a big Fam type party!" - J.Phlip
"Bass, burgers, laughter and bootyshaking! Is that a word?" - Christian Martin
When discussing the rise of the event and its current iteration, it was quite refreshing to get a sense from each member of the dirtybird roster that they were excited to have seen the BBQ grow to the massive party that it is, but were rather pained that it could no longer be free as it was at its inception. Yet, they still all feel that the family vibe is the focus and it was very much alive on Treasure Island that September sunday.
"I'd say for the most part it's grown beautifully, but having taken a three year hiatus from San Francisco. It's defintiely not exactly the same, before it was free and now people have to pay because we have to pay for all these crazy permits we have to have now to do a party of this magnitude. Considering what we've had to go through, I think it's where it needs to be and it still has the integrity that it had before, just slightly different than what it was before." - Worthy
There is nothing corporate about the dirtybird BBQ. There is nothing pretentious. It is an authentic party, a true Northern Californian experience where you should come as you are, and just party and have fun. There are no agendas here, no one is selling you anything, it is just a good time and it is the sort of good time that feeds the soul as much as a good fresh grilled summer meal.
"My favorite thing is going over to Grillson to kick me some carne asada tacos or a cheeseburger. Or he keeps a secret stash for me, at the end of the night I get a filet mignon sandwich that he’s marinated the whole day. Grillson is the king!" - Claude VonStroke
I have always been a huge supporter of dirtybird because they are impressively innovative as a label with amazing music that is top notch, beautiful and at its essence, their own. Yet, after spending time with them and their fans at such a special event like this, I don't know how I can go about loving any other label! The dirtybird players are just the best kind of people and as much as I can write about it and express my own personal experience, you have to see it for yourself firsthand to believe it.
And no dirtybird BBQ is complete without its own little special something, special guest Gaslamp Killer showed up to surprise the crowd with a secret set!
Now, after all that, it is with a heavy heart that I must report there is only one final dirtybird BBQ left in 2014, at HARD Day of the Dead in November. The good news though is there is always next year, another summer on the horizon! As Claude informed me, next year their aim is to have ten BBQs in celebration of dirtybird's ten year birthday and they may even let the people vote on the cities. So be ready dirtybird fans and BBQ enthusiasts, the dirtybird BBQ is here to stay, and soon enough you will be in its midst loving life!
To close it all out though, what better way than to leave you with a definitive dirtybird BBQ set from one of the core founders, Christian Martin.
BBQ sets have always been about playing to the time. You open with some amazing hip hop or amazing soul stuff, then gradually throughout the course of the day it becomes more hectic. It's all about playing to the slot and not trying to scoop anyone on the songs you know are going to be played later. - Christian Martin