When Dirtybird announced they were throwing a camping themed festival in Orange County, it was open for interpretation just how big this would really be. Was this going to be a few Dirtybird favorites mixed in with slight elements of summer camp, or would this be the whole enchilada?
Was the campout theme just for branding, or would they really take it to the maximum? Fortunately for us and everyone who attended, it was the real deal and then some. We honestly should have expected this from the beginning, because everything Claude VonStroke and Dirtybird does is BIG.
We're talking about a record label that's made a name for itself by throwing BBQ themed events all around the country. They love food, and camping is really all about food. Plus a little friendly competition of course. And there was enough of that go around at Oak Canyon Park.
This was basically the summer camp experience you always dreamt of as a kid. For everyone who watched Wet Hot American Summer and wished they could encounter something just like that in real life, this was it. With the Dirtybird Campout, it felt like you were in the movie (or Netflix series) brought to real life within a music festival.
Everything you needed was there. A lake. Balloon tosses. Sack races. Archery. S'mores. Pizza. Ghost stories. Alcohol. Music. All nighters. Root beer floats. Slip n slide. That cute girl or boy you've been dreaming of hooking up with. Camp counselors. Mud. Rain. Fresh air. It was like summer camp for adults looking to get a little weird (or a lot weird).
Day 1 was all about settling in, getting the lay of the land, meeting your fellow campers and trying to keep the peace while setting up everyone's tents. Maybe you went and purchased some pizza from Justin Martin at The Dough Lab. Maybe you played a few rounds of mini golf and listened to Justin Jay. Or maybe you slapped that Franzia bag (Aka Dillon Franzia) too hard at your campsite and forgot to actually go to the festival.
When Day 2 rolled around it was all about making up for lost time. Realizing that you still hadn't gotten assigned a team color and rushing to the sign-up booth. Putting that hangover behind you and rallying your team for some good old fashioned camp games. Finding out once and for all who truly is the best sack racer in your campground. Finding out who can and can't catch a water balloon when you really have to. And most importantly, discovering who really is the Tie-Dye boss of your friends.
After feeling the sweet satisfaction of defeating your enemies, or for some failing miserably and ending up being that one kid who ruined it for Team Green, it was time to brush off those battle wounds and hit the dance floor Dirtybird style. Saturday night was stacked with talent at The Birdhouse, starting with an unforgettable B2B from Jesse Rose and Doorly before Kill Frenzy, Laura Jones, and Claude VonStroke made their mark. It was now 2 am, and you had a big decision to make.
Would you muster up everything you had and journey towards the Late Night Lounge, or would you fall asleep while standing and stumble your way back to your tent? For those that chose option A, there was nothing but incredible music ahead of you. Lunice and Eprom brought the heavy, Nosaj Thing brought the chill, Barclay Crenshaw (aka the real Claude) brought the hip-hop and 100 pre-rolled joints, and then Christian and Justin Martin brought the drum and bass as the sunset came through for a B2B aka Brother 2 Brother set.
Next up was DJ Mother Nature who decided that her contribution to Dirtybird Campout was an exclusive set that consisted of rain, rain, and more rain. And mud of course. So regardless if you passed out early or powered through, you definitely caught DJ Mother Nature in all her glory at some point. Although it wasn't as bad as Woogie Weekend, it was still enough to destroy our E-Z UP and leave some kid nearly "GUTTED."
Day 3 was all about flexing your survival skills. Waking up and realizing that your campground was beginning to flood and having to think fast. For some, that meant getting in their car and leaving as quickly as possible while others braved the storm and kept the camp vibes alive. Good music, good people, and enough poutine to go around. Maybe you got a little muddy and joined a tug of war match. Maybe you attended animal encounters and saw a real life armadillo. Or maybe you flexed your yoga skills and felt some serious zen.
The point is, Dirtybird Campout was all about choices like a real summer camp. It was a choose your own adventure type scenario, and just like the dude at Tie-Dye said, "There's really no way to fuck this up." From the campground to the stages and everything in between, exploration and activities were waiting to be had. Everyone had a different experience, but you didn't hear about anyone having a bad time.
In the end, Dirtybird proved that modern music festivals are about so much more than just music. You could boast 8 stages and 200 artists and throw a successful festival, but there's just something about the intimate nature that made this type of festival so addicting. The lines between performer and attendee were so blurred as Dirtybird favorites participated in games and gave out merit badges for good deeds.
Eliminate that separation between the DJ and the crowd, and you open yourself up to a whole new experience and level of connection. That is just one reason why Dirtybird Campout was such a success, and it's that irreplaceable sense of community that will keep listeners coming back for more as the label continues to grow. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. Thank you Dirtybird, thank you to The DoLaB, and thank you Oak Canyon Park.