How Camp Bisco almost took me to the Land of Oz


“Go back to your cars and take shelter,” were far from encouraging words to hear as the Brothers Past set was cut short. Without a television to see what the weather man had to say we sat around a puddle under an EZ-up tent. It was Saturday night and it didn’t look good. There was lightning coming at us from 360-degrees and rumors of a tornado warning. As my neighbors and I discussed the merits of taking a tornado on with a car versus an EZ-up, it was jokingly decided the chairs under the EZ-up would make for a far more comfortable final moment than the cars. There was also some mention of a potential trip to the Land of Oz if the tornadoes did touch down near our campsite. A couple hours later, much to our enjoyment the stage lights flicked on, and just as they did, the camp grounds began to stir. Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue started on the PA and everyone headed to the main-stage for the last Biscuits set of the weekend. I looked at our neighbor, told him we were headed in for some music and asked if he wanted to join us, to which he replied, “Don’t you tempt me with a good time” and joined us for one last night of the organized chaos that is Camp Bisco.  The rain and lightening stuck around for the set but so did the dedicated fans. And so went Camp Bisco, a struggle for fans to hear great music while waging war against the elements, be they the oppressive heat or lightning and tornadoes.

Camp Bisco 9 was my first camp but still impressive to witness. What I’ve learned started as a gathering of about 850 people in Cherry Tree, Pennsylvania in 1999 has grown to a 14,000 person, premiere electronic event in upstate New York, centered around one of the jamtronica genre’s heaviest hitters. The supporting acts were superb, including Thievery Corporation, LCD Soundsystem, Ween, Bassnectar, Raq and The New Deal.

Our HeadCount team arrived on Wednesday, before the official kickoff to the event. We set up the booth and got prepped for a weekend of registering prospective voters. That night we wandered the empty fields with a feeling of anticipation and excitement.  It was quiet, but we knew it would not stay that way for long, the gates opened at 8 am and that meant the party would start soon after. That night offered the HeadCount team an teaser of what was to come: the production team was testing the lights and more importantly the lasers. Even without music to set the lasers to, they were quite the sight, everyone in attendance on that Wednesday night knew we were in for a treat.

Marc Brownstein, bass player for the Disco Biscuits, is a co-founder of HeadCount so our team brought our A-game and used everything we had to prove that Biscuit fans care about the world and their community. The crowd was interested in what we had to say and happy to see us working. Those who were already registered to vote often responded to my approach with an enthusiastic “Yes, and thank you for what you are doing!”

What stood out to me  most the entire weekend was the crowds age, it was definitely a younger crowd than All Good and Nateva, most likely because it lacked Furthur to bring in the Dead Heads and offered groups like Pretty Lights and Major Lazer to provide the youngins some booty shakin dance beats. Camp Bisco was as they say “a boatload” of fun and we still managed to get a lot of pledges and register attendees who would not have been registered without us. Now it’s up to them to participate in the process or stop complaining, but I would much rather see them at the polls this November and at Camp Bisco next summer.

Tell your friends!