Camp Bisco XI: The Grit & the Glory

HeadCount has conquered another successful Camp Bisco with barely a scratch (other than Festival Coordinator Annie discovering that she has pneumonia). Executive Director Andy Bernstein remains one of the only three people to have been at every Camp Bisco and with over 300 registrations, we're feeling good.  It was a very dusty four days full of stories, new friends and some amazing volunteers.

On Day 1, we started early and energetic, since we were able to get our camp site set up relatively early, which was rewarded with a full night of sleep. Our team went out in full force, registering people everywhere around camp. We were able to check out other vendors selling t-shirts, hats, jewelery, and other assorted goodies while also racking up the registrations. A bunch of vendors had heard of HeadCount before and were supporters of our cause. We were getting a lot of attention from festival goers by mentioning that Brownie (Marc Brownstein, co-founder of HeadCount and bassist for the Disco Biscuits) was going to be stopping by our table later to meet fans and register voters. When the time finally came, there was already a crowd around the HeadCount table.  It was amazing to see how much the fans really respect and appreciate what Brownie does in terms of music and activism. There were people physically shaking with nerves and excitement when they finally got the chance to shake his hand or give him a hug.  Of course, he made sure everyone was registered and when one fan bashfully admitted that he wasn't, Brownie made sure to handle the registration himself! It was this kind of personal interaction that enabled the Camp Bisco team to inspire people to "party with purpose," a phrase actively used by our goddess guru, Laura. From going up to random tents on the camp grounds to walking up to the lines waiting for the shower, we tried to keep inventing new ways to reach out to people by getting them interested and involved. The music the first night was awesome with Rubblebucket and Skrillex both drawing huge crowds. Of course, the Disco Biscuits rounded the night out and kept the crowd pumped enough to dance through the night.

By the 2nd Day, the crowd was slowing down from a couple of crazy nights and the heat. I don't know if I've ever seen more water hydration backpacks in my whole life. Our two newest volunteers Aaron and Alex that hail from New Paltz, NY killed it, in spite of the heat, registering over 50 voters. It might have been the awesome vibes coming from the stage as Break Science played along with the lyrical genius of Chali 2na.  The weather couldn't keep the crowd away, as fans powered through, dancing to the awesome beats floating through the afternoon dust clouds. Lotus was also amazing as they played a mesmerizing "Spiritualize" while the sun set over Camp Bisco.  The Disco Biscuits also got deep that night, when they rounded out their set by playing "Home Again", almost reiterating how much their fans mean to them. Our Baton Rouge Team Leader, Jonathan Brothers, was front and center, holding up a HeadCount clipboard - one of the many items that were flying through the air all weekend. The talk of the festival that day was Amon Tobin's set, which was said to be "an experience."  It was a crazy combination of bass and lights that mesmerized the crowd and put everyone into Bisco bliss.

Day 3 brought a whole new crowd of people for the one day affair (made obvious by their bright clothes and coiffed hair, pre-dust). This also meant we had a whole new crop of people of register! We all started the day strong, each of us getting nearly 20 registrations by the early afternoon.  To top it all off, Big Gigantic even stopped by the table to lend some support and pose for a picture. (They're a very attractive duo, I must say.) The clouds in the sky allowed for some relief from the heat, but when Atmosphere came on and played his classic, "Sunshine", the sun broke through. It was a day full of HeadCount love when Brownie gave a shout out to the organization during the afternoon set, followed by"Bernstein and Chasnoff," a song purportedly about our own Andy Bernstein. The night ended with one of the biggest crowds in Camp Bisco history all crowded around the stage to see Bassnectar give an amazing performance.  I was lucky enough to see him perform from the stage, where we could really see him rock out.

It was an extremely successful festival.  The artists really stepped up to support HeadCount.  All of the people we registered were really supportive of what we  do. We even recruited a whole new batch of volunteers.  In spite of all of the natural elements, we were able to kick ass at an awesome festival.  It was a great HeadCount weekend.