Anything that can go wrong at Camp Bisco, will go wrong. I've been attending the annual festival in upstate New York since 2007, and every year there seems to be a hitch: torrential rain begetting knee-deep mud, eight-hour traffic backups, and even those neon-clad dubstep kids on my damn lawn.
This year, however, proved otherwise. With only a single measly Saturday morning thunderstorm, less than a half-hour wait to enter the festival grounds, and a varied enough lineup to keep everyone happy — from belligerent rave bros to passive hippies — Camp Bisco's 2012 incarnation established itself as amongst the Northeast's premier music festivals.
Any review of Camp must begin with the Disco Biscuits — the Philadelphia jam band who launched the festival in 2000, a time when electronic music held little foothold in our country's mainstream music landscape. Yet the band has stuck firm with their tradition of mashing forward-thinking DJs with a signature blend of psychedelic-tinged electronica. It's their festival and they own it, delivering six sets (roughly seven and a half hours) of music over the course of three days.
As our nation's interest in electronic music has ballooned, so has the festival, with more than 20,000 attending the 2011 incarnation. And if the Biscuits have been the constant in the equation, one would have to note other top-billed acts: Skrillex and Bassnectar each leveled a densely packed field with resoundingly repetitive bass knocks, while Amon Tobin offered a properly ballistic performance of his globe-spanning ISAM tour, convincing a crowd of chemically enhanced concert-goers that we were prepared for takeoff.
Elsewhere, Simian Mobile Disco, Orchard Lounge, and FaltyDL each took their variations of electronic music to the peripheral tents for standout sets, proving that not only will Camp be back for a 12th go-round in 2013, but we can look forward to perfection.
For an in-depth account of Michael Walsh's Bisco odyssey, go the thephoenix.com/onthedownload.