Written By: Scott Bernhardt
Back in the hills of Orange County, next to the infamous Blackstar Canyon, flatbed trucks awaited the arrival of thousands of eager campers. The San Francisco native house music label, Dirtybird, hosted its second annual music festival with the intention of delivering a more inclusive aspect than any other festival that you've ever been to.
Dirtybird Campout is an experience beyond the music. It's about a team based set of activities, ranging from kickball to tug-of-war and boat races. You are assigned one of four colored bandanas that binds you to that color team for the remainder of the weekend.
Every day, campers were woken up to the sound of camp counselors from various teams blaring on a microphone "wake up campers, it's too f*#%ing hot to sleep, come compete in the kickball tournament." Games and music both started around the same time each afternoon, providing an incredible sound track to the whole experience.
The games were highly spirited, with teams chanting their color names with drunken smiles. The final relay consisted of a tug-of-war, arts and crafts (with people yelling "craft harder!") a boat race, a water ballon toss, hop scotch, and ended with a potato sack race.
These games all went on until sundown, followed by evenings of top notch house music from the likes of Claude Von Stroke, Justin Martin, Worthy, Billy Kenny, and many more. These sets crept all the way into the first light of each sunrise. Minimal stage lighting meant a focus on the music and the people instead of a spectacle.
The buildings and structures were all designed and constructed by our friends at The Do Lab. I am consistantly astounded by the creativity that this team brings to all its projects, and this festival was no exception. Standing on stage meant dancing in what felt like the living room of a cabin in the woods, and other buildings complete with bunk beds, truly encapsulated the the camper psyche.
When next year's tickets go on sale, and you're faced with the question, "should I buy a ticket to this festival?" keep in mind that you get to wear your old camp outfit, and dance under the stars with one of the best families and music selectors on the planet.