Oak Canyon Ranch
Last weekend, Claude VonStroke and his team at Dirtybird Records took over the lush oasis at Oak Canyon Ranch for the first annual Dirtybird Campout. With activities like archery and potato sack races, the themed festival did more than just recreate the traditional sleep-away summer camp: It brought a fresh spin to the festival circuit and bridged the gap between festival goers and performers putting them on platform to interact with one another.
"[The Campout] is really different," said English DJ Billy Kenny, one of Dirtybird Records newest additions to the roster. "They really broke all the rules, man," he said. "It's fucking wicked vibes."
Walking through the festival, it was normal see performers on the line up hanging out, talking to fans and participating in camp activities. Several of the performers even volunteered, like San Francisco based DJ Justin Martin, who served pizza to festival goers at the Dough Lab for an hour on Friday.
The union of the DoLaB and Dirty Bird's cult-like followings felt like an integration of friends that was long time coming. Both groups of people blended seamlessly, giving the festival an overwhelmingly electric, free-spirited vibe. The festival also had an overwhelming sense of family, too. "You ask people where something is or you ask people a question and they, like, really genuinely want to help you," said Kenny. "Festivals aren't normally like this."
In many ways, the Campout was a lot like the movie Wet Hot American Summer. With Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin and other members of the Dirty Bird roster as camp counselors–and easily identifiable, as they were dressed up as variations of boy scouts and Paul Bunyan– attendees were constantly encouraged to engage in all sorts of debauchery. "The crowd here in general has been getting pretty weird and letting loose," said Desert Hearts founder and DJ Mikey Lion. "Its just a testament to how awesome they are [at Dirtybird]," he said.
In typical DoLaB fashion, the intricate artwork dispersed through out the grounds gave the festival earthy undertones, which was the cherry on the festival sundae. There were forts built into the trees, providing a space for attendees to lounge and mingle.The stages were decked out to look like the inside of lodges, as they had deer antlers mounted on the walls as décor. There was a glow in the dark, psychedelic tree that shifted colors with every pulse that attracted the wide-eyed glow-in-the-dark people of the festival. The most popular art structures, however, were turquoise and blue tear drop enclosures that provided a place for people to stay warm and cuddle up in.
Similar to Woogie Weekend, we were graced with lots of rain, making for another chaotic, wet weekend. Yet, the energy of the festival remained positive and people seemed to handle the rain and mud better than they did at Woogie Weekend last July.
Despite the rain, the festival was one of the best we've been to yet. With activities ranging from roasting s'mores to making tie-dye shirts and kyaking, it was impossible to not become immersed in the playful energy of the event. I mean, what other festival allows you to hang out with the performers and compete against them in camp games? Not many.
The hippies and house-lovers danced in unison this weekend at the Dirtbird Campout, making for the best adult summer camp, ever.