written by Ariana Assaf
Dirtybird Campout at a glance
For all you newbs out there, Dirtybird is a house and techno record label founded by DJ/producer Claude VonStroke and located in San Francisco. Now in its second year, the Dirtybird Campout brings together Dirtybird artists and fans for a three day, intimate family-like gathering just over an hour east of Los Angeles. The label also hosts smaller events, or barbecues, leading up to the Campout in cities including Brooklyn, Seattle, and Detroit featuring its artists like Will Clarke, J. Phlip, Ardalan and more.
Music genre: So. Much. Techno. And a little bit of deep house.
Capacity: Very small, around 5000
Crowd type: An enticing combination of Burners and people who would probably tell you that listening to Jeff Mills’ “The Bells” on vinyl changed their life. I saw a couple kids running around, one of whom was driving a Barbie jeep-type thing and had way more swag than everyone. Most people hailed from various parts of California, but I met a handful who had traveled from as far as Michigan and Florida.
Water stations: Yaaaas. Dirtybird is super eco-friendly, single-use water bottles weren’t even available for purchase! *applauds*
The aptly named Campout offers everything you miss about going off to summer camp as a kid: dodgeball and cornhole, late night movies, and all your friends together in one place. The fun and games—seriously, there are games going all the time—are really what set this festival apart, making it extra interactive. With only one daytime stage and long 90 minute sets, you’d be seriously missing out if you didn’t check out at least a few field sports or games sprinkled throughout the grounds. For those of you like me who would never risk getting hit in the face with a dodgeball (which happened several times and didn’t cause anything close to serious injury but still), there’s hopscotch, foosball, some standup comedy, and lots of craft tables. Yes I made kandi at a techno festival, get over it.
The after hours stage went until somewhere around 6am on Saturday and Sunday morning and featured some of the only deviation in genre: Barclay Crenshaw (Claude’s real name) played a hip hop set, Justin and Christian Martin treated us to some DnB, and surprise guest Mr. Carmack brought in the only trap stylings to be heard all weekend. Judging by recent social media activity, we have some suspicions related to a dark techno/hip hop type push soon to be made by Barclay, and if his late night set is any indication of what’s to come, let’s just say we hope to God it comes.
The all-black-wearing/frowning/techno-loving trope wasn’t represented in the fullest extent of the cliche…after all, this is a music festival. Most of the characters looked more like a blue haired girl comedian Kevin Shea referred to as “sparkle tits,” due to her shiny pasties. My darling glitter kitty from Electric Forest was also in attendance, running around with a fanny pack full of the stuff; I call him mine because I purred for about 24 hours after our first interaction. All in all, the experience was proof that techno lovers don’t frown. They let you taste their cacao smoothies, hand you a joint while you’re waiting for the bathroom, and in the ultimate display of synchronicity, pull off a beer-for-chicken teriyaki trade while one of you dances in a treehouse and the other bobs around in a tire swing.
If all that sounds like your kind of thing, grab your tickets for next year as soon as they’re available (we’ll be sure to alert you, of course). The Campout is growing fast—ticket sales already more than doubled between this year and last—so if you want to experience it before what tends to happen with really good festivals happens *ahem overcrowding ahem*, stay on high alert.
To get a taste of the magic, check out the newly released Tribes: Dirtybird documentary that debuted at the Campout after Claude VonStroke’s Friday night set.