Camp Bisco Turns 10
- By Nick Rhodes
- Published on June 16, 2011
Few would have thought during the inaugural Camp Bisco that in 2011, the event would have grown to this magnitude.
But after coverage in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and a bevy of other mainstream media outlets, Camp Bisco is becoming much more than just a festival focused on everyone’s favorite East Coast livetronica quartet – it’s becoming a national institution and one of the most talked about events of the summer.
This year’s event boasts Pretty Lights, Wiz Khalifa, Cut/Copy, Bassnectar, the first ever Shpongle live set in the U.S. and plenty of Disco Biscuits (which is becoming more of a rarity these days).
[FIND complete lineup, ticketing information and analysis in our 2011 Festival Guide.]
Headstash Magazine caught up with MCP’s Jon Fordin who helps organize the festival, having a hand in everything from buying talent to marketing the event and hiring staff and putting tickets on sale.
Fordin talked about the varied lineup, the increased publicity and what to expect for the special anniversary tenth installment of the event.
[FIND more information about Camp Bisco X on the festival's website.]
Headstash Magazine: What do you like most about being involved with Camp Bisco?
Jon Fordin: Our favorite part about this event is watching the fans have the greatest weekend of their lives each and every year. We constantly get told that it is their favorite time of the year.
HM: What’s going to be special for the tenth installment?
JF: It's going to be bigger and better than ever. Everything will be bigger. Growth, new ideas, new music and expanding the scene – we like to find and book talent that no one else out there is booking.
HM: Lots of bands have their own festivals, but it seems like Camp Bisco is one of the biggest and most popular of them all. What do you attribute that to?
JF: I think a lot of it has to do with the growth of our talent and who we are booking. We try to break barriers every year [with the artists we put on the bill].
|The Disco Biscuit's Aron Magner - Photo Credit: Kaitlin Parry|
HM: How do you go about building that lineup? Is it easier because you have a substantial headliner in The Disco Biscuits scheduled each year or does that make it more difficult?
JF: Having a headliner like The Biscuits helps in some ways and hurts in others. Obviously we don't need to wait on a headliner to announce since everyone knows who it’s going to be. However, we also lose out on some acts because we don't have the budget or space to put them. But booking comes pretty easily. We book what we like and what the fans like and what sells tickets.
HM: The lineup is pretty varied and skewed toward to livetronica/electronic music. Aside from it being The Disco Biscuit’s general genre, how did that develop and why do you go continue in that direction?
JF: We love electronic music and obviously it’s a scene that’s growing quickly. We have been at the forefront of this scene for years and its just taking off everywhere. We had acts that were selling 100 tickets when we started who are selling 5,000+ at this point in their careers. We have all grown together.
HM: You always have a little bit of hip-hop in there and this year with Wiz Khalifa is not different. Why is that?
JF: Again, we love hip-hop music so we book it. Our fans listen to a lot of different music including and it provides a nice change of pace during the day. I have always said the two biggest genres of worldwide music are probably country and hip-hop, and we obviously can only book one of those.
HM: The Disco Biscuits are known to be pretty fun guys. How is it working with them?
JF: They are a lot of fun. They certainly know how to keep things interesting.
HM: Beyond the music, what else do you have in store for festivalgoers?
JF: We have fire performances, fire dancers, fire cannons, art installations and tenth anniversary theme parties each night. Friday is going to be a disco themed party to go along with the DFA Records Disco Tent, and Saturday will be a "newer wave" 80s themed party.
|The Disco Biscuit's Marc Brownstein - Photo Credit: Kaitlin Parry|
HM: What is the toughest part of planning each year? Does it get any easier after 10 years?
JF: It gets easier, but with growth becomes more work, of course. The toughest part is probably scheduling 100+ performances. We work on this year round – there is no off time anymore.
HM: How do you continue to grow as an event each year? Is the success of the festival completely contingent on the Disco Biscuits? Do you worry that the festival relies too heavily on them?
JF: The festival used to rely on them more, but as it’s growing I think it’s proving it can stand on its own. This will always be their event, but we can go bigger and bigger with the talent we book. You'd be surprised how many non-Disco Biscuits fans attend now.
HM: Talk about your relationship with the motorcycle club members who run security? How did that come about and why do you continue to use it?
JF: They are our staff. We have a real security company, but the bikers help us with everything. It was a match made in heaven. We needed a place we could do what we want freely and the bikers found their place with the same needs and in the end it ended up being their home and ours. There is a respect factor between our fans and the older bikers.
HM: With regards to security, how do you balance keeping people safe and keeping out drugs and nitrous without impeding upon attendees freedom?
JF: There is no nitrous on our property – never has and never will be. People know not to come to the festival grounds with drugs or nitrous. They will get caught. It's a great balance between freedom and safety at Indian Lookout Country Club and it truly feels like home. I couldn't imagine Camp Bisco being on any other piece of property.
HM: The modern day music festival is something of an enigma. It’s part counter-culture, part weekend-long party. But it’s tough to identify what purpose it serves. What role do you think Camp Bisco (and festivals like it) plays in the grand scheme of things?
JF: It’s the future of live music. Bottom line: where else can you go see 100+ performances for under $200.00?
Camp Bisco takes place July 7 to 9 at the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, NY. Tickets are on sale on the event's website.
Which acts are you most excited for this year? Leave a comment below.