The Dirtybird gets the worm: Dirtybird Campout West 2018
Posted on October 23 2018
It’s been almost three weeks since Dirtybird Campout and my serotonin levels have finally replenished enough for me to recap it. Post-festival blues are real, my dudes.
Being the first campout without DoLab support, there were some hiccups, as expected, but even with the inevitable mishaps (which were few), this was still my favorite campout yet. The vibe of Dirtybird Campout is something truly unique, and is the reason this has become my favorite festival of the year.
I’m going to try and recap in chronological order, but if you’ve read any of my writing before, you know I tend to ramble and jump all over the place. Sorry in advance. Side note (that didn’t last long), if I ever hand you a drink and say sorry in advance, you’re screwed (here’s looking at you, Amber).
OK, here goes.
We flew to LA from Alaska to meet up with our crew in Huntington Beach on Wednesday. Knowing how reunion night before festivals go, we decided to adult (lol) and stay semi-sober. Well, D stayed sober (safety first guys, always have a DD). Me, semi-sober. We called it an early night and hit the road somewhere around 8pm. It was a 5 1/2 hour drive without traffic and gates opened at 2pm the next day. I am not a morning person and the thought of driving at 6am sounded like torture. We found a shitty hotel in Modesto so that we could sleep in and take one last shower before the weekend shenanigans began and crashed. Best decision we’ve ever made. We woke up at 10am well rested and ready to rage.
As is tradition, we met at Costco with the rest of the crew two hours before gates opening on day zero. We had people flying in from Alaska, driving up from Huntington Beach, down from Portland, and some flying in from Arizona. I love running into all the other dirty birds out in the wild before a festival. It was like a mini pre-party! The looks we get from the locals is always entertaining.
We stocked up on the essentials (tequila, water, snacks, batteries, a couple Costco pizzas, and stuff to make “wook soup” [more on that later]) and hit the road!
Here is where having a new venue and no DoLab support was the most noticeable. We showed up and got in line where the volunteers directed us. There was definitely more security this time around. They said no glass and they meant it. We saw people getting their booze taken away (sorry guys, I feel for you). They checked our car and we breezed right through, handing out doughnuts along the way. Shoutout to the volunteers. You guys work your asses off and it’s pretty thankless.
Keeping with the family vibe, Claude made his rounds through the lines of cars to say hi (Click here for video courtesy of Marcelo Harper and here for video courtesy of Dorian Rodriguez). One of my favorite things about Dirtybird is that the usual societal hierarchy is pretty much non-existent. We’re all there to have a good time. Artists and first responders included.
Usually, camping is pretty much a free-for-all, but this year they were directing people to camping spots. My biggest complaint about the festival is that us early birds got shafted on the camping spots. We were placed in the back lot, farthest away from the festival entrance and stages.
Even though we were in the boonies, we still had an amazing camp site. Over the years the crew and the campsite just keeps growing. Every year I think we've hit peak awesomeness, but every year I'm surprised. (Don't mind Tarick. He's happy, I promise.)
It was definitely a journey to get into the festival, but NOTHING like last year, so I’m not bitching too much. I’m hoping we keep this venue and they get the camping sitch worked out for next year. Luckily we were right next to the Pink Renegade camp, which was dope!
Here's some footage of J Woogie throwin down in the Pink EZ Up courtesy of Jessica Renteria.
Thursday night (aka Day Zero) was pajama party night. Those onesies came in clutch because it was COLD at night. I’m from Alaska and I froze. Again, nothing like last year though. Patrick Topping was the guest DJ at the Bass Lodge with Claude VonStroke and DAMN. He killed it. Every year I discover an artist I hadn’t heard of before, and this year it was him. I am now a fan girl for life.
Credit: Helen Perez
The opening set on Day 1 was one of my most anticipated. Vanessa Barnes, aka VNSSA, was the opening act and she did not disappoint. If you haven’t heard of her, and you love house music, you need to check out her stuff. I am in love and she definitely made it in my top 5 sets of the weekend. Here's her pre-campout mix since none of the live sets have been posted yet.
My second, and last, complaint were the insane sound restrictions they had to abide by. Don’t get me wrong, the sound was great, but it could have used a few extra dBs. The authorities had no idea what to expect, and to ensure we didn’t disturb the neighbors, they put some pretty strict rules in place. From what I hear though, the sound crew killed it, we had no complaints and have been invited back next year with less restrictions. Bring on the bone-rattling bass. Here’s a whole thread with details on the sound restrictions in case you want to read up. Major props to Dirtybird and the sound engineers for pulling this off.
Link to post here.
Here’s where the timeline is going to start falling apart. It’s hard to remember what day and time things happened. So from here on out, it’s just going to be a random assortment of memories and moments. Every day brought a new adventure.
The new venue had WATER! And not the kind that would turn you into the toxic Avenger if you swam in it! Though it did have some surprises. Naked Guy in the Lake being one of them. I wasn’t even mad about it though. Dude looked like he was having more fun than all of us. You do you bb. Let that donger fly free.
Dirtybird Campout is not just a festival. It is an adult summer camp (in October). One of the greatest things about campout is that you get to compete against your friends and favorite artists in camp inspired competitions. This year’s games and activities included dodge ball, a floatie race, bingo, tie dying, screen printing, a three-legged race, tug-of-war, lap dance for your life competition, balloon toss, yoga, and so much more. It’s impossible to make it all, but you should try. I mean, someone won a CAR at Bingo.
Credit: The Great Bingo Revival
There are a few things you can count on happening at Campout: great music, amazing people, and some crazy shit going down. Here are just a few things (in addition to naked guy in a lake, listed above).
The Fungineers. Holy Shit. Trying to explain that to my friends was WILD. “I swear to God you guys. There was a food truck RIGHT HERE. It had a muppet DJ’ing and synchronized dancing gnomes freestying Dre on top. They just kept popping out of different windows.” Just watch the videos. It’s still too weird to explain.
The birdies that were still alive on Sunday night got to witness Space-X launching Falcon 9. Most of us had no idea what the hell was going on. Rumors of aliens and the end of the world made their rounds around camp pretty quickly. It was almost more fun to not know and listen to the speculations. Even though there was no extraterrestrial explanation, it wasn’t something we’ll forget anytime soon.
Credit: Matt Finfrock
This post is getting lengthy, so I’m going to give you the abridged version from here on out.
I am just in awe of the beautiful people that show up for Campout. I witnessed so many people stopping to make sure the people around them were okay and had enough water; people picking up trash from the dance floors and other common areas; people treating strangers as if they were family. This is what gives Dirtybird Campout a special place in my heart. Not once was I pushed or shoved. I always had enough room to dance. I was never groped or harassed and I never felt unsafe wandering by myself. This is definitely not the norm. I have learned to be vigilant at music festivals and in life, because let’s face it, these things do happen.
Not only are these some of the happiest and most respectful people I’ve ever surrounded myself with, these are some of the most crafty people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. The outfits, gifts, and totems were ON POINT. You can check out some of them here.
I know I’ve spent a lot of time talking about everything BUT the music, but it is a given for me that Dirtybird will kill it. And they did. Day after day. Some of my favorite sets, in no particular order were: VNSSA, Green Velvet, Patrick Topping, Walker & Royce, Will Clarke, and of course the Family Set. There were so many more, but these are the ones that stuck with me. Will Clarke’s remix of Nick Monaco’s “Drama” was my jam for the weekend. It never failed to give me goosebumps every time it was played. Hopefully sets will be posted soon. I’ll make a SoundCloud playlist and link to it here when they start showing up.
I’m not sure how to wrap this up, so I’m just going to hit you with some pics, videos, and a recipe for the aforementioned wook soup. Stay fly my dirty birdies.
Credit: Aaron Benjamin Glassman
This soup is not only cheap and easy but is a lifesaver on cold nights at camp. You’re welcome.
- Packaged Ramen
- Soy Sauce