Photo & Thoughts: Roger Coppola + Hannah Mendoza
Dirtybird campout found a new home this year at the San Antonio Campgrounds, a beautiful landscape marked by gnarled oaks, golden fields, and plenty of open space for all the colorful party goers. After two years at Oak Canyon Park, Claude and the team were able to maximize the use of a new venue that gave way to a more diverse and developed weekend experience. This environment created the perfect container for campers to tap into the nostalgia of their childhood memories with a Dirtybird twist, spending their days exploring hiking trails, observing wildlife, practicing archery, and playing kickball. While at the same time enjoying smokey barbecues, belly-laugh induced comedy shows, and some questionable late-night karaoke performances. These opportunities are what make Dirtybird such a unique festival experience, but rest assured the lineup was incredibly stacked and the music fully delivered.
As the sun set over Central California, Dirtybirds from all over the globe flocked to dusty dance-floors seeking groovy 4x4 beats and booty-shaking bass music. The Birdhouse, Dirtybird Campouts main stage provided attendees with some of the highest quality house music currently in the scene. As the night grew darker Friday evening, so did the music at the Birdhouse as Danny Daze took to the decks. Sticking to his signature style, he brought the crowd into a heavier, faster-paced rhythm, while adding touches of the wonky, hip-hop influenced Dirtybird sound. On top of this, his mastery was displayed in the way he mixed on four different decks at once while live scratching flawlessly. Other highlights included the Saturday sunset experience with cut snake, tinkling heartstrings with remixes of the XX, and later that night Justin Martin reminding us of what home feels like with unreleased Bjork edits.
However, new to the festival this year was the incorporation of a fully established second stage titled the Bass lodge which brought a slightly different crowd into the Dirtybird family and gave way to the exploration of a more diverse spectrum of electronic music. This stage lived up to its name, playing the full spectrum of bass music from trap, to experimental bass music, and even some rarely explored drum and bass.
One of the funniest moment of the weekend was overhearing attendees debate whether the stage was named after the fish or the deep frequencies musical enthusiasts crave.. Regardless, this new stage delivered some of the most mind melting bass music the west coast has seen in quite some time. Although there was confusion around the pronunciation of the Bass Lodge, there was no second guessing the quality of artists that graced the stage. dOP live played Friday afternoon and engaged the crowd with minimal, progressive techy beats and heavenly vocals. Saturday evening Claude Vonstroke, aka Barclay Crenshaw, took the stage and demonstrated another level of what bass music can be, transporting us to the stars, as he toyed with the space between sounds and masterfully brought in a Bon Iver edit, just at the right moment. Final Standouts include DJ Marky and the Martin Brothers Drum and Bass sets into Sunday morning, which fulfilled the deep void of the genre in the west coast festival scene.
Perhaps my favorite part of the event was seeing the way different scenes of people gathered together to celebrate life and music. The fashion ranged from sparkly glitter aliens, to long time burners, beach bros, and the occasional banana. Creating a safe space to explore any self expression. Let’s not forget the bountiful amounts of totems that went from bagels on a stick to Rick and Morty references, and of course plenty of renditions of adventure time. Although one of the last festivals of the season, it was wonderful to see that people still went all out with expressing themselves and coloring the dance-floor.
All in All this was a glorious weekend of exploration and silliness, in an incredibly beautiful environment, thank you to Claude, the team, and all the attendees for making it a magical experience. See you next year Campers!