REVIEW: Dirtybird Campout East 2018

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It’s Summer Camp, but for adults. A fairly simple concept, but add house music and this recipe has been killing it for Claude VonStroke’s label Dirtybird, with their Dirtybird Campout West in California for years. Bringing the beat to the east, Claude and the crew threw their inaugural Dirtybird Campout East this past weekend.

Friday had no music, and we will, from here on, refer to it as Good Friday of Dirtybird East. Like the inappropriately named day Jesus was crucified, all was ominously quiet.

But Saturday morning Claude and other staffers rode by on carts adorned with palm fronds to preach the news, “tomorrow the music will rise again!” And on the second day, it did.

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Playful simile aside, Saturday around mid day, the speakers were turned away from nearby residencies and towards the uninhabited swamp to continue this sacred house and techno festival. After an arduous Friday, wrought with legal trouble for the Dirtybird team, the music was turned back on with the help of Pitbull’s lawyer and Marco Rubio, obviously two of the biggest players in Florida politics.

While the festival is thrown by a collection of DJs, they stay true to the summer camp theme. In addition to archery, an obstacle course, and camp games; Dirtybird offered a variety of summer camp activities including crafts at Craftopia and camp talent shows at the Bunkhouse Stage.

At this point, anyone who follows electronic music knows that Claude VonStroke and Barclay Crenshaw are the same person but with different sounds, Barclay being his birth name. What few may know and many found out, is that Barclay also used to go under the moniker DJ Tree in the 90s when he did drum and bass. To make up for the lack of music Friday, he reprised this title early Saturday for excited fanboys.

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In an press event Saturday, Claude thanked his wife for all the hard work she and the team put into resuscitating the weekend with their hard work getting the permits back. He recounted having to play the Dirtybird classic camp game, Lap Dance For Your Life, with an acoustic band featuring a double bass and banjo. Basically musical chairs with the last two sitting giving each other lap dances, Claude apparently had to give a lot and even broke a chair.

But Claude’s participation is partially what made the weekend so unforgettable. With his lawn flamingo scepter and raccoon skin hat, Claude’s presence was obvious at any camp activity. For fans that usually only get to see him on stage at festivals like Bonnaroo or Hulaween, the intimacy with such a big artist was well worth the ticket price.

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The two main stages, The Birdhouse and The Bass Lodge, kept kicking until a little after 10 pm Sunday night. Luckily most of the bigger names stayed through the Friday delay and Sunday became the most star studded night of the festival.

Biz Markie, famous “Just A Friend” singer, came out to the swamp with a set behind the turntables Sunday night. When the audience realized that “Just A Friend” either wouldn’t play or would be bookended by Black Eyed Peas songs, much of the audience his name had amassed left and went over to The Birdhouse to see George Fitzgerald blow nasty bass notes through the stage’s futuristic speaker stacks (even the monitor speakers looked like gramophone speakers, it was nuts.) After Biz ended, fans flocked back to the Bass Lodge to see Claude close out the weekend as Barclay Crenshaw before the Dirtybird Family Set from 9-10pm at the Birdhouse.


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