Posted Aug 1st, 2011 (4:33 am) by Derek Duoba
tokimonsta at camp bisco ten
Image by Derek Duoba

Another year in upstate New York meant another adrenaline-fueled romp at the three-day Camp Bisco. This year’s iteration was no less insane (and arguably more so) than last year’s festival at the Indian Lookout Country Club. As Inyourspeakers’ second official time out at the event, we had the benefit of being able to compare this year’s Bisco to last year’s musical throw down. The musical performances, which included the likes of Bassnectar, Death from Above 1979, Neon Indian, Treasure Fingers, and Tokimonsta, were just as stellar as the year before. The crowd, of course, was just as amped to be a part of the landmark tenth year of the festival. In fact, the prior year’s festivities caused such a stir in the musical world of the Northeast that an additional nine thousand attendees made their way out to the country club for the weekend. We at IYS knew well ahead of time what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to venture out to Camp Bisco, and couldn’t have been more excited to take part in the weekend’s activities.

Section One: Organization/Production

The addition of nearly nine thousand attendees to this year’s iteration of Camp Bisco leaves no doubt in our minds that the festival has entered it’s “growing pains” stage. Considering that the previous year hosted approximately fifteen thousand festivalgoers, this year’s enormous influx of attendees posed significant challenges to the event’s organizers. We found that while some of said challenges were met admirably (namely through fantastic lineup organization, increased stage and camping space, and the addition of veritable armies of both staff and security members), some items were, unfortunately seriously lacking. Our most serious concerns lay in the lack of washing / sanitary facilities, and potable water (all access to water was turned-off during the second day of the festival, and did not come back until midway through the third). We also found that festival organizers were slow to respond to the muddy conditions created by heavy rains on the second day of Camp Bisco; this made walking from stage to stage a potentially hazardous affair.

TOTAL: 22/30

Section Two: Presentation

Camp Bisco’s charm is twofold: it treads the fine line between electronic and analogue music, and presents an amazing array of high-profile acts to a relatively small audience. At nearly any time throughout the four-day affair, festivalgoers could expect to see a wide range of performances, from EDM acts such as Skrillex, Nero, and Pretty Lights, to more traditional rock bands along the lines of Yeasayer, Ratatat, and Death From Above 1979. The fact that Bisco played host to a relatively modest twenty-five thousand attendees meant that none of the performances were ever overcrowded. In short, the atmosphere and presentation of the festival could not be any more perfect for the avid live music fan.

TOTAL: 17/20

Section Three: Sustainability Practices

As is the case with other major festivals that we covered this year, Camp Bisco organizers strove to implement a number of greening initiatives to offset the festival’s unavoidable environmental impact. This year, ZeroHero provided waste management oversight, which resulted in the diversion of approximately ninety percent of all waste materials from landfills (through recycling and composting). We found recycling and composting receptacles to be just as common as trash cans throughout the grounds. On the other hand, it does not appear that the festival’s organizers chose to utilize so-called green energy to offset carbon emissions this year.

TOTAL: 13/25

Section Four: Non-Musical Entertainment

Although Camp Bisco bills itself primarily as a music festival, and thus focuses most of its resources on the production thereof, the event does offer some non-musical entertainment from time to time. The long-running “Color Wars,” which can only be described as a sort of grade-school-field-day-on-amphetamines experience, ran for the most of the day on Friday, while both Saturday and Sunday nights played host to themed dance parties. Yoga classes were made available to those of us who didn’t party till the break of dawn on both Friday and Saturday mornings. While these events provided a reasonable level of entertainment to festivalgoers in need of a break from music, we would have liked to have seen a wider range of non-musical entertainment offerings from Bisco’s organizers in line with the offerings of comparable festivals.

TOTAL: 6/10

Section Five: Overall Atmosphere

Aside from the lineup, the primary determining factors for a majority of festivalgoers are ticket prices and convenience. Camp Bisco X receives nearly perfect marks in both of the aforementioned categories with comparatively bottom-of-the barrel ticket prices (for reference, a ticket to CBX cost approximately half of the price of admission to this year’s Bonnaroo or Coachella), and an extremely convenient location for the target audience. In addition to the aforementioned items, the climate and timing of Camp Bisco make for an enjoyably comfortable festival experience; this year’s event saw low humidity, temperatures in the low eighties, and only a single night of inclement (aka rainy) weather.

TOTAL: 12/15


In the end, our experience at Camp Bisco Ten was overwhelmingly positive. Nearly every person we ran into couldn’t have been happier to be a part of the tenth iteration of The Disco Biscuits’ namesake party, and with good reason. Not only was the event’s lineup spectacular, but it was organized in such a manner that caused us to only miss a few of our favorite acts. At no point during the three-day affair were we ever confused about which festival we were at; Bisco, through its presentation as well as the crowd it attracts, stands out amongst the United States’ major music festivals.

On the other hand, while we absolutely loved Camp Bisco’s acts and atmosphere, we found a few logistical aspects of the production to be troubling. The lack of adequate sanitary facilities and water for the estimated twenty-five thousand attendees resulted in much inconvenience, and could have caused significant issues had the weather been slightly warmer and sunnier. We also found the festival’s response (or relative lack thereof) to the hazardously muddy conditions brought on by sustained rain on Friday night to be a source of concern.

Assuming that the aforementioned issues are properly addressed, and that the same incredible level of talent is preserved for next year’s event, Camp Bisco will undoubtedly become the most highly recommended national-level music festival in the eastern United States. It may go without saying, but as we leave this year’s festival behind, we once again look forward to next year’s event with the highest of hopes.

Final Score (Multi-Day Festivals): 70/100

Camp Bisco 10 Daily Reviews:
Day One
Day Two
Day Three

© Inyourspeakers Media LLC