This will be my fifth year attending Camp Bisco in Mariaville at the Indian Lookout Country Club. As a Camp Bisco veteran, I have a few tips and suggestions that I wish someone would’ve told me before my first Camp. Following these guidelines can only help make your festival experience run smoothly and make fora successful weekend.
1. Use a marker for your camp site. This is something I’ve always put number one on my list. As the festival has grown, the grounds have become a maze, making it difficult to find your friends and campsite. Use whatever is easiest to transport. In the past I have seen everything from flags to balloons and “rage sticks” to identify where you are in the labyrinth of easy ups and tents; whatever it takes to make sure you don’t end up sleeping in another person’s tent. If you choose to bring a balloon, make sure you bring ample string or rope and tie it tightly. I’ve seen all too many fallen balloon-soldiers to the weak ribbons of festival land.
2. DON’T bring glass. Just don’t do it. If you look at the Camp Bisco website you will see this clearly indicated under numerous times in the “What Not To Bring” portion of the site. Your car is going to get searched and there is nothing that holds up a line like a couple glass jars or bottle, whether full of beer, salsa or other things. You’ll end up having to throw out your stuff and you’ll probably make a lot of people mad. This is your warning.
3. Always buy warm beer. A rookie mistake at a festival is buying a 30 pack of ice cold beer thinking that it won’t become skunk after day one. At a festival, ice is a privilege, not a right, so if you have things you need to keep cold, you have to wake up early to get to the general store and pick up a bag or two. With the thousands of people attending Camp Bisco, there is no way that you can plan on keeping ice forever on site for your crew, especially in the warm July heat when you’re gonna need it. Don’t pack things that you know need to stay constantly iced, because chances are you’ll run into a time where you’re going to have to wait for the festival to restock their ice supply. It isn’t fun having a cooler of food that’s gone bad, that’s for sure.
4. Stay hydrated. Another rookie mistake I’ve seen year after year is the first year festival goers putting back beers in the 100 degree weather waiting in line to get in. Yeah, it’s nice to have a beer after a long commute but you have a long day and a long weekend ahead of you. The amount of people that collapse from not properly staying hydrated in the heat is outrageous. No matter where you go within the festival grounds, keep water on deck. You certainly don’t want your festival experience to be ruined by waking up in the EMT tent due to dehydration. Bring TOO MUCH water; it’s better to be safe than sorry. The pump water is completely kosher for a quick rinse down in the morning, but bring your own water to drink. Water is a huge necessity at a festival, don’t make the mistake of not bringing enough. Last year between two people, we went through a case and a half of water. Given, it was peaking 98 degrees during the day, but with all the dancing and sweating you’ll be doing, you’re going to need a ton of H20.
5. Map out what music you want to see prior to getting to the festival. Chances are there will be a million things going on at once that you want to experience and enjoy, so make sure you have a clear path cut out to ensure that you get the best of your festival experience. Also, do not lose your schedule. By day two everyone and their mother is going to try and borrow your schedule because they lost their own. Make sure you keep your schedule somewhere safe so that you’re not missing out on the awesome acts throughout the weekend. And make sure you see something new! Camp Bisco has introduced me to some of my favorite bands and DJs that I would not have heard otherwise. Venture out, follow the crowds and jump from stage to stage. You will not regret it.
6. Pack appropriate clothing; It seems like a given, but sometimes you need to be reminded. I’ve seen past Biscos that have rained the entire time and I was definitely happy to have a pair of rain boots, umbrella and rain coat on deck. You can never be sure what the weather will bring when you’re camping outside vulnerable to mother nature’s wrath. In the same breath, bring sunscreen! I have also seen a Bisco where it has been 100 degrees every day with nothing but beaming, hot sun (i.e., last year). I made this mistake my first year and have always made sure I bring ample sunscreen every year since. There is nothing worse than being brutally burned for an entire weekend of sun, dancing and music. Also, don’t bring an expensive pair of shoes that you value. Regardless of the weather, somewhere there will be mud. If there wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a festival. I’ve seen people go barefoot the entire weekend and it just isn’t a good idea. You never know what lies in the depths of a muddy field that you really don’t want in or around your bare feet.
7. Bring a solar powered charger. You’ll be happy when you’re not standing in line at a charging station or killing the battery on your car. There is little to no cellphone service at Indian Lookout so you’re phone will die almost immediately. Honestly, the best advice I could give you in regards to your expensive smart phone is lock it up. You won’t have service, it’ll constantly be dead and you’ll probably end up breaking, losing or dropping it in a port-o-potty; just lock it up and forget about it. Sounds unbelievable, but I promise you’ll survive.
8. Get some sleep. As tempting as it is to pull all nighters for an entire weekend, your body will hate you come Sunday morning when it’s time to make that commute back to wherever you live. Even if it’s only a couple hours a night, make sure you sleep. This could be difficult due the constant thumping bass from your neighbors and the mandatory Five a.m. drum circles, so bring ear plugs, maybe a sleep mask and catch some shut eye. I have never been happier at a Camp Bisco than when I am fully rested and ready to keep moving.
9. Wet wipes are God’s way of saying “You don’t need a shower to smell clean(ish)”. The shower lines at Camp can get pretty long. The best way to ensure a shower is to go at night, but then you’re risking missing an epic set on main stage. Wet wipes are cheap, easy and will keep you relatively clean. At least clean enough to not be that smelly guy in the crowd.
10. Lastly, have fun! A day at Camp Bisco can feel like a week in real-time. Take things slow, don’t get overwhelmed and enjoy your time at one of the fastest growing, greatest electronic music festivals in the world.