Biscoland Triumphs Through the Heat at Wonderland

More than two decades of Disco Biscuits music festival memories converged in Central New York over July 4-6. Combining the rocky terrain of Skye Top Festival Grounds in Van Etten, the hills of Hunter Mountain, the prime rural location of Mariaville and the heat and humidity of Montage Mountain, Camp Biscos of years past were recalled throughout the weekend, these elements compacting into a look at a bright spot in the once boisterous Northeast music festival scene.


Even with all music bumped to be an hour or so earlier than announced, the full Camp Bisco Biscoland experience was on tap. New artists to discover, veteran jam and funk acts to catch up with, Tractorbeam, various DJ sets, a Silent Disco for the post-11 pm noise curfew, and adding in the humidity and heat coupled with the threat of rain/storms, and it was like Camp Bisco 2008 all over again.

Wonderland Forest, which has the potential to be the Caverns of the Northeast, makes the experience not just inside the venue, but the location includes a drive into the rural foothills in southern Onondaga County, with a unique and accessible layout found nowhere else in the Northeast. A byproduct of the Covid-pandemic, the venue’s management thinks differently about the events they plan, the fans they cater to, and the experience that everyone has upon arrival and throughout the weekend. With a summer calendar of events lined up that rivals amphitheaters around the state, Wonderland Forest is shaping up to make Central New York a true live music destination.

Thursday arrival was smooth whether you were car camping or bringing the RV along. Staff solved preferred camping shuttle issues quickly to get fans to their sites and out to see the music. 

The initial afternoon slate of music featured opening acts from JImkata, a nationally touring electro-rock band with ties to nearby Ithaca, and Kitchen Dwellers a very non-local band from Montana continually growing in popularity and serving up a blend of bluegrass and psychedelic rock.

Day 1 also featured two sets from a pair of renowned DJs, starting with Mark Farina who played an hour’s worth of house music and his signature “mushroom jazz” at the Saloon Stage. Nora En Pure, a deep house producer known for her signature style of downtempo techno, followed on the Main Stage with a set of music that served as a fitting appetizer for the main course that evening.

That would be Tractorbeam, the Disco Biscuits musical alter ego per se, which features a more techno/dance heavy and lyric-less approach to their music mixed along with other electronica inspirations. Tonight leaned heavily on the “other” with a slew of first timers making their way into the two-hour set that never truly stopped at any point until Katy Perry belted out “Firework.”


A first-time cover of Porter Robinson’s “Language” started the set and funneled perfectly into the techno-styled “Confrontation” that the band has mixed into Disco Biscuits sets as of late. The rest of the set followed suit, blending a mix of electronica classics like Fisher’s “Losing It” that segued effortlessly into a rousing “The Great Abyss” with the laser light show now at full strength. The set even featured a cover of Darude’s “Sandstorm,” also played for the first time.

With the band fittingly adorned in blue and red Adidas track suits for the holiday, they continued to effortlessly churn through new additions to the Tractorbeam musical repertoire, like their take on Fred Again & Baby Keem’s “Leavemealone” that featured some incredible work on the e-drums from Allen Aucoin. The following segment of “Monster” > “Uber Glue” > “Photograph” flowed seamlessly and was the only true run of Biscuits originals. And although there would be no professional pyrotechnics set off on the 4th, the Tractorbeam set ended with a proper cover of Katy Perry’s “Firework” that put an end to the first night of music at Biscoland. 

Friday warmed up fast and brought along that Camp Bisco humidity of legend and ill repute. Early sets from Dizgo and RAQ brought out those looking to get out of their campsites and hotels. Lespecial kept the crowd engaged, with bassist Luke Bemand poking fun at himself for wearing black jeans on such a hot day, bringing up Cloudchord on guitar during “Enter Sandstorm,” calling back to the Tractorbeam debut of “Sandstorm” the night before. Bemand and Co. flattered the sun-baked crowd throughout the set, reminding those gathered at the main stage “your body is a Wonderland Forest.” Sets from Lettuce and Break Science framed the night ahead, a warm up in the evening daylight for the Biscuits.


For the first proper weekend set of Disco Biscuits, a 14-minute “Vassillios” opened things up with the classic old school tune, something rare to find on this night of fresh/er Biscuits. However, we could not confirm at press time that first set highlight “Dino Baby” was influenced by regional brisket. The smoothly flowing “Dino Baby” stretched itself into an inverted “Crickets,” and once the jam was found, gave a bridge to the first (lyrical) debut of the night, “In the End We Have Forever,” although it had been played fully instrumental at Electric Forest two weeks prior. “No Recollection” closed the set with bassist Marc Brownstein encouraging the crowd (and band) they’d keep the setbreak short at 20 minutes, which they nearly delivered on.

The second set saw the debut of “Another Spin” spanning more than 30 minutes,and based on the March 9, 2024 “No Recollection” jam, per Biscuits Internet Project. Working into the end of “Another Plan of Attack”, the band debuted “Losing It,” again with lyrics, after presenting the instrumental version during Tractorbeam on Thursday night, a rare double-debut for a band that has been unloading fresh new material on fans like an A-list comic hitting the Comedy Cellar night after night for 15-minute sets.

Dipping back into the beginning of “Another Plan of Attack,” the only other old school Biscuits song of the night, “Catalyst” made itself welcome, grinding the end of the set towards “Ring the Doorbell Twice.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a dull moment from these sets, with plenty to unpack from the debuts upon relistens. 

The last day of this year’s Biscoland offered a brief respite from some of the humidity and more varied musical acts leading up to two more sets of Disco Biscuits. Saxsquatch, which is exactly what it sounds like, braved the weather and delivered covers on the sax at the Saloon Stage in the early afternoon. Later on the Main Stage, albeit after a bit of a delay, The Breakfast reunited for a set of psychedelic-infused rock that included a spot-on cover of MGMT’s “Time To Pretend.” Afterwards, Space Bacon played to a full and lively crowd back on the Saloon Stage, setting the stage perfectly for the headliners with some Bisco-esque guitar riffs and impressive jamming overall.

The Biscuits continued to mesh the old with the new in their last two sets of the weekend, starting with a true old school number in “Basis For A Day.” The show began with a cohesive instrumental jam that started off fast and never let up for well over 10 minutes until the familiar chorus, with some added orchestral effects from Magner on keys, rang out. The jam out of “Basis” was patiently crafted and segued seamlessly into “Freeze,” from the band’s recent Revolution In Motion release. The extended jam out of “Freeze” led into “Better In Doses,” a completely brand new song debuted, featuring Barber on lead vocals and an infectious beat that seemed like it could have easily fit alongside other “Motion” songs on the album.

The second set began with one last nod to the days of old with a massive “House Dog Party Favor” opener that reached almost 30 minutes in length. From the ashes of the second “House Dog” jam arose yet another new song making its live debut, “Trap Door.” This elicited an intense, slow build of a jam that steamrolled perfectly into a “Cyclone” that continued to build the momentum and even used samples of Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean.”

An inverted “Above The Waves’ followed and served as the other massive jam vehicle of the second set. After one last introduction to “Trap Door,” the show came to a close with one last silky smooth transition into “Digital Buddha,” which allotted one last opportunity of samples and true Biscuits rock.

For those that still had a little left in the tank, a Cloudchord silent disco set was the final performance of this year’s Biscoland due to the last minute change in schedule. The Revolution in Motion producer was armed with a guitar and a drum machine and even brought up Barber for a short few minutes on a run through of “Shocked,” giving those in attendees one last chance to soak up the very last remnants of Biscoland 2.

The Disco Biscuits community has rallied to support a fan who was injured by a tree that fell in the night of July 5. A GoFundMe has been set up. Learn more here to help Mary Wallace on her road to recovery.

Disco Biscuits 2024 Tour Dates
7/11 – Selbyville, DE – Freeman Arts Pavilion
7/12 – Atlantic City, NJ – Bourbon Ballroom
7/13 – Richmond, VA – The National
7/14 – Wilmington, NC – Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
7/15 – Isle of Palms, SC – The Windjammer
7/18-19 Thornville, OH – Secret Dreams Festival
7/20 – Patchogue, NY – Great South Bay Music Festival
8/9-11 – Long Pond, PA – Elements Festival
8/29-30 – TBA
8/31-9/1 – Murphysboro, IL – Weekend at the Cave
9/6 – Dillon, CO – Dillon Amphitheater
9/7 – Bellvue, CO – Mishawaka Amphitheatre (SOLD OUT)
9/8 – Bellvue, CO – Mishawaka Amphitheatre (SOLD OUT)
9/11 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
9/13 – Livingston, MT – Pine Creek Lodge (TRACTORBEAM)
9/14-15 – Livingston, MT – Pine Creek Lodge

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