Entering its fourth year, Dirtybird Campout has quickly become a staple in emerging the West Coast house scene. Claude VonStroke and the entire Dirtybird Family have worked extremely hard to build the brand that house heads know and love. The label has reached immense success across the globe, with birds flocking from all over the country, some even as far as Germany and Canada to join their leader in arms Mr. VonStroke for three days filled with fun along the water.
About 7,000 festival goers arrived in Modesto, CA on October 5th. They quickly unpacked their bags and set up camp for the weekend so they could commence with the three-day party as soon as physically possible. By 12:00 PM, attendees were already making their way to the stages, faces full of smiles and ready to begin dancing into the night.
This year, Dirtybird Campout had two main stages. The Birdhouse featured most of the house and techno acts. The Bass Lodge housed the dubstep, drum and bass, breakbeat, and hip-hop artists. I was a bit disappointed that the locations of the stages were not reversed due to the fact that the birdhouse was placed on a cement-filled parking lot while the bass lodge was on a dirt surface. Besides this, I believe the stages were set up extremely well in terms of their appearance. The speakers, however, were a bit quieter than my liking at times during the day but this had close to zero effect on how much fun I had at the festival. On top of this, the Bass Lodge was home to the nightly silent disco that commenced from 2:00 AM until about 5:00 AM for each night of the weekend, a much-needed amenity for the late-night birds.
I cannot recall the names of the food vendors but a handful of them looked familiar to the ones I found at Lightning in a Bottle in 2017. On Friday, I mostly ate food that was brought from home but decided to break the bank on Saturday morning and try something new. I ended up spending $18 at the falafel/shawarma truck for a dish that would probably have cost half that amount in the city. Due to my lack of other options, I couldn’t really complain and the food ended up being quite replenishing. For the rest of the weekend, I decided to stick with the pizza stand that sold slices for around $6 and whole pizzas for about $24.
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Now for the fun stuff. I’ve been lucky enough to have attended more Dirtybird events than I can count on both hands - and Campout 2018 topped them all. Three whole days packed with some of the best talent the house and techno world has to offer is really quite hard to argue with. Mikey Lion and Sacha Robotti of Desert Hearts also had a killer B2B on Friday night. Claude VonStroke and the legend himself, Justin Martin had amazing sets as always. I was also enthralled by the German techno DJ Roman Flugel who threw down an enchanting set on Saturday night. On top of the actual lineup, renegades featured around the festival were a blessing and a curse. Every night at 2:00 AM after the main stage shut down, I would be drawn into various campsites for more fun even though I was exhausted from the already eventful day. Some of these renegades featured artists such as Ardalan, Chris Lake and more. On top of the various renegades, the silent disco gave attendees three separate channels to choose from on the bass lodge stage after 2AM. These channels ranged from downtempo to house and techno alike.
Like most of the other camping festivals on the West Coast, the crowd is what makes the festival. Everywhere around people were dressed their best, smiles all around with random birdies shouting compliments at each other as they passed by. Everyone I met there made me fall in love with the Dirtybird family even more. The whole festival radiated a family vibe that is unmatched by other independent labels. The Dirtybird crew does a stellar job at making everyone feel at home, loved and accepted - and I will most definitely be returning to Campout next year.