A spur of the moment decision a few months ago lead to myself and a few friends flying out to Florida in early February for the first installment of the East Coast Campout from our friends at Dirtybird. I don't quite know why but we figured if you have a chance to hit 2 campouts in a 5 month span, you should jump at that opportunity. And so we did. And January came to and end with us flying red-eye to Orlando.
We land in Orlando Thursday morning and as we walk through the airport in our zombie-like state, we grab a car, some breakfast and head to a local Walmart to get supplies and meet our crew. Surprisingly enough, we met a handful of campers there who were also from California.
As we felt prepared enough, we ventured off to St. Cloud. Being native Californians, the Florida landscape was a truly remarkable site. It felt like we'd reached an entirely different country with such a different natural setting than what we were used to. We reached the venue not long after and got set with our early arrival passes. Making our way to our campsite, we had a feeling this was going to be a weekend for the books.
Thursday night was a real treat. We made our way to the bass lodge for two electrifying sets by Claude followed by Seth Troxler. Our scattered crew met up right at the front and raged for hours that passed like minutes. With a strong crew of early arrival campers, we set the tone for the night and the rest of the weekend as we made new friends and danced through the jet lag.
Photo by Brittany Hallberg
As the bass lodge came to a close we made our way to the renegades for the night. Meeting and dancing with new friends from all over the country and just enjoying the amazing vibes you're bound to find at every DBC.
With Thursday coming to an end, we made our way back to the Dodge Caravan that was our tent for the weekend. If you end up at a festival on the other side of the country and think "hey, let's just sleep in the car all weekend," make sure you bring some type of padding if you're sleeping in the trunk. It's not fun waking up with bruised hips from all the plastic and metal you end up sleeping on.
How was Friday? Let me tell you.
It was amazing. Friday was a day for games and some amazing food. There were a handful of vendors at this year's campout and I loved every single one of them. I went three days without food at the west coast campout but there was no way that was happening in Florida. I got a taste of the kind of food DBC brings out and I'm partially looking forward to next years East Coast campout so I can have some bomb fries and nachos again. We moved slow Friday, eating, partying and playing games. The highlight of the night being soccer with Claude. The man truly is multi-talented...until he eats it on the soccer field and decides to call it a night.
Photo by Brittany Hallberg
Saturday began with another visit to the food vendors. So much for losing weight and becoming healthy, I'm here to spend $15/meal, 5 meals a day on some amazing food. Not long after that, we made our way to the birdhouse to jam out with the legend himself, Mr. Christian Martin. The energy at the birdhouse during this set was memorable, to say the least. With most campers in one place, it really felt like everyone was on the same page and just truly happy to be enjoying the beautiful weather and a chance to see one of the true legends of the DBC crew.
As we ventured back to camp, we made a stop at the bunkhouse for the comedy show. The DBC crew did a great job of booking some hilarious comedians who were a nice change of pace from the crazy day we'd had. Hanging out on the tables and bunkbeds, we had some great laughs before taking a quick breather at camp before a night full of renegades, some of which were lucky enough to be blessed by the presence of Billy Kenny, Ardalan, and Justin Jay.
Photo by Brittany Hallberg
Sunday. Like all good things, campout must never end but for some reason it does.
With a late start and a gray sky, we made our way to...the food vendors for some great breakfast. Fries and chicken subs are appropriate regardless of what time it is. Then we paid a visit to the bass lodge as Roni Size lifted our spirits out of our bodies.
Justin Jay took the stage after Roni and it was something I definitely wasn't ready for. My first chance to see him live and I truly regret missing out on his previous shows. With a melodic, easy start, we found ourselves jamming out to one of the best funky town remixes I've ever heard. Justin Jay was most likely my favorite set of the weekend, one that I remember vividly and thoroughly enjoyed.
The next few hours were spent catching up with crew members and having a blast with Shiba San and J. Phlip. As J.Phlip took the stage, we felt it and realized the sun would be gone for the rest of the day and would be replaced with those longed for Florida rains. Although a little worried at first, the rain made for an even more fun and eventful time at the birdhouse.
"This is probably the most fun I've ever had in my life." - Fadi AbuZaineh after watching Biz Markie. Enough said.
Photo by Jess Phillips
Our last stop of the night was the Super Bowl party. I won't say much because I made enough of a fool of myself telling everyone the Pats would win. But what struck me during that game was how many campers were hanging out, in the pouring rain, watching one of the worst defensive games of all time, and just having a blast. People were becoming friends and joking around. It felt like being a kid again, just at a party, enjoying strange company and setting the foundation for relationships that might end up lasting a lifetime.
We finished the game, bid adieu to campout and changed into some dry, warm clothes before venturing off to a random parking lot to sleep in our car as we realized we had a full day to kill before flying home.
Forever thankful for the amazing vibes and weekend we had just experienced, all I can say is...is it time for the West Coast campout yet?
Cover photo by Tristan Leto
Written by Asad Chishty