Summer camp is every kid's dream and for the San Francisco based tech-house label Dirtybird, there's no better way to experience camp than in a music festival setting.
Dirtybird Campout recently moved from its original location in Orange County to be hosted in Central California off of Lake San Antonio. It is here within the dry ground and tall trees that Do Lab, creators of Lightning In A Bottle, saw it fit to curate one of the dankest house crews in the U.S.
Right off the bat we could appreciate the view of our new landscape. In this campground we found an abundance of trees that made our camp setup absolutely perfect with plenty of shade. Thursday night otherwise known as day zero was completely hyped with a surprise performance at the pajama party by Elevator Musik and Lubelski- in attendance was Claude VonStroke and the rest of the Dirtybird gang. Although we should have gotten some sleep before our first day of camp we were obviously kept up by the ruckus of after-hours renegade parties... including our own.
Each morning was a blessing to wake up next to hundreds of fellow campers. We met people from the West Coast, East Coast, and everything in between during our trips to the porto-potties, showers, and ice runs. Although it was easy to lounge around all day there was an overwhelming amount of activities to pop into throughout the day. On the first day we joined Justin Martin for his wheel of pizza game where people would spin the wheel to win things like free pizza, tequila shots, and Dirtybird merch.
The great thing about going to Summer camp is getting to participate in all the activities. On Friday alone we were able to get our faces painted and tye dye some garments all while checking out the Science Lab in between for some mind expanding talks hosted by Brainscratch. At this point we were having a ton of fun without even realizing we were missing some of the acts that had begun.
The first major act we saw was easily one of the best of the weekend. Our boys Mikey Lion and Porkchop from Desert Hearts put on one of the most dirtiest and grooviest performances we had seen all Summer with uplifting and energetic tech house that had all the campers exploding with funky dance moves and happy faces.
J.Phlip was one name we were extremely hyped to catch. After she bailed on her performance the previous year we had extremely high hopes to catch her for this round. Her set was nothing short of the dark, magical, and hypnotic. She blended styles of melodic techno and dreamy acid house into a funky salad of beats with an insanely good level of mixing. She is infamous for being Dirtybird’s secret weapon and her performance shined as she held up to these standards by her peers. Afterwards the Miami star Danny Daze took reign with easily one of the most diverse sets of the entire weekend. I mean this guy WAS EVERYWHERE. He threw down a ton of groovy acid house, Miami breaks, and 80’s sounding techno tracks. No matter how deep he brought the vibes he always found a way to spin it into something catchy and danceable. His set ended with some classic old school hip hop tracks one of them from Warren G that switched into some filthy DnB and eventually resolved into Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. An absurd performance to open up for headliner Claude VonStroke.
VonStroke obviously held the floor with his usually assortment of Dirtybird goodies. He kept his originals to a minimal and instead shed a light on all of the unreleased Dirtybird material that we would soon be hearing in the coming year. After his set we went to catch the Dirtybird tech house veterans Worthy and Ardalan, they held it down for the more intimate crowd that decided against catching Papa Claude.
The next day we were a bit more strung out than we were the first morning but we still kicked ourselves into shape for a good ol’ fashioned Water Balloon Toss on the Games Field. This field was one of the only patches of grass around the festival area but it was a perfect way to kickoff the extremely long day ahead of us. Our day of music officially began with Cut Snake which led us into the Defected tech and deep house master Sonny Fodera who threw down the nastiest jams along with a live performance of 'Work It' with Gene Farris the artist that went up next.
We made it back in time for the wildness of the night starting off with Walker & Royce who performed the majority of their debut album Self Help with live vocals from Dances With White Girls. One track that was an absolute anthem was their collaboration with Green Velvet ‘Rub Anotha Dub’, a track that destroyed me every time it was dropped. The music video for it just dropped online and the anticipation for their new record became extremely high at this point.
Barclay Crenshaw held it down with a bunch of old school hip hop and experimental bass music but Shades was by far the dopest bass performance of the weekend. The project headed by EPROM and Alix Perez completely challenged everything that we ever could imagine from halftime music. The crowd was going ham with vicious dance moves and nasty bass face to the majority of this set. Unfortunately we had to cut the set short to catch our man Justin Martin.
Out of all the times we’ve seen Justin this was by far the best. He threw down a feelsy set but somehow the energy levels were way higher for this one. His melodic track selections got us on another level and those dirty 808 bass drops got the party going like no other. The realization that Dirtybird is more than just a bunch of tech house became more apparent at this point. Justin is one of Dirtybird’s biggest artists but he didn’t get to this level by throwing down club pleasers. Instead he is headlining because he has a unique ear for beautifully melodic music and somehow is able to craft that with ghetto house and dirty breaks. In a market that is extremely over saturated Justin still shines like no other in his home habitat of Dirtybird Campout.
The final day was a bit sad, it had felt as if the weekend had gone by all too quickly. Luckily the lineup was the most stacked on this day so we were able to enjoy the last dose of rollercoaster bumping’ tech house before our time here was up. The day started off with Elevator Musik, an OC based producer who has been making waves online with releases on some of the top house labels including Dirtybird, OKNF, Audiophile XXL, and a bunch more. His bumping’ tech set went into more chiller daytime vibes as Amtrac took to the decks sharing with us his latest collection of groovy disc and melodic house jams.
Later in the day we were treated to a now legend in the Dirtybird inventory, the man known by Sacha Robotti. He pulled in a massive crowd and officially set the dance floor off with the the most minimally bumpin’ beats. Fisher also did his part in introducing the campout crowd to how he got down when he isn’t performing as part of Cut Snake. "Moving up and down side to side like a rollercoaster"- was up there for biggest anthems of the weekend. Slapping booties on stage and throwing down a furious amount of 808 house made his set an absolute treat.
We need to hand it to Chris Lorenzo though, this was one of our most anticipated performances and it went down flawlessly as a combination of 808 breaks and Night Bass style house music. I mean each track was an absolute BANGER of its own with a ton of unheard of material from himself and friends. “All the girls standing in the line for the bathroom” went down as a moment for campers while the sun began to set and the final night of music was upon us.
It was quite nostalgic catching the final festival performance from Jesse Rose but his B2B with Riva Starr was nothing short of impressive. Mija’s Fk A Genre with Netsky and Ryan Forever went down in the books as a gnarly genre-less set that blew away what we thought was possible with DJs. Later Matthew Dear’s live performance was way different than anything else that had been on the main stage all weekend. And oh my god did Daddy Kev really drop Radiohead’s 'Weird Fishes' here at Dirtybird Campout?! Unreal. At this point our bodies were telling us no but our hearts pushed us to keep going until the end of the night.
Although we are huge Shiba San fans we knew that Bleep Bloop was gonna drop the drippiest space bass performance and he absolutely crushed it. Everytime we see Bleep Bloop its like he gets stranger and stranger. This time was insane though, absolutely worth missing Shiba who we will probably be able to catch again next year. Madlib was on next and he performed a bunch of hip hop and Low End Theory beat music like the legend that he is, we even saw Barclay pop up on stage to admire what we would imagine was his idol.
Finally it was time for Eats Everything- the headliner of the night and an artist that I have been wanting to see for ages. He stepped onto an insanely packed audience and dropped his remix of Green Velvet’s Flash, a ridiculous way to open up any performance let alone a headlining slot. The rest of his set was history. Hands down one of the best house performances I have ever seen. He began with dirty tech vibes and went into more grimey UK house and dirty booty bumping jams. There was so much variety, I honestly did not even realize so much house was out there. He got deeper and deeper and even more deeper until breaking the ice with a dance floor banger. His performance told a story. It was beautiful. It was the kind of set that you kept looking to your friends to see if they were seeing what you were seeing. I have honestly never been that impressed before. Eats Everything is headliner status in Europe but only side stage material here in the U.S. Dirtybird damn straight knew what they were doing when they booked him to headline. They knew that this man could hold a floor like no other and if its possible in Europe then it is definitely possible here in Lake San Antonio. I did not think I would be leaving the festival as mind blown as I did after seeing his set. Just this one performance reminded me how much I love this festival and how much I trust the Dirtybird crew in hosting the most proper vibes of any festival I had been to.
The night finally came to an end with the long awaited family set where the Dirtybird crew Ardalan, Worthy, Kill Frenzy, and Will Clarke threw down next to new comers like Elevator Musik and Ciszak as well as some already well respected guests like Mija, Wood Holly, and Fisher. Finally Justin Martin stepped back on to close off the night with the legendary Tiga track 'Mind Dimension’ into his edit of ‘Set It Off’- the dreamiest club banger that left everyone in a state of trance walking out of the festival.
The new venue had its downfalls forsure but all in all we had an amazing time and celebrated the vibes only Dirtybird could pull off. If you’re like us and you’ve never been to summer camp before then this is a perfect way to experience it all while getting lit to some of the best tech house DJs in the world. Until next year Dirtybird!