Bolstered by its ingenious mix of rambunctiousness and top-tier DJs, Dirtybird Campout has become one of the must-attend boutique festivals around. First envisioned eight years ago by label head Claude VonStroke, the summer camp-music festival hybrid has emerged as one of the most unique events in the dance music sphere.
A key factor in the unparalleled experience that is Campout relies heavily on the inclusion of the artists. Aside from composing the soundtrack of the weekend, those who grace the many stages at Campout also participate in activities alongside festival attendees.
Favorite Dirtybird DJs can be found playing a round of dodgeball against their fans, or dipping shirts in tie-dye creating psychedelic tops. It’s that sense of community and participation that blurs the line between artist and fan.
As this year’s event draws near, asked 10 Dirtybird artists to share some of their favorite memories from Campouts past. Renegade parties, debut performances and the birth of nicknames are just a few of the most memorable occasions from your favorite Dirtybird players.
“Dirtybird Campout 2021 was my first Campout and my first time playing it, so there were many great moments. I think the renegades at the festival stuck out the most. I wasn’t aware of it before I went to the fest, but you can just walk to the campsites after the stages end and there are people with sound systems back there continuing the party. And some of them even let me plug in and mix with them!”
“There are so many memories that have made it so special since the first DBC. I would have to say the most thrilling one was the birth of The Tiësto of Modesto. After my set at the 2018 DBC, I wanted to go and play some renegades. My idea was to play one track and go to the next renegade and play another track and on fourth. We had a golf cart taking us through the camping area and a friend of mine had a megaphone and kept yelling, “come see the Tiësto of Modesto at your favorite camp/renegade”. It was like I was about to perform in a carnival or circus. People were confused at first and were like “what? the Tiësto of Modesto?” And that’s how the Tiësto of Modesto was born. So let’s go, Modesto!”
“Last year something pretty amazing happened during my set. I cued up an absolute banger that my friend Madi aka AK SPORTS had sent me. When I pressed play on the CDJ a heart-crushing error message appeared – the file was corrupted and wouldn’t play! I turned around in despair but then saw Madi dancing behind the DJ Booth. I frantically called them over and asked if they had the track on their USB and if they’d be willing to drop it in the middle of my set. They said yes to both questions! I got on the microphone and announced to the crowd that AK SPORTS was gonna drop a track. With 20 seconds remaining on my song, it dawned on them that they had half a dozen USBs and had no clue which one the song was stored on. They took a leap of faith, guessed correctly on their first attempt, and were able to play the song right before my track ended. The crowd went off, AK SPORTS and I were jumping around the stage in excitement and it was a perfect moment in every way.”
“My favorite campout memory is definitely the family set Sunday night. It’s so sweet to have the entire DB fam on stage together, each showcasing their own song from the year. Also, by that point, we’re living in a state of delusion from not sleeping the last 3 nights so people are really goofy and in good spirits.”
Scroll to Continue
“The first time I played Campout back in 2018 I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity. I’d been living in Berlin and playing shows in Europe as a result, but I’d known and been friends with Claude since 2006 and was just hoping for a shot to one day be folded into the flock. So the afternoon set I had at Campout that year symbolized that for me and I was defo emotionally up in the clouds during my set. At some point, I turned around and Barclay was there behind me in full support mode. For some wild ass reason, I’ll never be able to properly articulate, I grabbed the back of his head gently, mid embrace, and laid one on him. It took me a couple of weeks at least to write him and muster up the gaul for an apology. I was surprised at how unbothered he was as I was so sure my Dirtybird future was hanging in the balance!”
“My last time at Dirtybird Campout was a blast! So many daytime laughs at the boat races and archery followed by amazing music all night. Highlights were sets by Sherelle, Special Request, and Barclay Crenshaw b2b Eprom! I can’t wait for the incredible lineup this year. I’ll be back in my camp counselor outfit … see you there!”
“Dirtybird Campout is pretty much a festival experience like no other. My favorite memories are when I’m just participating in debauchery with all my artist friends and the community. It’s a super immersive experience, we are truly all on one silly beautiful vibe. I love everything about my time at campout – there’s so much to explore and get lost in the renegades later, nobody does it like DBC!”
Arnold & Lane
“Dirtybird Campout is truly a special festival. There’s no other event like it. The memory that stands out the most has to be our DBC debut at the Birdhouse Stage. Two years prior we were attendees in the crowd, where we looked at each other and said “Next Campout, we will be on that stage”. Through hard work in the studio, we were able to achieve our goals, and it’s truly an honor to be able to continue working with such an amazing festival & label.”
“My favorite memory from Campout was going B2B at a campground renegade with my brothers Arnold & Lane and Dipzy! Double Down Collective let us take over the dome, and we played for 5 straight hours. This year I’ll be playing a B2B with Kevin Knapp and Arnold & Lane in the Ganja Garden, you know that one will be special too!”
“My favorite Campout memory is from last year. Driving in from Oakland on Thursday for the pre-party, I got a phone call from my manager asking me if I’d like to open the Bass Lodge stage. As a fan of the label for most of my professional career, getting asked to play one of the main stages was a very special full-circle moment. I still find myself in disbelief that the Dirtybird family welcomed me in with such open arms and I can’t wait to be a part of the debut for The Hideout stage this year: Dirtybird Campout’s first ever all-night stage.”
Dirtybird Campout takes place October 7-9 at the Modesto Reservoir Campgrounds in Central California. Tickets and camping info can be found here.