It's a real estate agent's hymn, a mission statement, and a mantra for all to follow: Location, location, location. As the number one rule in real estate, location is key and that phrase doesn't just belong in the minds of brokers.

For decades now, the rave scene has been a haven for lovers of dance music and its footprint has reached far beyond the dance floor. Massive music festivals dominate the landscape now and they need a home to flourish. While some stick to the conventional event centers, sports arenas or other high-capacity venues, others look for inspiration in the outdoors and allow mother nature to become part of the experience.

photo: Aaron Glassman.

Enter Dirtybird Campout— envisioned as a summer camp for adults from its inception, the festival has been described as a vacation from the daily grind. Dirtybird allows lovers of house and techno to surround themselves with games, sports, swimming, arts & crafts, and of course, camping under the stars.

Over the last few years, Claude vonStroke and the rest of the Dirtybird crew have curated this three-day getaway searching up and down the California coast for a perfect spot to host the event. Having difficulties with prior venues in the past, the team behind Dirtybird were set on finding the ideal location for their next incarnation of the growing festival…and they did.

A NEW HOME

photo: Aaron Glassman.

The Modesto Reservoir Campgrounds in California's Central Valley welcomed guests from across the country and over the course of one weekend transformed itself into the ultimate adult summer camp and music festival, Dirtybird Campout West Coast 2018.

Located east of the city of Modesto, the regional park's centralized spot made it easily accessible to travelers from Northern and Southern California. The campsite's amenities included full hookups for RVs, picnic tables, and restrooms/showers all set on the flat grounds that made walking to and from effortless.

photo: Max Benedict.

The picturesque setting along the lakeshore offered sandy beaches, abundant fields of grass, forests of trees, and a peek at the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains from a distance. Campers were within steps of water which allowed for kayaking, swimming, and use of floaties. At night, the sky came alive with thousands of twinkling stars, a treat for city-dwellers swallowed by light pollution. There was even a surprise appearance by Space X's Falcon 9, which launched on Sunday evening and created a spectacular show over the campgrounds.

GAMES & ACTIVITIES

photo: Helen.

What makes Dirtybird Campout so unique is the ability to partake in classic camp activities not just with your friends, but with the artists that will take the stage. Known as camp counselors, the talented DJs and producers participate in sports and games and help lead you and your team to victory.

photo: Kristina Baknenski.

Team? Yes, team. Guests who are looking to participate in any of the aforementioned activities are assigned a team color and a matching bandana. By week's end, whichever color amounted the most wins overall is the victor.

photo: Kristina Baknenski.

Having access to water allowed this year's edition of campout to introduce new activities such as .5K Floatie Race, Costume Boat Relay, and Paddle style Boat Reservations. Other notable games that took place over the weekend include potato sack races, water balloon toss, tie-dye, screen printing, face and body art, yoga, archery, ping pong, kickball, and dodgeball.

MUSIC PERFORMANCES

photo: Aaron Glassman.

Needless to say, Dirtybird Records has curated some of the best house and techno over the course of the last decade. Since its inception in 2005, the label has churned out top-charting artists and Dirtybird Campout is where these acts showcase their chops. The weekend hosts two stages, and for the first time, an after-hours Silent Disco was included with three different channels to choose from.

The Birdhouse

photo: Max Benedict.

The Birdhouse kicked off the weekend with opening ceremonies as well as the closing family set. Perched on the western end of the campgrounds, the Birdhouse was the place to be for the biggest names of the weekend.

Friday saw performances by Chris Lake, Ardalan, Walker & Royce, Will Clarke, Justin Martin, VNNSA, Worthy, Omnom vs. Wyatt Marshall, and Sasha Robotti vs. Mikey Lion.

On Saturday, the evening lit up with acts like Shiba San, Gorgon City, Kyle Watson, Kevin Knapp, J. Worra, Steve Darko, Catz ‘N Dogz, Roman Flugel, and Claude vonStroke.

Subset, Green Velvet, Fisher, J.Phlip, Kill Frenzy, Jesse Perez, and Dateless vs. Lucati closed out the last day of Campout.

Bass Lodge

photo: Helen.

Set on an island, directly in the middle of the campgrounds was the Bass Lodge. This beachside oasis was home to the after-hours silent disco as well as plenty of bass-friendly acts.

Some of these acts included Ivy Lab, The Martin brothers, A-Trak, Big Daddy Kane, Honeycomb, Yheti vs. Toadface, Persian Empire, Jubilee, Dub Phizix & Strategy, Eprom, DJ Krust, Barclay Crenshaw, Salva, Madam X, and Slick Rick the Ruler.

Showcases on the Bass Lodge included Worst Behavior, Trippy Ass Technologies, The Do-Over, Plus Size Models and Justin Jay's Fantastic Voyage.

THE DIRTYBIRD CAMPOUT EXPERIENCE

photo: Kristina Baknenski.

This is my second time attending Dirtybird Campout West Coast and I cannot recommend it enough to everyone in the world. You do not have to be a fan of electronic music (although it does help) to enjoy this adult oasis. The social stigmas and labels that surround our everyday lives do not exist at Campout; here everyone can let their freak flag fly and immerse themselves in three full days of camping, music, arts, crafts, sports, games, and nature all without judgment.

photo: Max Benedict.

Dirtybird Campout blurs the lines between artist and their fans. The DJ that you played tug-of-war with is the same DJ that will have you grooving on the dance floor and that is something truly unique and rarely found outside of Campout. Campers are also encouraged to showcase their own talents and create beautiful pieces of art, whether that be on the canvas or behind the decks (I could write an entire article on the INSANELY AMAZING afterparties held across campsites).

photo: Max Benedict.

What Dirtybird Campout has created over the last few years is something truly amazing that cannot be described by words alone. People from all backgrounds travel far and wide to partake in this annual gathering. The team at Dirtybird has seen its share of problems at earlier venues, however, it is safe to say that they've found a great home at the Modesto Reservoir.

photo: Kristina Baknenski.


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