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Bisco gets back to its roots

Eclectic lineup announced for three-day festival

Thursday, February 21, 2013
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The Camp Bisco 11 crowd is seen on July 12, 2012, at Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
The Camp Bisco 11 crowd is seen on July 12, 2012, at Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville.

— Bassnectar, Passion Pit, STS9 and Wolfgang Gartner and Baauer — the artist who recently went viral with “Harlem Shake” — are among the eclectic blend of acts joining the Disco Biscuits at the annual Camp Bisco festival this summer.

MCP Presents announced the lineup for the three-day event Thursday, nearly three weeks after advance tickets first went on sale. Organizers called the scheduled acts their “strongest lineup to date” — a notion reaffirmed by fans responding to the announcement on social media.

The lineup was announced on Facebook shortly after 1 p.m., touching off responses from more than 200 fans on the quality of the music. The list of bands received more than 750 “likes” within 15 minutes of appearing on the page.

Those who commented seemed smitten by the acts booked for the mid-July festival at the Indian Lookout Country Club in the hamlet of Mariaville. Many posters responded positively to the broad spectrum of musical genres assembled by MCP.

“Camp Bisco, you outdid yourself,” wrote one fan.

Others were not as positive. Some wondered why the list of acts seems smaller than previous years, while several questioned the absence of Skrillex, the Grammy-winning artist who headlined last year’s festival to the delight of fans.

“Donde esta Skrillex?” posted another fan.

Chad Shearer, a spokesman for MCP, said the festival lineup represents a return to Bisco’s roots. He said promoting the festival won’t be difficult, given the strength of its lineup.

“My immediate response was that it’s the best lineup they’ve ever given me to work with,” he said. “It’s a lot more eclectic than I think we’ve had in previous years.”

The list of performers includes a greater number of indie rock and electronic jam bands, representing somewhat of a departure from the dubstep-heavy lineups of recent years. Bands like Umphrey’s McGee and STS9 — both of whom have appeared at Bisco before — are returning this year.

The festival will also feature Baaeur, the trap musician whose track “Harlem Shake” topped the Billboard charts Thursday. The track is the inspiration for an online meme that has gone viral this month, spreading it worldwide.

Other acts include Flux Pavillion; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Lotus; Dan Deacon; Boys Noize; Squarepusher; Tommy Trash; Dillion Francis; ΩZ; Aeroplane; Alvin Risk; Audrey Napoleon; Bear Mountain; Boombox; Break Science; Cherub; Chris Malinchak; Clockwork; Com Truise; Congorock; Cosby Sweater; Crizzly; Designer Drugs; Dirtyphonics (Live); El-P; Eskmo; Flosstradamus; Free Energy; Gigamesh; Govinda; Gramatik; Grandtheft; Green Lantern; HeRobust; Heroes x Villians; Indobox; Killer Mike; Koan Sound; Manic Focus; M | O | D; Nadis Warriors; Nick Thayer; Paper Diamond; Party Supplies; Popeska; Project 46; RL Grime; Rubblebucket; Ryan Hemsworth; The Werks; Toro y Moi; Twiddle; Vacationer; VHS or Beta; Wick-It the Instigator; and Zoogma.

Danny Kornreich, who cues up electronic music as DJ General Kornwalis on the University at Albany’s WCDB-FM, recognized the lineup as sort of a return to Bisco’s roots. He said music aficionados are almost assured to find something of their liking among the acts announced Thursday.

“If you can’t have fun with this lineup, then you’re definitely doing something wrong,” he said.

Organizers promised “enhanced” dance tents and “greater concert production” on all stages at the venue. They are also promising large-scale art installations, artist workshops, performance art demonstrations, carnival rides and more interactive elements.

General admission tickets are selling for $185, with VIP packages starting at $480. But don’t worry if the cost of a ticket doesn’t sound like it’s in the budget: Promoters are now allowing fans to put them on layaway. This year, MCP is allowing fans to divide payments on general admission tickets equally between the on-sale date and early June. Shearer said the company tried layaway during another festival this year and found it helped fans afford a ticket price that can be somewhat restrictive.

“Our fan base tends to be a little bit younger, without so much disposable income,” he said, “This is a way to make it a little more attainable.”

Now in its seventh year, the festival draws tens of thousands of fans each year and has stirred plenty of controversy in the small community surrounding Mariaville Lake. Residents in the town are divided between those who support the massive production because of the economic boost it brings and opponents who argue the festival brings a broad spectrum of negative impacts.

The festival kept the small lakeside hamlet in the grips of traffic gridlock in 2011, stirring the ire of residents who felt trapped in their homes. Organizers placated many of these concerns by implementing a new traffic plan last year, which reduced the number of vehicles coming into the sprawling 212-acre campground by creating an overflow lot at Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam.

“We got a really good response to the infrastructure we put in place to all but eliminate the traffic situation,” Shearer said.

But correcting the traffic did little to change the drug culture that typically accompanies the festival. Last year’s festival produced dozens of drug arrests and overdoses, including one death.

Last year’s event also spurred legal action from the family of a Schenectady woman left in a coma after becoming ill at the festival. The notice of claim filed on behalf of 24-year-old Heather Bynum in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County in November accuses the town and Bisco promoters of being unprepared to deal with medical emergencies at the private venue.

 
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