Annual music festival Camp Bisco hits three-year stride at Scranton venue
The Disco Biscuits are feeling at home in Scranton.
The pioneering trance-fusion band will host their annual Camp Bisco music festival Thursday through Saturday at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain.
A three-day celebration of electronic and hybrid styles of music, the event features five performances by the festival founders as well as performances by co-headliners Griz, Gramatik, Bassnectar, Lotus, Shpongle (Simon Posford Live), Pretty Lights Live and Action Bronson.
Also among the 70 total acts are Philadelphia funk outfit Swift Technique, classical dance ensemble Electric Beethoven and electro-jam rockers The Werks, bringing a diversity of sounds to the bill.
Biscuits bassist Marc “Brownie” Brownstein said the festival is hitting its stride in its third year at the Scranton venue.
“There’s so much you learn from previous experience that allows you to make the experience better each time,” Brownstein said. “What we’re doing is walking around looking for ways to improve the festival.”
Brownstein said it’s the infrastructure in place at Montage Mountain that provides a welcome alternative to most festival atmospheres.
“One thing that makes it so unique is the water park that creates a surreal vibe when you have a concert going on and people are in the wave pool or on the mountain, or could be dancing anywhere.
“When we walk through the waterpark and see kids flying down the waterslides, it’s amazing,” Brownstein said. “It’s super unique, and we don’t take that for granted.”
Brownstein called bringing the festival to Scranton a “multi-faceted version of coming home” for the Disco Biscuits. The Philadelphia-based band not only returned to Pennsylvania after a tenure holding the festival at various New York venues but also began working again with Philadelphia-based event promoter Live Nation.
“It’s not just the venue and the people who own the land,” Brownstein said of the Biscuits’ comfort level. “The people in the city have welcomed Camp Bisco in a way we hadn’t been experiencing before.
“It’s a big event but not too big for Scranton. We feel they not only can handle it but want to handle it. The way we’ve been welcomed by local authorities has also created that vibe.”
Just as the festival has become more a part of Northeastern Pennsylvania, several artists on the bill have grown to be part of the Camp Bisco tribe over the years.
“The cool thing about Bassnectar and Pretty Lights is they started out on side stages when they were first beginning,” Brownstein said. “To have (artists) of that stature who grew with the festival and have treated us like family year in and year out and been such a fabric of the festival is an honor.”
Brownstein said newcomers Griz and Gramatik fall into the same ilk and will be good fits for the scene.
“Griz is just gigantic,” he said. “I’ve had a front row seat to his development and it’s been fun to see.”
Brownstein called Friday a “huge day” with Shpongle and Lotus joining the Biscuits and Bassnectar as headliners.
“He’s been a longtime hero of the Disco Biscuits and was very influential in the early days of us playing with electronic sound,” Brownstein said of Posford.
Launched in 1999, Camp Bisco has grown, moved locations, evolved and survived all while consistently bringing in acts like-minded fans want to see.
“We’ve created a very specific brand with the music we bring in, so we get into a tight rotation,” Brownstein said. “We’re fortunate we’ve been around a long time and … we’ve been able to maintain growth. For us to stay in our lane and maintain when other festivals are going away is a feat in itself.”
As the Disco Biscuits prepare to give their fans six sets of pulse-pounding jamtronica over their three days in Scranton, they’re also preparing to make their music more available to fans all the time.
Over the last eight months, the band has focused on live streaming to their Youtube page and now they’re turning their attention to another digital platform.
“We’re populating Spotify,” Brownstein said. “My short term goal is to get 10 full shows up in the next two months. There’s no reason this music shouldn’t be widely available. It’s got to be available to everybody.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
What: Camp Bisco
Where: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton
When: Thursday through Saturday
Additional information: Three-day general admission passes start at $215.50. For a complete list of ticket packages and prices, and for more festival information, visit campbisco.com.