Where electronic, dance and rock music meet, there’s Camp Bisco.
The music festival, which features acts ranging from EDM to jam music to hip-hop to rock, returns to its home for the past two years — the Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton — from Thursday, July 13, to Saturday, July 15.
Camp Bisco started in the late ’90s as the brainchild of the Disco Biscuits, a Philadelphia-borne jam band. According to Biscuits keyboard player and Bisco co-founder Aron Magner, the Pavilion is a perfect home for the festival due to its proximity all around.
“There’s a special set of pros to having (Bisco) in Scranton,” he said during a recent phone interview from his home in Philadelphia. “Not just its proximity to major metros, but you can leave the campsite and have all these hotels and other amenities. And people can still camp and have that experience, too.
“There’s also a water park right in the middle of the festival,” he added. “There’s not many places you can be in the lazy river or the wave pool and dancing to your favorite band.”
The musical experience is just as unique as the venue, Magner said. At its inception, the “ethos of Camp Bisco” was a chance for the Biscuits to introduce their fans to the music they liked and, in turn, a chance for fans to tell the band what kind of music they liked. The other artists didn’t necessarily sound like the Biscuits, he said, but they made music that was complementary. The process changed slightly over time, but the mission remains.
“We would sit around with a pen and paper and kind of go down this rabbit hole of who to bring into the fold,” he said. “Now, instead of just the Disco Biscuits, it’s a team of people and we all put our heads together. But, we really keep with the essence of what Camp Bisco is and create the best fan experience.”
With a range of music and different kinds of artists, bands like Lotus, which has rock roots mixed with electronic and house, find a place at Camp Bisco. Jesse Miller, who plays bass and sampler for the band, said that at festivals like Peach Music Festival (a festival Lotus also plays at the Pavilion in August), the band is one of the more dance-oriented and electronic acts, while at Bisco, with its abundance of DJs and EDM acts, they lean more toward the rock side. The Biscuits’ festival allows for that spectrum and for Lotus to bring its signature mix of genres.
“We’ve seen the days when electronic dance music and rock music did not have places to come together,” Miller said during a phone interview from his Philadelphia home. “Over time, these two things got closer to where the lines eventually started to cross and blur. Camp Bisco was always a place where you could find these two things come together before it was necessarily the norm.”
With a plethora of music and genres offered, there is something for every music festival lover at Camp Bisco. Miller joked the festival’s only real worry is the skies.
“Fingers crossed the weather holds out,” he said. “That’s always the toss-up at a festival.”
Rain or shine, however, fans come to Bisco each year for the chance to bond over their love of music.
“It’s a community of like-minded fans that are all in this together, in what is Camp Bisco,” Magner said. “It’s an intangible experience to be able to have one collective borg — for lack of a better word — of 25,000 people all supportive of each other and the community and the music and everything that makes up the message of Camp Bisco.”
— gia mazur
If you go
What: Camp Bisco music festival
When: Thursday, July 13, through Saturday, July 15. Guests with RV passes may arrive Wednesday, July 12, at 4 p.m. Those with VIP camping parking can arrive at 8 p.m., and all other guests may arrive at 10 p.m.
Where: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton
Details: Saturday single-day passes start at $99.50. Three-day passes start at $215.50 general admission and $499.50 VIP. Camp Bisco guests must be 18 or older with a valid ID. For a complete list of acts and set times, to purchase tickets or for more information, visit campbisco.com.