You might call Bianca Gardner the unofficial cheerleader for Dirtybird, a festival that stages two huge campout music parties, one on each coast.
“I was told numerous times that it would be my favorite festival, one that would change my life,” says the 25-year-old singer, songwriter and artist. “Granted, I’ve been to lots of festivals and most of them have been nothing short of amazing, but people were not lying when they said this one was different.”
Gardner is still coming off her Dirtybird Campout East Coast high, so we thought it an opportune time to hit her up for the lowdown of this truly one-of-a-kind festival.
What should newbies know about Dirtybird?
You’re going to have one hell of a grand time. It's like summer camp for adults! It’s smaller than your typical festival, with about 3,000 in attendance, put on by Claude Vonstroke and his label Dirtybird Records. You’ll find more than what you signed up for in the best way.
Primarily you’re going to get a heavy dose of deep house from the artists signed to Dirtybird Records, but you’ll also get to listen to a mix of electronic, hip hop, deep gone deeper and straight boujee. Plus there’s lots of renegades and outdoor activities for bonding with friends, artists and your new festy bestie.
What were your favorites from this year’s lineup?
Justin Jay crushed it the last night of the festival, but the Thursday pre-party with Seth Troxler really kicked off the festival properly. When Forever Florida pulled the permit, Renegade Sound Camps kept the grounds alive. Nothing was gonna kill our stride! Plus I loved the summer camp aspect: It really gave you a chance to feel like a kid again.
If you choose to participate in camp activities, which I highly recommended, you are assigned to a team color and can participate in competitive games against other teams. You support your team by competing or cheering them on as they battle it out in things like the water balloon toss with Sage Armstrong, pie eating contest with Ardalan, tug of war with Sven Lochenhoer or archery with BOT.
If you're not about competition, you can enjoy things like face painting with Nick Monaco, Tye Dying shirts with Mija or campfire songs with Justin Jay. With an obstacle course, zipline/nature tour, alligator wrestling, even a bar dedicated to the Super Bowl (called the Superb Owl—so perfect I couldn’t get over it) the Dirtybird team really caters to a wide array of desires.
What makes the venue it so special?
WILD LIFE. You really get to experience nature here. Picture ponds and lily pads so perfect they look fake … and gators. The terrain was unlike any other festival I’d ever been to, with lots of uneven ground. But that’s what makes each experience so much fun—adapting to the new world you have submersed yourself in.
It was a mix of tropical jungle and fuel-your-soul serene. The stars lit the sky at night, and the moon was our spotlight as we danced till the break of dawn (and even through it with Sven Lochenhoer’s sunrise set).
Any more insider tips for what to bring, pack, wear, do, etc.?
Check out the grounds as much as possible before going to the festival. Forever, Florida, where Campout East was located, had some pretty rough terrain, which meant we were prone to ankle rolling if we weren't keeping high knees. So wear shoes with some good support!
Hydration is numero uno in my book, so bring lots of water, some EmergenC and Pedialyte to keep your body feeling great. We don't need charley horses on the dance floor! Fresh fruit is a game changer in Florida heat. Get those vitamins in keep the freshness real.
Also my car battery died, so I’d recommend jumper cables and a portable charger for your phone when you're out wandering and would like to find your friends. But don’t rely on that sucker; make some new friends, because the raddest people are all around you here.
Wear your feathers, Nectar party shades and whatever makes you feel like your funky self, but don’t forget with 3 to 4 days of camping and lots of outdoor activities, it’s important to be comfortable so you can properly swing from the tree of your choosing.
“There are a lot of things I could tell you, but what I loved most is Dirtybird Campout is a family,” Gardner says. “You will meet lots of artists and like-minded individuals who will inspire you so you leave the festival feeling revived.”
All photos by Daniel Peterson