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The Road to Dirtybird West Coast Campout

by Denzil Chung

I have never been more hyped for a festival that Dirtybird West Coast Campout! My induction into Dirtybird Fam all started with a random trip to Boston to see Billy Kenny last fall.  My friend Alex recommended that I check him out, and given the fact I was transforming into a full-blown tech house fan, I knew it would be a good show. I didn’t expect it to be an amazing show! From start to finish, Billy Kenny brought those filthy house sounds that made me put, what I call a “bass face” while shuffling like a madman. The vibe was dark, intimate, yet funky. But what blew me away was when Billy Kenny dropped…DRUM N BASS!! A genre of EDM that rarely sees the light of day due to its underground nature and Billy Kenny somehow mixed it in seamlessly with house set. I happened to bond with a girl there who also was feeling the music and we ended up becoming friends down the road later, linking up at the Shuffle Boston meetups. We all danced like it was no tomorrow, sweaty, with not a care in the world. That was when I knew I was a Dirtybird fan!

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Photo Andrew MacRobert

Dirtybird Fam | Photo courtesy Andrew MacRobert www.andrewmacrobert.com

 

Ending 2017 with a bunch of mainstream festivals under my belt, I knew that I began to learn more towards house and techno. Unfortunately, besides going to festivals or random trips to NYC, it was hard for me to get my fix.  When Dirtybird Campout East was announced for Feb 2018, I knew I wanted to go, but I was held back by fear of camping (never camped before) and going solo. I found out my friend Jennifer went and her feedback literally was “if you love house just a little bit, you have to check out at least one Dirtybird campout”. Of course, I had major “FOMO” and regret missing DBCE, and vowed to make it for the West Coast edition.

I started, what I called the Denzil Rave tour, going to various festivals across America to kick off 2018 festival season. The first one on the list was Coachella. Despite what pure EDM enthusiasts may have felt about it, I was looking forward to this event because it was something new and it was in my favorite state, California. As time drew closer to the event, I became even more amped when the lineup dropped. It turned out that both Chris Lake and Fisher were going to be playing at the Do Lab tent. Now I know technically Chris Lake isn’t a Dirtybird player, but Fisher was and most of their songs had that intriguing Dirtybird sound that I like to call the “boots and cats”. I saw both of them play at the Do Lab stage, which to my surprise was the company that made the stages for Dirtybird Campout.

Do Lab at Coachella

Do Lab at Coachella | Photo Courtesy of Fresh Music Freaks Denzil Chung

The stage design was unique. It reminded me of a banana peel/ pineapple fusion and when the sunlight hit the outside, the inside looked very colorful. The best part, however, was the sound and when I tell you how blown away I was by Chris Lake’s set followed by Fisher’s, I am not kidding! All of a sudden the laid-back Cali crowd went bananas when Chris Lake dropped “Jump Around and Shout” and I was in a mosh of people doing Fortnite dances. Naturally, of course, I join in and do the shuffle dance that I love so much. I went so hard to his set, I barely had the energy for Fisher’s, who might I add, went even harder! All the songs I practiced and trained to during the winter months, Fisher played. He then dropped “I’m losing it” and it was the first time I had heard him play that song. Seeing both him and Chris Lake on stage, with the go-go dancers, everyone living it up, the energy, I really felt I lost it, and it was AWESOME. The Do Lab stage was definitely the highlight of my Coachella experience and it proved to me more and more I needed to do Campout.

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Next up on my festival list was EDC Vegas, a festival I vowed to conquer after last year’s blunder. I decided to do EDC Vegas last minute but I still made sure I prepared myself and trained for this event. Besides the festival itself, the one thing I love more are the pool parties. I knew well in advance I was going to do 2 pool parties, the Above & Beyond  Wet Republic party, and Factory 93 Dark Water. I had fun at these parties don’t get me wrong, but there was a third pool party that was unplanned and ended up being the best one of them all and it was the Get Real pool party hosted by Claude Von Stroke and Green Velvet.

Green Velvet Pool Party

Green Velvet Pool Party | Photo Courtesy Denzil Chung Fresh Music Freaks

Quick backstory on how this happened: a friend of mine from Boston who shared the same taste in music as me, invited me to go…after I had just returned from Dark water the previous night! Obviously, I was very tired and in desperate need of sleep, however, he was always trying to invite me out to events that I never made it too, so I felt the need to go. But also, it was VEGAS, no one sleeps in Vegas. So like a good raver, I took a leap of faith, got 2 espressos along with my pre-workout mixture, and put my ninja hat on ready to rage. I arrived at Drais day club and was blown away by how sexy the layout was. It was really a true Vegas pool club. It wasn’t until we got towards the pool party area when I got a surge of energy from those filthy house beats and knew….I was awake! What was special about this pool party was I met other Dirtybird and Holy Ship FAM that my friend knew and felt like I was home. Surprisingly I met a shuffle couple there who I recall watching dance up a storm at last year’s EDC Vegas. When I was hurt from my injury, I watched them dance it was so magical it inspired me to shuffle harder. Now fast forwarding a year later to see the same couple among the friends that I just made through a friend that invited me to a pool party last minute in VIP!! It is really something out of a movie. That feeling of bliss took over me and I just danced my butt off with my new Dirtybird FAM to Claude’s set. I’m pretty sure he saw me going hard because I could have sworn he was laughing. What can I say, there is something euphoric about just being around good people and music that when it hits you, it makes you want to express it, and that is exactly what I did. I knew going into EDC Vegas I had wanted to do DirtyBird campout but I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen. After this pool party, and being adopted my by shuffle couple, the dream became a reality.

Photo Courtesy Austen Blass

Denzil Chung Shuffles | Photo Courtesy Austen Blass

By the time Electric Forest was coming up, I felt as if I reached a plateau in my EDM festival adventures. How was I going to top EDC Vegas and Coachella with all the awesome experiences I had from both? I kind of knew going into Electric Forest that it was a majority dub/Bassnectar cult fest with some jam bands sprinkled in between. Combined with the true camping experience, I was very nervous I wouldn’t make it. Still, I knew I had to go, especially since I heard it was the festival with the best vibes in America. I needed to see that for myself. Pulling up the festival grounds and seeing other forest families all relaxed and chill, quickly put my nerves to rest. Not even day 1, day 0 as I call it, the festivities started right away. Justin Jay, another Dirtybird player, surprised early arrival guests with a secret set and I happened to be there. My infamous, blackout shuffle kicked it right away, as I danced all through the good life stage with my ninja hat and immediately knew this festival was going to be lit.

Electric Forest

Electric Forest | Photo Courtesy Denzil Chung Fresh Music Freaks

My favorite moment of Electric Forest had to of been spending the majority of my time in the forest stage. It brought out my primal instincts and heightened my insatiable appetite for House music. The Dirtybird and NightBass artist cured that appetite tenfold. One unforgettable mention is the silent disco. I’ve been to many silent disco parties in the past but this one was extra special. The music just seemed to hit me harder. I’m pretty sure Justin Jay was on there as well. looking back at Electic Forest now, I was completely wrong about my musical assessment. There was so much House music and the forest setting made it so much more enjoyable than I could ever imagine.  It truly lived up to the best festival title and I think it’s it’s because of the DirtyBird influence. I knew that since I enjoyed camping at Electric Forest, I was more than ready for the campout this fall.

The past festivals have solidified a huge desire to experience Dirtybird Campout this year. I matured in my House musical tastes and cannot wait to embark on this adventure. I will be turning 30 this year and closing out my 20’s in prime fashion. I plan on doing 4 bucket list items in one trip: Visiting San Diego for the first time, do CRSSD festival, road trip up the coast of California from San Diego, and finish by celebrating my birthday on the same day as Dirtybird Campout. I look forward to meeting fellow Dirtybird fam, artists, and more importantly, shuffling the night away.

Check out the lineup below, and I look forward to seeing you there! Grab your tickets here.

Dirtybird West Coast Campout 2018

Dirtybird West Coast Campout 2018

 

 

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