MOOSIC — Aron Magner has seen the Camp Bisco musical festival grow in droves since its inception in 1999. Eighteen years later, the Disco Biscuits keyboard player regards the festival as a reflection of the band’s development and a testament to the positive culture built by the Biscuits, fellow artists and their respective fan bases.
The 2016 Camp Bisco music festival takes place from July 14 through 16 at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain. Spread over three stages on the amphitheater and water park grounds, the festival features nearly 90 acts performing livetronica music (which blends progressive rock and electronica using live instrumentation), electronica, funk, rock and fusions of many genres.
The Biscuits started Camp Bisco prior to the advent of the American mega-festival, seeking a reprieve from their relegation to the afternoon set at hodgepodge festivals and looking to produce something with more intent and organization.
“We saw an ability to come into that marketplace with a more direct and philistine mentality of a well curated festival,” Magner said.
What began as an 800 person gathering has grown to nearly 20,000 as of 2015, with the expectation being similar for the 2016 rendition.
The event, like the artists who founded it, has become unique in its gathering of jam bands who play electronic music, DJs who produce similar sounds digitally and artists of different body moving genres.
“On a microcosmic level, Camp Bisco mimics what the Disco Biscuits were doing, fusing together a live band with electronic music,” Magner said.
Bands like Sound Tribe Sector 9 and The New Deal were like minded artists participating in the earliest Bisco events, and they return for sets in 2016.
Magner said working together on festivals like Bisco and Holidaze over the course of many years has brought a camaraderie into the Biscuits’ dealings with livetronica peers.
“I think the coolest part about it is I admire and respect them as musicians and business people … but most of all, they’ve become friends,” Magner said. “Nothing makes me prouder of what our scene and our culture and our community has accomplished than sitting on the beach in the Dominican Republic and watching Sector 9 slay a set.”
That lack of competition and mutual appreciation for music comes to Montage Mountain, which Magner said adds certain benefits to the event, for the second year. The band, formed at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid ’90s, has essentially brought their festival home.
“First of all, I love moving this festival back into the state of Pennsylvania,” Magner said. “What’s particularly interesting about this sight is it has infrastructure, which is different than previous Camp Biscos. It’s nice to be in a big open air pavilion and still have the juxtaposition of that to the second and third stages, which are outdoor stages. It’s like having the best of both worlds.”
As thousands of livetronica fans prepare to make the pilgrimage to Northeastern Pennsylvania for the annual fusion fest, Magner hopes the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region is excited as well.
“It’s going to be a hell of a good time,” he said.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651
IF YOU GO:
What: Camp Bisco
Where: Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Rd., Moosic.
When: July 14 - 16
Additional Information: Daily tickets for July 15 and 16 are available for $95 at campbisco.com. A three day general admission pass is available for $215.50. Camping passes must be bought separately and are available for $45. Visit campbisco.com for more ticket options and prices.