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The Disco Biscuits, Lotus and Big Grizmatik among headliners at Camp Bisco

The Disco Biscuits, Lotus and Big Grizmatik among headliners at Camp Bisco

The Disco Biscuits just turned 21 and you're invited to their birthday party. How are they going to celebrate? The same way they do every year: Camp Bisco.

Camp Bisco is a three-day music festival with The Disco Biscuits and other jam band/EDM musicians July 14-16 at Montage Mountain in Scranton.

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"It's sort of our yearly anniversary party," says Disco Biscuits bassist and festival co-founder Marc Brownstein. "We've been crushing this festival as a yearly reminder of all the stuff we've put together over the years."

The Biscuits are a Philadelphia jam/trance fusion band formed at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995 by Sam Altman, Marc Brownstein on bass, Jon Gutwillig on guitar and Aron Magner on keyboard. (Allen Aucoin replaced Altman in 2005.)

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Festival headliners include Odesza, Big Grizmatik, Griz, Lotus, RL Grime, STS9, Zeds Dead and of course, The Disco Biscuits playing each day for a total of six sets.

"These guys are superstars," Brownstein says. "Big Grizmatik (Big Gigantic, Griz and Gramatik) put together three of the biggest acts in electronic music right now."

Returning to Camp Bisco are long-time friends of the Biscuits, Lotus and Lettuce.

"I'd say those are some of the people we're closest with in music," Brownstein says. "Lotus and Lettuce were the first and second acts we booked this year, just to give you an idea of how important they are to us."

This year's lineup caters to all types of fans, Brownstein says. If you're only into the Biscuits and bands like them, there is plenty of that to be had. But if you're among the group of fans that Brownstein has met that have never heard of The Disco Biscuits, then there is enough "cool and fresh EMD" to make you want to be there, he says.

Brownstein says he is excited to see Anderson .Paak, Jerry Folk, Shiba San, Lil Dicky and Thundercat, who he calls "the best bass player playing at the festival."

The Camp Bisco Music Festival began in 1999 in Titusville, attracting a humble crowd of about 900, Brownstein says. For the next few years the festival moved around Pennsylvania to different venues, and its attendance continued to rise.

As the festival grew, it moved to New York — in 2005 at Skyetop Festival Ground in Van Etten and the next year at Hunter Mountain Ski and Lodge in Hunter. In 2007 it seemed Camp Bisco had found a permanent home at the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, N.J., where it was for six years.

But, in 2014 Camp Bisco was denied a permit. It seems the club was not happy with the idea of 25,000 descending on the small town with one road in and one road out, Brownstein says.

"We finally brought it back home to Pennsylvania last year to Montage Mountain … it's sort of the perfect size for what we want to do," Brownstein says. "The nice thing about Montage Mountain is that it's a concert venue that does 17,000 people regularly. Events like this that can bring a lot of money into the city are welcome in Scranton."

However, last year's festival had to be put together in about eight weeks instead of the normal 8-12 months. Brownstein says there were significant problems with getting people in and out of the festival. On Wednesday night when campers arrived, there was a jam getting into the festival when the box office closed. There were also issues with transporting fans from the festival to the campgrounds at the bottom of the mountain. The tractors moved pretty slowly.

To anyone that might have had a negative experience last year because of the logistical troubles Brownstein says "we hear you, and we've take every step to fix those issues."

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This year the box office will be staffed and open 24 hours starting Wednesday and continuing until everyone is in the festival, Brownstein says. Instead of tractors, this year 24 Ford F250s will pull flat beds to transport patrons.

Organizers will provide water and DJs to entertain in congested areas.

"People like music, they don't like standing in line. But if while they're in line there's water and snacks and music, that's going to make the experience better," Brownstein says.

He says the entire focus this year has been on making the fan's experience as positive as it can be. Brownstein feels that "the key to having a great festival is making the experience great for the fans from the moment they get there to the moment they leave."

In the spirit of improving the customer experience, Camp Bisco has also hired a new security team whose main focus is to treat the fans as the most important people at the festival.

"Camp Bisco has always sort of been a celebration of our scene, a celebration of our fans, a celebration of the music," Brownstein says.

Another issue last year was the clean-up. Brownstein says that despite the fact that they hire workers to come in and clean the festival grounds after the event, pictures still get posted online and give the show a bad image. This year Camp Bisco has partnered with Clean Vibes, an event waste and recycling service.

Clean Vibes will promote site clean-up as the festival is going on by handing out two bags, one for trash and one for recycling, to each vehicle as they enter the grounds. More will be available at the information booth. Festival-goers can then trade in their recyclables for points, redeemable for prizes, at the Clean Vibes Trading Post. Cigarette butts and glow sticks also can be turned in for points. The person who trades in the most recycling for the weekend will receive two tickets to next year's Camp Bisco.

There are also other activities at the festival. Montage Mountain has a water park and zip lines that will be open to fans. As part of the new new Wellness Program, Brownstein's wife Debbie, owner of Love Light Yoga, will hold yoga classes every morning. And Brownstein will lead a 5K run on Thursday or Friday, with the exact time to be announced. Hikes will also be led around the resort.

With the Disco Biscuits anniversary just last weekend, and less than a week to go until Camp Bisco, Brownstein is feeling the excitement.

"For me, playing amphitheater shows has always been such a dream," Brownstein says. "Getting to come into this incredible amphitheater in northeast Pennsylvania and set up on the stage and camp out there for the week and play three nights, six sets … it's living the dream."

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CAMP BISCO 2016

• What: Three-day jam band/EDM music festival

• Where: Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton

• When: July 14-16

• How much: Three-day general admission pass $195.50; Friday and Saturday single day pass $95; Three day VIP pass $450.50; Three day super VIP pass $799.50; Three day VIP box seats $450.50 ($500.50 at gate); Camping $35, RV parking $300

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• Info: campbisco.com

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