DirtyBird Campout East 2018.

Honestly, what a whirlwind.

For those of you into the EDM/Festival scene at all, you may have already heard about this crazy inaugural festival – because there was a LOT of discussion about it on Facebook.

Now, DirtyBird Campout has been happening on the west coast for a while, but this was the first year Claude Von Stroke & Co. decided to make it out to the east coast and set up shop in Florida. The festival is a house music festival set up like an adult summer camp. There’s a craft area, a talent show, potato sack races, a hula hoop competition, water activities and a lot, lot more.

In other words – an awesome idea. And it has been awesome on the west coast for a while.

Then, Claude & Co. came to good old sunny Florida.

And man did they regret it right away. Because, well, Florida can’t have nice things.

The Campout was held in St. Cloud, Florida. Now, being that Jonathon and I live in Orlando, you would have thought I had been to St. Cloud before. Nope – I had no idea what to expect as we drove into the venue, called “Forever Florida.” It ended up being an absolutely GORGEOUS swamp/ranch type of area with animals everywhere – from the domesticated companion animals to horses and even alligators.

We got there on Friday morning. The festival doors were opening at 10AM, and we wanted to get there early to get everything set up and ready, so we pulled in right at ten with our two friends.

We had a great morning unpacking slowly and easily. We had some food and decided to wander inside. What Hubs and I didn’t realize is that the campout activities were in the same arena as the actual festival – we sort of thought the “camp” stuff would be in one area and the music would be in another. We were wrong – and it was awesome! The entire festival grounds were like a big adult summer camp! It was majorly cool.

So after our quick jaunt in on Friday, we went back to camp before the opening ceremonies and music were due to start. We promptly fell asleep – Hubs for about 30 minutes and me for about 2 hours. When I woke up, I sauntered sleepily over to him in his camp chair – he was sitting around chatting with our friends and camp neighbors. Someone mentioned that there was no music on, so I asked what happened. Our neighbors had a bit of the in and it turned out, someone had complained about the noise at their Thursday pre-party and now….the county was saying no more music.

The back and forth on info went on for a few hours until around 6:30, we heard Claude was going to make an announcement, so we wandered instead to hear it. Turns out, the announcement was that there would be no music that night.

We were bummed, but we also thought, well okay, whatever. Hubs and I ended up spending the night in bed by about 10PM, with the top flap on our tent open to see the stars. It was nice and super-duper romantic. And one of my favorite parts of festivals is the tent time I spend with Hubs anyway – so I was happy. Other people had campground parties and lived it up. Everyone still seemed in good spirits.

By Saturday AM, we weren’t sure when we’d hear more news or if the festival would even be allowed to go on. Around 1:30PM, we had just walked into the festival grounds again and saw Claude driving around with a megaphone saying the music would go on that day. I’m not sure exactly when it started up again but I think it was around 3 or so. We thought we’d go into party late…but then were told that the music would stop Saturday at 10 PM. The new set lists were posted on white boards just in front of the two stages.

And the music was great, until, of course, 10 PM. The main festival grounds closed down – or at least, all the lights came on and we were shuffled out at 10. Then, the after parties in the campground started, of course, because everyone still wanted to party.

All in all, everyone still seemed to be in a good mood. There was still a lot of PLUR in the air, the people that were annoyed with the situation had left early and everyone else was having a good time.

Saturday Hubs and I had a pretty wild night of partying, even though we were back in our tent early. We wandered around, just the two of us, giggling like idiots and just experiencing the festival. It was fun and we got to bed about 2 AM.

I will say that by Sunday morning I was a little spent. Not because of the festival exactly, but because I’m a camping newb – little Indian girls usually don’t spend their childhood holidays camping in the wilderness with their parents – so all of the ruggedness of camping still gets to me. I love being in the outdoors with Hubs, and I LOVE the special alone time and sleeping in the tent, but I have a tiny little bladder that doesn’t do really well without a bathroom immediately present (which there was one in this case, thank goodness) and after a while, the dirtiness gets to me (hey – wanting to have sex multiple times a day with your hot husband while feeling absolutely disgusting can take a mental toll!).

Either way though, the vibes had started to die down, from what I felt. The people that were still there were still mostly in a good mood, but it was slated to rain Sunday night starting around 6. That, coupled with the Super Bowl, coupled with the ups and downs of the weekend made Hubs and I decide to head home early and sleep in our own bed Sunday night. Our friends that we came with decided the same – actually just before we did. When we were packing up, we noticed a lot of people had started pulling out as well.

It definitely made me feel less bad for being a prissy asshole that wasn’t enjoying the camping or lack of sleep. I mean, I love partying, so does Hubs, but I think the slow start to the weekend set the tone for just a lot of up and down feelings.

Also, being an attorney, I was sort of interested in getting the whole story on what happened, which we weren’t really able to. We heard at first that the Campout pulled the right permits, but someone complained. Then we heard that they may not have pulled a permit for Thursday and someone complained. Then we just generally heard that someone complained and got it shut down. It seems a lot of calls had to happen to get the festival going again. But still – come on Florida. You couldn’t keep your shit together for a four day music festival? You had to complain and get an ENTIRE festival shut down for a day and then close up early? This is why people make fun of Florida.

And, despite the vibes being up for this festival, it was a weird one for me, personally. Hubs and I went with our friends who are married and then Hubs had a friend of his from his college days come meet us with his girlfriend. On the other side of our camp were two guys and their sweet service dog. This little bubble was incredible – we had a great time with our friends and we loved meeting the new guys and it was generally awesome.

Outside of that, though, it felt hard to chat with people at the festival. This could very well be because Hubs and I are still in a bit of a newlywed bubble, obsessed with each other and enjoying our time together. And the campout was a microcosm of what I’ve been experiencing in life: when Hubs and I stay in our little bubble, we feel kind of judged for only wanting to hang out with each other (this does not include the people we were at the festival with, who are another happily married couple that love hanging out together!). When we don’t stay in our little bubble, we feel weird interacting with other people who then are sort of judgy about it all anyway. Or maybe I’m just being sensitive – whatever it is! Lol

At festivals, we never (I mean, NEVER) split off and do things without each other – partially because we don’t want to and partially because of the safety factor – but even trying to chat with people at DirtyBird was weird. I don’t know if it was my overall bitchy vibe (it could have been – because even though I didn’t feel bitchy at our camp, I was overwhelmed and tired from it all so this could have been entirely me and I accept that!) or if it was just the festival felt a little off after not starting with a bang.

Regardless, of course, I’m still glad we did it because every new experience is amazing, whether it’s good or bad at the time. And we hung oout with our awesome friends all weekend and I got to meet Hubs friend and a couple of other cool guys, so it was all good.

We also got a baller new tent before the festival (more on that in a camping post later).

So would we do DirtyBird again? I definitely would – I think the camp theme and everything was cool. I don’t know if I’d do it in Florida again though, considering this state is awful!