What’s great about Dirtybird as a label and what makes every event they produce better than the last — be it a club appearance, a BBQ, or even something as massive as the Campout — is that everyone, including the head of the label, is involved every step of the way.

Claude Vonstroke is a man of many coonskin caps when it comes to the Campout. Not only did he found the festival, but he played more sets that I could count at this year’s event, including one under his “alias,” which is really his given name, and he even played dodgeball with the campers (he was tagged out very early by a crafty member of the green team who caught the ball VonStroke was trying to strike him with).

Honestly, the man just seemed to be everywhere on the festival grounds. At one point I could have sworn there was a small army of Claude VonStroke clones because one second I would seem him in a game having a blast with the campers, and the next he would be onstage supporting one of his artists, and then he would be behind the decks himself, just jamming out.

Whether it was during his Claude VonStroke set, his late-night Barclay Crenshaw ode to hip hop, jamming with his friend DJ Green Velvet, or on the decks finishing the festival with a family set that included almost all his birds (during which someone, I’m not sure who, threw down a remix of Bjork’s “Anchor Song” that brought some of the crowd, myself included, to tears), VonStroke proved one thing: he still rules the nest at Dirtybird!

Each set was amazing and unique, and I would easily have attended the Dirtybird Campout just to listen to him alone all three days, but his weren’t the only noteworthy sets. Others that stood out were that of my cornhole teammate Kill Frenzy, our opponent Worthy, and an opening act on the final day that was equal parts bizarre and aptly named: Blondtron & Waspy.

photo by Watchara Phomicinda
Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

In the end, it was Red team led by Vonstroke himself that took home the gold for the events, and VonStroke was asked at a press event what he felt exemplified Dirtybird. He responded with a story from the Campout itself:

“Today at the beat box competition, the best part and the part that made it Dirtybird was that all of the beatboxers who lost formed a group, came on stage together, and did a group performance. Then the host of the show came on and spit bars over the whole thing, and everyone was like, ‘Oh my god! My mind’s exploding!’ That’s Dirtybird.”

What I think VonStroke was describing with that story is the family-orientated vibe that is not only present in the artists on the label, but also in the feeling of any Dirtybird event. Whether you’re attending a show, a set put on by a Dirtybird DJ at a festival, or the Campout next year, it doesn’t matter: the vibe of the crowd will always be the same.

A Dirtybird event is a place to get weird and know that not only is that okay, but that you will surrounded by people as weird as you are, be they your fellow teammates, the campers out on the dancefloor with you, or the DJs dancing just as hard as the crowd, if not harder, up on the stage.

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Dirtybird Campout