Panic at Camp Bisco

Wherein I have my nightmares from the three-day festival analyzed by a psychologist.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 55 | Posted Jul. 7, 2010

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Big-time Biscuits: Disco Biscuits ready for camp

Back about as far as I can remember (five years or so, sadly) I’ve had a recurring nightmare. I’m back in high school, a senior, and graduation is looming. It’s a day before finals, and I’m as prepped as can be—studied up, ready to go: English, science, government, a couple electives.

All except for math. I’m not ready for it. In fact, I’ve skipped my math class all semester, and won’t be taking the final. This will keep me from walking on graduation day, as it’s the one credit I need to earn my diploma.

I won’t graduate with friends. I will have to go to summer school. Worse still, I’ll have to tell my parents about the ditching I’ve been doing. This is going. to. suck.

And then, just as I’m preparing to tell my parents what an absolutely huge fuck-up I am—a quitter, a liar, a class-cutter—I wake up in a cold sweat. In my drowsy panic it takes me a second to realize it was just a dream. I did graduate. I didn’t skip class (except homeroom, but c’mon!). I did take all my tests, and passed them. I walked with my classmates.

All is well.

Except it’s not. Because I have this dream a lot, countless times since I graduated back in the Paleozoic era. Only I should’ve written “had” in that last sentence. The good news is, I don’t have that nightmare anymore. The bad news is, I have a new one.

For about the past year or so my new nightmare goes like this: I’m in a tent during a driving rain and hail storm in the middle of bum-fuck New York state, freezing cold, sleeping in icy water, surrounded by drug-addled zombies who are pissing all around where I’m trying to sleep, some of their urine doubtlessly seeping through the tent. There is music blaring at deafening levels. Laser lights pierce through blindingly. I want to leave, but know I can’t. “I’ve got to live through this for 36 more hours,” I think to myself.

Then I wake up.

The difference between these two dreams—besides the piss—is that I actually lived through the second, at Camp Bisco 8, the three-day festival curated by Philly’s self-described “Super jamband” Disco Biscuits. At Camp Bisco hippies known as “wookies” do “wookie shit” like eat copious amounts of Ecstasy, gobble shrooms by the handful and smoke DMT. Then they twirl around and pee wherever they like. It’s an event that attracts 10,000 people a year.

The dream is vividly real to me. I distinctly remember having that exact thought during Bisco: “I’ve got to live through this for 36 more hours.” It was while Nas and Damian Marley were wrapping up their set late Friday night, and I had a full day and night ahead of me before catching the train out of Mariaville, N.Y. There was nothing to do but grin and bear it. So I got shit-faced and slept in zombie piss while trying to stave off hypothermia and resisting the urge to buy drugs at insanely discounted prices.

But still, I wonder what the dream represents. Was Camp Bisco 8 so awful as to give me post-traumatic stress? (Seriously.) Could I sue? (Joking.)

I called a professional to find out. His name is Dr. Doug Osman, and he’s got a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Osman works with schizophrenics primarily, but was nice enough to get his Freud on with me. I described both dreams to him, asked his opinion.

So, what up, doc? (Sorry.)

Osman tells me that the first, about not graduating, or failing to do what’s necessary to complete a task, is a fairly common anxiety dream, “anticipating something unpleasant in the future.” The second is an anxiety dream too, he says, although not typical.

“Do you often have this dream on nights when you know you have some pretty serious and possibly unpleasant things to do the next day or days?” Osman asks me.

“I do.”

He grins.

Well, that was pretty easy.

The fact I actually lived through the events that occur in the nightmare, indeed, suggests it was emotionally stressful enough to cause me post-traumatic stress, Osman says.

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Comments 1 - 55 of 55
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1. Anonymous said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 10:53AM

“I can't believe this long article only includes just a few lines about all the diverse acts playing at Camp Bisco 9 this year. This is the kind of article that continues to perpetuate the stereotype that so-called jambands exist only to create open-air drug fairs for fiends. Enjoy your DMT!”

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2. Glendinging Rileson said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 04:12PM

“Theres DMT in Philly!?!?!?”

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3. TheDiscoBiscuits said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 09:47PM

“We will give you that the weather was horrid last year but it's a little odd that you focused on that and the substances over the music, the point of the entire weekend!

Are you a music fan or do you just prefer pulling it to typewriters?”

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4. Deadhed said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 10:08PM

“Your a huge pussy d00d.”

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5. Aaron said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 10:14PM

“Please do NOT come to Camp Bisco. You are such a panzy if you think camp is sketchy compared to all the other festivals out there. You mentioned going with friends this year? what do you have two, three friends? stay home and be a tool and leave Camp Bisco to those who know what they are doing and have the time of their life every year there. Please stop writing these horrible articles with your horrible perspective.”

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6. Anonymous said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 10:15PM

“You did this same thing last year. Why don't you just do everyone a favor and kill yourself. It's pretty obvious you get off to the fact that you can see your name on some shitty website that is based in that cesspool of a city called Philadelphia. There are a lot of good people that go to this event, myself included. Haven't used drugs once in my life, and thoroughly enjoy the music.

Another note. Have you ever been to a festival before? Hell, have you ever been to a concert? DRUGS HAPPEN, it is a part of music. It always has been and always will be.

I have a recurring nightmare too.

I am a 30 something year old nobody, who writes for a no name website, and lives in a studio apartment with my 3 cats.

PS. YOU ARE A TERRIBLE WRITER. Consider yourself lucky you get payed anything at all.”

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7. Anonymous said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 10:21PM

“sounds like you're hooked, pussy. hopefully you can get some of the sand out and enjoy yourself this year.”

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8. Anonymous said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 11:14PM

“do us all a favor and stay home or i'll throw some whiz on ya and scarf you down in two bites.”

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9. John said... on Jul 7, 2010 at 11:38PM

“It sounds like you have something against this festival in particular. I've been to a lot of fests all around the country - bad weather and drugs happen. Wooks show up at almost all of them (except the ones with lineups not dominated by jam bands). You went unprepared and found yourself in over your head... That's your own fault.

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10. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 12:44AM

“Worst. Columnist. Ever.”

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11. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 12:59AM

“Wow. Camp Bisco is one of the cleaner, safer festivals on the east coast. If you were uncomfortable there, you'd probably die of shock or get your ass kicked by the Nitrous Mafia anywhere else.”

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12. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 01:33AM

“please dont bring your weak ass back to are a complete vag...i raged harder as a 12 year old girl than you

"I have a recurring nightmare too.

I am a 30 something year old nobody, who writes for a no name website, and lives in a studio apartment with my 3 cats. "


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13. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 02:47AM

“you are a fucking pussy. if you can't handle your shit, then get the fuck out of our scene.”

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14. adam said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 05:38AM

“yet another great article from the man.... seriously what do you have against this band and its fans? Plenty of people go to this festival, use the bathrooms, and just drink a bit and have a good time....

I actually really do hope you show up, i'm sure your picture will circulate and you actually might find yourself on multiple substances on 'accident'”

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15. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 07:12AM

“this is the dumbest article I have ever read... what's the point?!”

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16. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 07:12AM

“Please post a picture of this doushe”

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17. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 07:47AM

“kill yourself”

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18. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 07:58AM

“If you were in your tent, trying to cry yourself to sleep during NAS and D Marley - YOU ARE NOT DOING CAMP RIGHT! Eat some discount mahl and go rage you nancy.

"I have a recurring nightmare too.
I am a 30 something year old nobody, who writes for a no name website, and lives in a studio apartment with my 3 cats. "

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19. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 08:28AM

“Wow. You are an extreme pussy & loser.”

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20. Didn't Pee In My Tent said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 08:36AM

“It is unfortunate that you write these articles just to praise yourself on how many comments you get. Maybe you did have a bad experience, but maybe that experience was based on your choices. Instead of letting the festival experience happen, you thought you were better than it from the start. You took a bad attitude and in turn received a bad experience. I have been to 6 Camp Biscos and never had a problem or a bad time. Next time maybe you should spend more time listening to the music instead of thinking you are the coolest person in the room.”

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21. Tyler said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 09:05AM

“The guy that wrote this article is the same immature, attention deprived, crappy writing "journalist" who wrote another article basing The Disco Biscuits last year. Save your "whitty" remarks, fellas, this guy will just feed off of it.”

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22. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 09:18AM

“"The fact I actually lived through the events that occur in the nightmare, indeed, suggests it was emotionally stressful enough to cause me post-traumatic stress, Osman says."

This is the most pathetic statement I've ever read. Do you faint at the sight of blood? You should thank the gods every single day that you live such a cosmopolitan lifestyle that your thankless ass never actually has to experience anything real other than writing pithy "critiques" of jamband festivals. Fail.”

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23. wooksRus said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 09:30AM

“ok so you used this entire article to bitch about how much the festival sucks and how grimey it is, (says the guy from Philly.) then you say you are going again? WHY??? STAY HOME! you won't be missed.”

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24. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 10:30AM

“pedo mustache and a side comb. super cool guy. see you at camp.”

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25. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 10:50AM

“im printing out posters with this guys face on them and plastering them around camp...wanted poster will read "$500 reward for the capture or puddling of this gaping vagina"

seriously though someone will puddle him we get his face out there...give him a whole new set of nightmares”

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26. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:53AM

“Thank you for one of the funniest, tungue-in-cheek articles about Camp I have read in while. Honestly, if kids don't know what they are up for, this should interest or keep them away. Biker ranch, here we come (again)! The mere fact that he intends to go again this year negates his report of Camp being a nightmare,

You know I feel like an idiot laughing at a computer, but thanks and where are the deemsters?.”

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27. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:56AM


P.S. that was the worst piece of writing I have ever written and the fact that this was published in Phila Weekly speaks volumes about the type of garbage they will publish.”

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28. Anon said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 12:03PM

“Hahaha!!! Dude wear a sign to Camp 9 that says you wrote this article and see if you don't leave without a broken nose. What a punk pussy bitch.”

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29. BiscuitsFans said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 12:17PM

“Biscuits fans suck kinda huge in these comments. The guy got pissed on and he's not even bitching. He made something entertaining out of it. God stop sucking your fave bands' d*** so hard. I've seen them a bunch of times and they're not even that great.”

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30. Chill Bear said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 01:55PM

“Mr. Columnist, your lack of substance in this piece of drivel you call an article makes me want to eat you. You obviously don't "get" anything about the Disco Biscuits or their fan base and have most likely been taken advantage of because people spot you a mile away as the hack that you are. Please stay home because if I see you I will not be so chill.

PS: Widespread SUX”

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31. Someone keeping it real said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 02:28PM

“You are a huge vagina.”

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32. EveryOne said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 02:34PM

“Yes! you are that big a doubt about it!
Hope you don't come, but if you do I'll sell you a 5$ roll alright, straight from the grimiest Wookie's asshole I can find, preferably a Wook passed out in his own piss, cause I know you like that....FOOL”

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33. xTHEMOSTDOSEDx said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 02:39PM





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34. amyem said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 02:42PM

“You are a terrible writer.

But that aside, I can't believe you are going to go BACK to this festival when you had nothing but negative things to say about it. Seems to me that you're the problem. Your focusing on some people doing drugs and bad weather and saying the music and lights were horrifying. Yet, you're going to go back and abuse drugs and not listen to the muisc.

good idea.

you're a real loser.”

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35. Your Mom said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 03:50PM

“You are all pussies (including the author). Good luck trying to get a piece of tail from a Manhattan trust-fund hottie who is posing has a "Wooka" for the weekend. And yes, you are rolling too hard to get it up.

Fact: If you take enough E rain drops falling on HVAC ducts sounds just like UK Funky Deep House Fusion.

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36. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 03:59PM

“All kidding aside, who's got my DMT?”

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37. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 05:38PM

“great article...i agree with 100%. maybe only a 1/3rd are there for music and not the drugs.”

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38. Anonymous said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 05:41PM

“how did this guy get a job as a writer in an economy like this? I know Philly has a lack of talent in just about every sense of the word, but he is terrible. Way to perpetuate the stereotype that your city is a urban nightmare of trash and morons.”

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39. Bisco Mom said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 06:33PM

“Wow, I have loved the biscuits since 99 but never could go to any of the festivals they were playing at because my kids were too young. But now that my son is eleven and my daughter is nine I thought this would be the perfect year to go with the whole family. But now I don't think I can possibly subject my children to such behavior. Thanks so much for the information you saved me from making a huge mistake!!”

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40. silverbullet69 said... on Jul 8, 2010 at 07:48PM

“who the fuck are the disco biscuits??”

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41. Klassy said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 08:09AM

“Hey man,

Glad you're coming to Camp this year. We know what you look like. You will be on the receiving end of a massive beat down.

Stay strong.”

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42. Busted said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 09:43AM

“Here's a link to this douchesickle on Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey:

He's on it towards the end, but the whole episode is about how he ruined this restaurant with a review he wrote. You make a living shitting on things, dude. If I see you at camp I'm going to shit on YOU.”

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43. Mike Jones said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 11:27AM

“Just google image search his name. WE WILL FIND YOU!”

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44. Anonymous said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 12:56PM



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45. Brad said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 12:58PM


He's the douche on the left. $1000 to anyone who doses the fuck out of this guy”

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46. Anonymous said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 01:04PM

“your fucked, kill yourself”

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47. Anonymous said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 02:08PM

“My IQ dropped after finishing this filth. I read your "fear and loathing at Camp Bisco" rendition from last year... Just because drugs are involved and you’re telling a story in first person doesn't mean you’re a "Gonzo" journalist. Have you even read anything else by Hunter S. Thompson? I've got a picture of you buddy so I recommend you change your physical appearance this year because I do stay sober for camp and I will find you. And for further notice not everyone who goes to camp are strung out junkies... For example I'm a college senior; my friend who is a certified doctor will be there, rolling his fucking face off, and two of my Harvard grad. Buddies will also be in attendance for all three days. So have fun wasting your life away under florescent tubes as a hack writer for a bullshit magazine, most likely aiming for a Pulitzer prize, but really all your going to do is find a fellow soulless women to marry and produce some more dull and mediocre kids...”

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48. WOOKIE FUND said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 06:17PM

“Hey Wookies! You guys have the lamest, whitest, "subculture" I've ever seen in my life! You make Juggalos look like the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Just plug "camp bisco" into youtube and laugh thinking about all the stoned middle class "groovers" from long island with listening to watered down, shitty music and pretending to be tough at their computers...

I mean, good lord, have any of you even watched the "World Is Spinning" video? It looks like a cross between the "African Child" video from "Get Him To The Greek" and Mark Gormley! So meaningful and "chill" at the same time!

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49. Color War said... on Jul 9, 2010 at 06:26PM

“Seriously.. can you imagine any of these people giving anyone a "beat down"??? Hahahaha”

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50. Anonymous said... on Jul 10, 2010 at 10:10AM

“I don't think 1,000 Disco Biscuits fans together could administer a beatdown to anything other than their own shriveled cocks. What a shitty band and an even shittier fanbase.”

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51. Anonymous said... on Jul 10, 2010 at 10:13AM

“Seriously, the "Gathering Of The Juggalos" is like a Mensa convention compared to Camp Bisco.”

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52. Anonymous said... on Jul 27, 2010 at 11:48AM

“A lot of the comments pretty much sum up why I'll never go to another east coast festival....

Brian McManus - do yourself a favor and come out to the Sierra Nevadas next Fourth of July weekend to the High Sierra Music Festival. While it's true that the music is only one of the most important, wonderful things about that festival, the line-up is still usually great. And the vibe at that festival is blissfully wonderful. No sketchy drug dealers at all, unlike upstate NY fests. Lots of families, actually. And lots of non-families. Many late-night impromptu sets of music at various people's camps.

Seriously, a good atmosphere, totally worth the cost of the trip! A plethora of free showers, lots of fun creative campsites.. 4 hours north of SF.”

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53. Anonymous said... on Jul 10, 2011 at 01:35PM

“you are all fucking wookies who cares what this artical says, i say all of you go to this camp because at least your not smelling up my school and whomping around. its kinda sad that your people are turned on by free showers and drugs go hug a fucking tree you wookies”

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54. Anonymous said... on Nov 25, 2011 at 08:28PM

“try going to iraq tough guy this festival is a peaceful place were people can express themselves.Free their head from the worries of school, home and ignorant people like you.Like the biscuits said you missed the meaning of it. Im local in mariaville and im begging you please return and try to start a fight with anyone there.....the write another article”

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55. Anonymous said... on Nov 25, 2011 at 08:31PM

“Funny you scroll up and see all the ppl who went and they are all calm and nice....didmt attend but i can tell who was wrong on this page”


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