Bigfoot Campout 2023 was hands down the best festival experience I’ve ever had. I encountered amazing people and engaged in enriching conversations with attendees and artists alike. The more I conversed with people, the more I realized that this weekend wasn’t just a reset for myself, but others as well. The communal healing that took place was unlike anything I’ve witnessed before. It was gratifying to see everyone be their free selves, without judgment in their natural human element. With each passing moment, you could physically watch the stress and pressure being lifted off people’s shoulders.
The weekend was overwhelming in the best ways and I wish I could tell you all every last detail. I hope my words will serve as insight on our community, and reflection for the attendees.
Bigfoot Campout featured not only bass music genres, but indie and rap acts as well. This came as a pleasant surprise to me on Saturday afternoon. I really needed to regulate my nervous system that day. Although I love bass music, it can get overstimulating at times; I didn’t sleep well the night before, as the temps were very low and my air mattress was deflated (terrible combo). I sought to decompress, so I went to bathe by the river and it was especially refreshing–arguably better than a shower at home.
After getting dressed and heading towards the mainstage, I heard this angelic voice. It was Guinevere. I had a Whiteclaw in one hand, a joint in the other, and I could feel my battery recharging as I basked in the sun along with other spirits scattered across the grass. This was such an ethereal, grounding experience.
“One of the big reasons why we diversified this year was because last year for the first Bigfoot camp out, we basically booked 72 straight hours of riddim and it made me hate the genre so much. So it’s like…we’re not doing that, again!”– Connor James, Festival Organizer
There were a couple other acts that stood out: Luma Noddy (A.K.A Okay Vee) and Shady B.
Luma Noddy performed some soulful covers and originals. His song “I’m Good” really stuck with me. His voice and witty lyrics created a fun yet charming melody that I still can’t get out of my head. Every time I look back on Bigfoot Campout, I feel like I’m dancing with those memories to this song.
Now, technically, Shady B was not on the lineup; she is a good friend of Guinevere, who brought her on stage to perform a few songs.
Let me tell you… I had the biggest smile on my fucking face at the sight.
It’s very rare that we see representation of black women at festivals like this, so you could imagine how I felt to see melanated passion. These performances really sealed the deal on Bigfoot Campout being an iconic weekend, yet we were barely halfway through the festival!
Community is EVERYTHING
“I want to give opportunities to DJs that don’t normally get to play at Trinity or anywhere in Pioneer Square, the biggest clubs in Seattle. They’re like, okay, we’ll give you some exposure, maybe 50 bucks for gas. No. I’m trying to make sure every single artist I’ve booked gets paid a fair amount. That’s, you know, a big cost. I haven’t made profit on this yet, and I’m not trying to right now. It’s about establishing a family-run event and grabbing all the artists that know each other that are killing it in the scene. It’s not about the money– it’s about bringing everyone together.”– Connor James
The local PNW scene contains this raw talent that gets filtered through production companies. All people want is to show the world their art. That leaves it up to the community to take it upon themselves to lift each other up. Connor James, Bigfoot Campout’s organizer, has been establishing renegades for the locals for some time now, so he’s no rookie. I got the chance to have a chat with him about operations behind this festival as well as his debut project with Slurreal: L.S.G.
S: What were some differences between Bigfoot Campout last year vs. this year?
CJ: This year is definitely a lot more professional and a lot more organized. We overflowed on our parking this year, which is a good and a bad thing. Getting out the proper production this year was important. Last year, we ended up basically just projection mapping the front of the barn and sticking them right in front of the gates. It was more of a glorified renegade than anything else, but still a lot of fun. We’ve got Jayson Esguerra on deck, and he runs lights and visuals for artists like G Jones, TroyBoi, and Deathpact. He’s killing it in the scene right now, and he loves to come out here. We gave him a chance to have fun with what he’s doing rather than being completely corporate about it.
S: What are some changes you want for next year?
CJ: I’m trying to give people, especially local artists that don’t get enough, an opportunity that I was looking for when I first started making music. So, I want to be able to give them a spot to throw down the performance of their dreams, you know? Solid sound, solid visuals, where everybody does their absolute best and be able to take that into the future.
S: What is your vision behind L.S.G?
CJ: The vision is…have fun. We originally started as another group, and it kind of turned into a solo thing for just production and making cool noises and I started taking it way too seriously. I wasn’t having fun anymore. It reminded me of why I got into doing this in the first place. People like Justice, Steve Aoki, The Bloody Beetroots, the whole vibe of those guys is just having fun. So that’s what we’re trying to bring back to the table is yeah, just having fun. That’s the mission statement.
A Bigfoot Farewell
Blood Klotz is a PNW-based DJ and producer who showcased his last set in WA at the festival. This is a bittersweet experience for him and his fans alike. Personally, Blood Klotz was one of the first local artist projects that really intrigued me during my baby raver days. I’ve followed him along his journey ever since. He curates these unique sets that really grasp his creative range.
Regardless of his challenges, ambition still pumps throw his veins. It’s one of the things that makes his project so special. We talked about what’s next for him.
S: Besides your move, what can we anticipate from Blood Klotz within the next year?
BK: I’m hoping to release this EP before the move, but I actually just got a text from someone about an hour ago (who I’m not supposed to name yet) asking to collab on something. I think I’m gonna send him something from the EP that’s not done yet. So, now I don’t know when it’s going to be done, because it’ll depend on their timeframe. Also, I want to start being more consistent with my singles and trying to put them out more regularly. Then, I would love to work with someone on a small tour at some point. That’s kind of the next big step. So we’ll see.
S: I know the cards you’ve been dealt lately haven’t been the best. What has been your biggest disappointment with the industry recently?
BK: People have just taken advantage of the fact that I’m not going to be here and decided that it doesn’t really matter if they treat me poorly because I’ll be moving away. So, there’s nothing I can do about it. Now, there are a lot of good people. But, in every community there’s going to be bad people and some people are just very opportunistic. I didn’t used to do as many contracts as I do now. I require a contract for every show, no matter how small it is. Just because verbal agreements haven’t come through and things like that. I was supposed to play Bass Canyon (2022) for the second year in a row, then I got removed from the lineup like a week before the festival. I already had a set prepped and everything. So yeah, that one was difficult. So that’s probably the other biggest disappointment.
BloodKlotz also expressed to me how grateful he was to have creative freedom of his project. Whether it’s a “Don’t Sleep Set,” a “Cold-Blooded Set,” or a “Double Damage Set,” he is sure to give his audience an immersive experience.
And his set at Bigfoot Campout did not disappoint: the crowd was bloodthirsty, craving his ruthless energy. His selection was solid, and his energy was passionate despite him running into drive issues right before his set.
This gut-wrenching farewell set will forever hold a place in the hearts of all his “Blood Thotz.”
The most unique thing about this festival is how the overall vibe flowed so perfectly. Every set was seamless, and it felt like the lineup was curated with the acts’ specific energies in mind. I vividly remember how impressive it was when L.S.G, Blood Klotz, and Shanghi Doom‘s sets all blended flawlessly.
It didn’t feel like people had the “let’s get this over with mentality.” Everyone bled visible passion all weekend instead. It was like these artists fed off the crowds’ energy and threw it right back at us. For example: Sharlitz Web. We, the crowd, were her food, and the tantalizing bass was her web, entangling us all in the Stomping Grounds. It was provocative and kept the people going. I didn’t know if I wanted to sit stand or dance; I was truly mesmerized.
There were so many talented creatives I met at Bigfoot Campout, and I can’t express my appreciation for everyone that made that weekend so fulfilling enough.
Everyone was in their element, cherishing every minute they could with the people they love. We got the time to heal and finally feel like we were not our problems. The physical feeling of regaining your soul’s autonomy is heavy–you are reclaiming the love you have for yourself and your art, holding on to it, and never letting go.
Never forget about your community because they will always be the ones to pick you up when you fall. Your community will bring out the best and worst parts of you, but as long as you put in the work and believe in yourself, you will become your vision.
Your power is infinite. You are worthy. Success is limitless.
(One last final thanks to Niah, Jayson, both Brayden’s, Grace, and Connor; I will never forget the gratitude and kindness I received from all of you and I can’t wait to work with you all again in the future)
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