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Festival F.O.M.O.: A Look at Camp Bisco

If the first 26 years of my life were to be organized a series of names, dates and numbers, a few choice asterisks would no doubt mark the setlist for my otherwise ordinary suburban existence. Of course, there are the precious memories,’ like the first time I lost a tooth (I cried), my Bar Mitzvah (my Mom cried) and the first time I collaborated with a member of the opposite sex (what’s this site rated again?)the personal victories (making it to New York City), the professional accomplishments (making it into a magazine) and that somewhat fuzzy middle ground between the two I often wish I had a message board of my own to make sense of each morning and then, of course, the embarrassingly geeky moments which only someone who once named all his goldfish after Grateful Dead keyboardists would truly appreciatelike, say, last spring when the Disco Biscuits surpassed Phish as the band I’ve seen the most last spring.

And, without delving into full blog-style retrospection, I’ll simply say that, shortly before the Disco Biscuits’ Highline shows last May I sent the following e-mail to Marc Brownstein and Jon Gutwillig while sitting next to my new goldfish, Little Bruce Hornsby:

Hi guys. So I don’t geek too, too much (publicly), but am pretty excited tonight, for it marks quite the life transition for me. Nope, not getting married for having another bris, but, instead, after many years, tonight the Disco Biscuits will surpass Phish as the band I’ve seen live the most amount of times, which for a dork like me is pretty music the biggest deal in my music world. I know you don’t take requests, but if my first and favorite Biscuit song, "Little Betty Boop," worked its way into your setlist tonight or this weekend, I’d no doubt bounce so high I hit the ceiling (or at least the balcony). Ah, yes it took over 7 years to work my way uptown from Wetlands to 16th St (got to love New York traffic).

Though I saw many bands many times before the Disco Biscuits and have devoted a great deal of my attention to many others since, I’m not surprised they’ve managed to absorb so much of my time and energy because, as my friend Dee is fond of saying, along with moe., String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee and a few select other great bands, they know how to use the F.O.M.O as a force.

It’s a technique invented by the Grateful Dead, perfected by Phish and Widespread Panic and wonderfully inverted by the third-generation jambands that still make headlines in our daily news section on this very site: the ability to mesh jaw dropping improvisational music with the Fear of Missing Out. In my opinion, it’s what makes the jamband scene standout from almost any other musical niche and, at the end of the day, is a primary reason fans keep coming back show after show, even if they’ve spent more holidays with a given band than, say, their family, significant other or even Facebook pages. It’s the special covers, the colorful theatrics and the rare bust outs that only seem to happen while you’re looking in another direction.

Even at a time when festivals by and large pride themselves on being open-eared and stylistically eclectic, I think it’s fare to say that the modern music gathering has taken a cue from jam-nation by firmly rooting both its visual and musical offerings in the uniqueness F.O.M.O. embodieswhether it’s Tool allowing a sit-in at Bonnaroo this summer or Radiohead playing its longest set since its club days last summer.

If mega-festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo are about sampling bits and pieces of several different types of music, mid-level festivals like 10,000 Lakes and Wakarusa are about epitomizing a region’s flavor and cozier gatherings like Gathering of the Vibes and High Sierra are about capturing a certain vibe, than Camp Bisco, moe.down and the various events held at Horning’s Hideout are about bringing together all the fans a given band has touched over past year in that slightly mushy, but always exciting Yearbook kind of way (or Summer Annuals if you collected comic books as a kid). Of course, Camp Bisco was also filled with those F.O.M.O moments, from rare new songs like “Glastonbury” and “Rockafella” to even rarer older material like “Rainbow Song” and “Sound One” to new covers of material by bedfellows like Muse to sit-ins by Disco Biscuit heroes like Simon Posford and fostered any number of musical gems (be sure to download the group’s surprise afternoon set or Posford’s rare performance with a live band).

Now, like any holiday celebration, it is sometimes difficult to separate the message from the Manishevitz, so, even though most of Camp Bisco’s best musical moments have already been analyzed for hours online, we thought we’d look back at some of the event’s best backstage moments through the eyes of longtime photographer Dave Vann. Below he presents the weekend from every angel possible, except of course what actually took place onstage, but from start to finish we feel you can feel the F.O.M.O.

Not your typical father/son bonding moment: Zach Brownstein helps his Dad Marc sign autographs

The bus stops here: Umphrey’s McGee enjoy a rare moment of rest before flying home to open for Dave Matthews Band

Can you can tell these guys live in Brooklyn now? 2008’s best band, American Babies, bond backstage.

STS9 + a few friends

Some Bisco kidz Sure have bling: Slick Rick backstage

1 for $3, 2 for $50: Lot Prices in the 21st century

Four men who love being called a jamband: Bustle in Your Hedgerow

Let’s skip the Sears trip this spring: the Brownstein family

The new Warren Haynes? Rising Festival Star Girl Talk

The Colorado Kid: Jamie Janover

SCI Remixed: EOTO

Field of Dreamz

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