Words by: Sam Jackson
Sunset Campout first appeared on my radar last year, when a good friend and avid raver from the glory days suggested that I come down from Portland, Oregon and check it out. Logistics didn’t pan out and I had to pass. Now some noise is being made about this year’s lineup, and I’ve come to find out that some of my good friends from the Portland house scene are being given billings alongside genre defining acts like Larry Heard and Akufen. In short, this is a formula for success- highlighting some of the best of what America has in the way of underground classic house talent while bringing in a carefully culled assortment of A-List performers.
Upon moving to Portland from New York City, I was surprised to find a city that is slowly turning into a unique incubator for house talent. While the outgoing public has next-to-no interest in EDM, house parties and private shows are enabling unique acts to develop while largely isolated from the pressures of global fads in club culture. Steve Summers, or Jason as I know him, lived in Portland around the time that I first moved here from NYC. I met him at a ‘baby rave’; basically a bedroom party with a lot of hardware and a fog machine. I couldn’t believe the quality of his output- the ‘classic house’ revival has been chugging along for a couple years, but this was played live with a raw energy that is unimpeachably authentic. Only later did I learn that he was releasing records on Clone Records (the great Dutch overseers of cultivated jams). Likewise Miracles Club have been holding it down in Portland for a couple of years with a psychedelic take on the house genre that is at once an homage to the originators, and also a journey into an alternate history where the lines between psychedelic rock and disco were never drawn in the sand. It was exciting to see them pick up European tour dates earlier this year; going as far abroad as Moscow enables them to test their music with a much broader audience. I can’t wait to see the ripples these artists cause as they leave their intimate environs and amass momentum.
Apart from the music, I will say that I am very excited to spend three summer days in the Campout’s gorgeous setting on the river. I can only imagine that it will match the kind of fun I had in summer camp- except this time there will be no bullies, and hopefully no need for counseling, and instead I’ll just be getting down in the woods with a cluster of like-minded music lovers.
Justin Martin Sunset Campout 2009