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Sustain-Release Festival Was the Ultimate Techno Summer Camp

And we've got a letter from a techno camper to prove it.
The entrance of the summer camp that hosted this year's Sustain-Release festival

Last weekend marked the first edition of Sustain-Release, an experimental music festival founded by two of Brooklyn's reigning nightlife queens, Aurora Halal (Mutual Dreaming) and Zara Wladawsky (halcyon, NTS, Underground Quality). The lineup delivered plenty of hard-hitting techno crushers: Ital, Rrose, Mike Servito and the Bunker crew, Joey Anderson and Xosar all performed. And since it was held in an actual summer camp for kids in New York's Catskill mountains, the festival also housed amenities like heated pools, a lake, a yoga studio and shared cabins for all guests.


The festival's actual hand-drawn map 

In other words, Sustain-Release was the ultimate techno summer camp for club rats—where the dancefloor was actually in the gym, the afterparties moved over to the basketball courts, and the stars of the Milky Way outside rivaled the LED lights indoors. To commemorate this very special music festival, we imagined what a letter from one imaginary camper would look like.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for sending me to techno summer camp, I am having a swell time and my eczema hasn't flared up once!!!

When you put me on the bus, I was really scared. I thought about what would happen if something went wrong and I was stuck in the woods with hundreds of kids (and maybe some bears). What if they don't like me? What if they like big room? Ew. But when I got to Camp Sustain-Release and saw the lake and the volleyball courts and the yoga studio and the heated pools and the no bears, I knew this would be one of the best adventures of my life. Also, that this must normally be a camp for really rich kids.

First I went to check out our cabins. My cabin has ten kids from Brooklyn, one guy from Montreal and a girl who doesn't say much, but loves doing tantric yoga by herself in a corner of the dancefloor. Everyone is really nice and ridiculously friendly. I forgot my glowsticks and the guy on the bottom bunk even let me borrow his!

On the first night I went to the Bossa Nova Civic Club stage which is actually in the small gym. It's painted all white and felt like a church, but with way more crazy lasers and strangers making out and a little bit less Jesus. Everyone was smiling like crazy and dancing to DJs from The Bunker like Mike Servito, Byan Kasenic and Clay Wilson. You know who those are, right, Mom?


Some people were eating barbeque chips from the bar but most people said their jaws hurt too much. Musta been from all the candy Stinky Pete snuck in! I struck up a conversation with one of the very serious techno nerds next to the DJ booth. But he threatened to throw me in the lake when I said that PC Music is the future of electronic music, so I ran away and found an afterparty on the basketball courts. Have you ever danced under the stars to deep house while shooting hoops? I highly recommend it.

At night it gets really, really cold. I am wearing all of the clothes I packed at the same time and I keep forgetting to change my underwear. Oh well. On Saturday the bonfire and pool party got cancelled because it was raining too much, but we jumped in the pool anyway and when we came out we were all wrinkly :) Then I went to the cafeteria and ate more burritos than everyone else and now my tummy feels weird.

(Via sstrjm Instagram)

On Saturday I went to the main stage which is in the big gym. There was a gigantic wall of lights and DJs like Ital, Rrose, Joey Anderson and Xosar played hours of non-stop techno. At 6am, everyone took their sleeping bags to the lake and built a bonfire while watching the sunrise. This one annoying guy kept asking me to marry him while playing Tiesto's In Search of Sunrise on his phone, so we lied and told him the after-afterparty was in the tool shed.

I can't believe it's over and we have to get back on the bus home. I'm feeling so sad and happy at the same time. I can't wait to come back next year. Now I've got to go plunge a toilet. Bye!


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