2019 Emails

You get on the email list by purchasing a ticket

Email #14: meet the idiots!!!!

Camp Tipsy could not happen without the following persons:

  • SF Institute of Possibility board: Joshua, Eliot, Michelle
  • Admin, copywriter and social media: Alita Edgar
  • Build crew: Skippy, Julius, Jacob, Dan, Zolie
  • Security, gate, medical and more: Ty, High Rock
  • Our friends at the Board of Supes County of Colusa and Michael Azevedo

And I’d like to take a moment and thank bullshit. For without piles of bullshit, none of this would be possible…

— chicken

2012 | Flip Cassidy

Email #13: Culture of sign painting…

Here at Camp Tipsy we have a long, time-honored tradition of sign painting.

Signs are good for so many things. Hand painted signs will tell you things like how to get to Lake Lodoga, where you can camp, where all the fun stuff is, who is sleeping with whom and even remind you to wash yer dishes. Read them. They’re even useful sometimes.

You too can partake in sign culture. Make whatever sign you want, and put it where it needs to go. In reaction to the vapid consumerism to which we are constantly subjected, our culture of sign painting is democracy in action. Create a sign for utilitarian purpose, artistic expression, or social commentary–whatever you want. Put it wherever you want.

In the shop, we have all the essential ingredients to help you realize the sign of your dreams. Get some wood, cut it in a shape (or not), prime it, sketch with charcoal from the campfire, and paint away. It’ll dry in like ½ hour in the sun. Screw some random pieces of junk on there if you want. Now you have a sign–AMAZING! You’re Brilliant. Thank you.


2015 | Randal Alan Smith
2012 | Flip Cassidy

Email #12: What to do with trash at Tipsy and a word about leaving your “boat” here…

The definition of garbage is totally complex and a conversation that I don’t want to get into with you here. But for this event, the term is especially fuzzy. There’s trash that goes into the dumpster and then there’s building materials that are being saved from the dump and repurposed to make fun boats.

You are encouraged to bring your own boat building materials, or pull whatever you’d like from our junk yard. When you leave you can leave your building materials behind by disassembling your boat and leaving the parts in the pile or if something is super precious and you want to use it again next year, talk to someone about how it should be moved or spray paint instructions on it. We rent over an acre of land up here to keep our junk on. All we ask is that you do the work to take your boat out of the water and dismantle it.

You MUST clean your camp, the area around your camp, and the road around your camp, just to be sure. The place is pretty trashed usually when we get here and we usually have to clean more before the event then after. Because you guys are the best ever.

2015 | Randal Alan Smith

Email #11:  Boats, boat contests and boat safety 

Here at Camp Tipsy, we have a very low threshold for what a “boat” is. But there are a few things we do know…

  • Any child 12 or under needs to have a life vest (PFD, Personal Floatation Device) at all times on the water. It’s a good idea for all of us to.
  • If you are swimming and can’t see the lifeguard (that you paid for) you are too far away from the lifeguard…
  • Don’t tie your “boat” to someone else’s boat unless they’ve given you permission.
  • Don’t take someone else’s boat without asking.
  • If you are building a boat, put the tools back. Don’t be the jerkface that uses tools then just leaves them in the dirt for other people to step on. 
  • A 5 gallon bucket filled with concrete with a rebar loop in the top is a great weight anchor.
  • When unoccupied, your “boat” should be connected to something stable on land, so the wind doesn’t steal it.
  • The shore is slightly rocky, water shoes are recommended, but not necessary. 
  • Umbrellas. Parasols. Shade. You want it.
  • Swimmers have right of way. Boats serve swimmers. If your boat has a motor, and you are within 25 feet of swimmers, cut your engine off. Just turn it off. It happens so fast.
  • If you are building a boat and you need the math for floatation here it is: a cubic foot of water is 64 pounds. So for every 12″ by 12″ by 12″ of “floatation” you have you will push 64 pounds out of the water. A gallon of water is 8 pounds. So about 8 gallons is like a cubic foot. Do your math so that half of your “boat” is in the water and half is out. This will give your boat some ‘bite’ into the water. And it’s harder for people to just flip you over.
2013 | Kelly C. Gallamore
2013 | Kelly C. Gallamore

Email #10: Water Levels

It’s important that you understand that our culture is a Ponzi scheme. You know it, I know it, everyone else knows it. I’m not going to lecture you. I gained some understanding of how the world of water  works over the last few years. I could see the system. The ecology. It kinda freaked me out. It’s all so fragile.

The water in the “lake” is owned by the Orleans Water Users. The land is owned by Colusa County. The dam is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation. Rice farming. That we get to paddle around in it is nothing short of miraculous. It’s a gift. 

The water levels are currently very high, the lake is full. That may change by a little bit but not by much. 


2015 | Randal Alan Smith

Email #9: Fire, Fire Fighting and 4th of July

Fire is a paramount concern here in Colusa County. Every year fire consumes HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of acres and endangers wildlife, humans, homes and businesses and eats millions of dollars of resources. When the countryside catches fire, thick smoke is everywhere. Being in it sucks. It’s super bad for people with asthma and kids, especially.

So when we say no fireworks, we actually mean NO FIREworks. Because that’s what they do: they set the forest on fire. If you are shooting a bottle rocket off somewhere in the park and a local sees you doing it they will respond in the same way as if you were pouring gasoline on their home and lighting it. They see it the same way. The fines for using fireworks in a high fire zone like up here is astronomical.

Don’t bring fireworks. And if you want to spin fire please do so in the middle of the lake on a boat.


2015 | Randal Alan Smith

Email #8: Herons, Blackbirds, dogs and coffee

Blue Herons:
Today we are talking about the Blue Heron. A majestic creature that is astoundingly large and watching one take flight can take your breath away. Mighty creatures with mottled colors that blend into the scenery so well sometimes they are hard to see. 

The endangered Tri-colored Blackbird are also here and they are pretty rad. Their colors are jet black with a Mopar orange splat and a white pinstripe. Basicly, the bird is a Hemi. They have nests. They fly around and eat bugs and stuff. We like ’em.

We like your dog too. We think that it’s great to have dogs and go in the water and go crazy. We don’t like dog fights, though. And we don’t like dogs around forklifts. And as such we demand that your dog be tethered to your person with a lanyard. A leash.

Ritual Coffee has a coffee trailer they bring out to Camp Tipsy every year. This year they’ve upgraded to a big beautiful airstream that does super fancy coffee drinks. A barista will serve you Ritual Coffee every morning from 8 to 11. There is no charge.

2015 | Randal Alan Smith

Email #7: Tough talk: our zero tolerance predatory behavior email

You never want to have to spell this out, but it’s too important for us not to:

Any gathering of this size has the potential to attract people who do not have the best interests of others in mind. Camp Tipsy firmly practices a zero tolerance policy for predatory sexual behavior in our community. Instances of such behavior will be reported without hesitation to local law enforcement, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

A professional security team will be on duty at all times, and Bureau of Reclamation Rangers and other law enforcement will be present or on call throughout the event if they are needed. Help is always on hand.

It is our firm goal to uphold a fun, welcoming environment that keeps our community safe from sexual predators of any kind. We hope every camper will help with this, too.


So what’s meant by predatory behavior? We’ve been around it, and we know some examples and ways to stop it:

  • A guy cruising from woman to woman on an obvious agenda to score is very likely looking for an easy mark who’s too drunk to say no. If that guy knows we’re watching out for each other here, maybe he won’t bother.
  • If you see someone intoxicated who seems too out of it, keep an eye on them.
  • Always let friends know if you take off with a new acquaintance, so they know where you’re going and who you’re with. Keep an eye on your own drink, and be mindful of taking a drink from a stranger (thus our never giving alcohol policy).
  • ‘Catcalling’ after a women or complimenting her or saying anything about her body at all is predatory behavior and it’s gross and it gets you kicked out in a quick second.

We ask that you report all inappropriate or criminal sexual behavior to a member of the crew right away. You can find us in the shops and crew kitchen area. 


While we place responsibility for criminal sexual actions firmly on those who perpetrate them, we also know a little awareness goes a long way. It’s definitely ok to speak up if something is “off” in any social situation. This is the best way for us to keep each other safe.

2015 | Randal Alan Smith


Kids are fun to hang out with, and everyone knows camping and playing with boats and swimming is family friendly stuff- it’s probably no surprise that we say we want to keep it that way at Camp Tipsy. We ask everyone’s help to make sure Camp Tipsy is a place where families feel at home.

If you would like to have an adult beverage, please just be responsible and mindful and not trashed  (kids or no kids, no one wants to babysit you so you don’t drown). Don’t make Camp Tipsy about booze, make it about being in a beautiful spot with fun and amazing people failing to make decent boats.

Smoking cigarettes (or anything else) in front of children is dumb.  Inappropriate verbiage, stories about that time at the B&D club and or whatever is just not cool around kids.  You’re adults, be understanding in the way you act around families. Kids are super cool. Go play on the slip and slide and see for yourself!

If you are bringing kids: We do have security/first aid staff on site, but lifeguards will only be on duty in specific, marked areas. Kids are totally welcome to work on boats in the Camp Tipsy shop, just please supervise them (especially with power tools!!!) and watch out for nails and splinters and stuff (don’t forget to bring kid sized work gloves). And, please, don’t go in the water at night.

We want kids at Camp Tipsy, because kids at Camp Tipsy are the people like you of the future, and we like people like you

2015 | Randal Alan Smith

Email #5: Boats & Boat Contest 


Not everyone builds boats. You don’t have to, the event will still be super fun. However, people always enjoy Tipsy a lot more when they work on a boat. We totally recommend coming on Tuesday or Wednesday so you can get more time making and playing on boats. Whether you have experience with power tools or not (we do power tool how-to workshops!) you can build a boat.

What you can’t do is pollute the lake. Duh. If you are building out of Styrofoam, you have to control the stuff so it doesn’t ‘weep’ into the lake. Use giant plastic ‘Saran Wrap’ … you can buy it from Grainger. Barrels and buckets can create ecological hazards too. We have tons of barrels and buckets available, and you’re welcome to bring more. Some years we run out.  Be mindful of what the barrels or buckets have had in them. We’ve seen people get awful chemical burns from barrels that leaked nasty stuff. Anything that goes in the water, comes out of the water.

Get creative or technical (or both). Plan in advance or get inspired by the junk pile. Build a ‘boat’!

The Boat Contest is on Saturday at 2.

Select one category to compete in. Submit the name of the vessel, the name of the build team, a sponsor and communicate what music you would like to be played when you compete (bring a thumb drive of your song, or select from our list). Once you have registered, you are allocated a category and a number. Easy. When your category is up, you compete in sequential order. The list of categories below is not complete and can change, but the thing that will NOT change is that KIDS CATEGORY goes first, LEAST EFFORT goes last (Least Effort is our top prize). 

Entries that had a “performance element” seem to do much better than boats that just showcased ineptitude in building.

CATEGORIES: (in ascending order)

  • Sheriff of Kidstown—This award goes to the kids category (for little kids). Whoever wins gets to be the Sheriff of Kidstown for the rest of the afternoon.
  • Boat most likely to kill pilot
  • Boat most likely to get pilot laid
  • Unnecessary use of materials
  • Least comfortable
  • Art fag award for high concept
  • Boat least like a boat
  • Boat most likely to sink, but doesn’t
  • Worst implementation
  • Worst design
  • Worst idea
  • Best I can do
  • Least effort

The awards are handmade pieces of art skillfully decorated and suitable for display in your closet.

2013 | Kelly C. Gallamore
2012 | Scot Kuiper
2013 | Kelly C. Gallamore

Email # 4: Entertainment at Camp Tipsy

Camp Tipsy creates many magical moments, this is undeniable. One of the reasons for these magic moments is our artists who work tirelessly to entertain, confound, astound and serenade you. This year we have a world class entertainment line up. But first, a few words about noise at Tipsy:

There is no amplified sound at tipsy. You can’t bring your DJ rig and set it up in your camp. We will throw it in the lake. You can’t blast music from your car stereo and leave the doors open and then ask someone to come jump start your car. This is a camping trip. This is not a good place to get exposure so you can quit your job and be a DJ like you’ve always dreamed of since you were 30… we don’t care. We don’t want to hear it. You have shitty taste in music anyway, just like me.

Bring a guitar, a flute or a sax, we love impromptu jam sessions! 

And now, our schedule of performances for Camp Tipsy 2019!!!!

  • Tuesday night is “Crew Night”
    Our staff and volunteers (who have been building Tipsy for weeks) will take the stage and start the 2019 season with a variety of acts. Hidden talents are revealed! Chicken John has committed to performing something he hasn’t done in over 20 years
  • Wednesday night: Brian Kenny Fresno
    You’re going to lose it when you see him wailing on his 37 string Warr guitar. We aren’t sure, he may be a mad man- he was certainly a favorite at the Odeon Bar. We love his music and comic embrace of life.
  • Thursday night: Goth Camping (whatever that is):
    The Friction Quartet
    Dr. Hal Robins
    DJ Berlin Lagousi
    The Friction Quartet plays haunting renditions of popular songs plus a variety of their own compositions. Dr. Hal will read some epic poetry as the sun goes down and DJ Berlin will bring the house down with his 80’s goth magic. Goth makeovers by Polly Superstar and Jessica Berlin.
  • Friday night: Trio Paz
    Our favorite Camp Tipsy tradition: Flamenco by firelight. The thrumming guitars, dancing and stomping are breathtakingly powerful- the best and easiest way to define the phenomenon of DUENDE. The right sound system, a moonlit night, a giant fire and being surrounded by friends in a safe place: this is what some of our warmest memories are made of.
  • Saturday: Boat Contest, Asher Belsky Band, Junk Parlor, Another Man out the Window, Mosslords, Kate Willett & Sean Hayes
    Our main event: The Boat Contest. Dozens of idiots compete for valueless prizes in a spectacle that is so absurd it bends the very confines of reality itself! Seeing the creations that these un-qualified fungineers come up with will make you cheer and sing! It’s 14 categories, 100 boats and there can only be one true winner in our toughest contest category: Least Effort. Don’t miss it!

    Saturday afternoon after the boat contest we have the Asher Belsky Band. Teenagers playing blues and rhythm on the stage facing out toward the water!

    Saturday night on our main stage starts out with Junk Parlor, kinda gypsy/jazz bummer pop with great vocals. Local Bay Area favorite band. Then up it’s a kid prog rock band from the Rock Band Land organization. Then Jascha Eiphram and his Moss Lords. Expect a synth funk freak out dance your ass off kinda experience. Kate Willett then blesses our stage right off her taping for Colbert! Go Kate! Her brand of feminist/realest humor is biting, stinging and hysterical. Then our headliner this year: Sean Hayes! We can’t believe how lucky were were to have booked him. Expect to be hypnotized by his magic and the full moon…

And for the kiddos…

  1. The Kids Town Stage is full of possibility. Mystery awaits!

For kids of all ages. Magic, crafts and storytelling. Sunday is fun in the water. Please have kids ready for action (sunblock, floaties etc…) This is a parent/kid thing, this is NOT a drop kid off thing. We value and encourage parent participation

2015 | Randal Alan Smith
2015 | Randal Alan Smith

Email #3 Camping, parking, toilets and trash

Lake Lodoga/East Park Reservoir is a primitive camping area with multiple group-site style camping areas around the water’s edge. Please camp within the designated area, in accordance with our permit.

Kids and families are invited to camp with each other in an area called Kid Town, which has a 10 PM noise curfew so the littles can sleep.

Other than this there are *no reserved campsites* and no noise curfews. Talk to prospective neighbors before you set up, and if they have friends arriving later, try to work it out. Please don’t rope off space for later arrivals. Early birds get the flattest spots.

The park has vault toilets, and we bring in more porta potties as well. Don’t put trash in them. Please close the lids when you’re done with your business, nothing in them but toilet paper and please if you are going to use your own paper use single ply. Bunch it up as much as you want but single ply pretty please.

We contract with Cook Disposal for a dumpster. Put your garbage in it. Boom.

Email #2:     How to get to Camp Tipsy and . . .

You get to Camp Tipsy by taking Interstate 5 north to Maxwell, California.

Take Maxwell road west 9 miles. The road will ‘T’.

Take the right option (left dead ends in 300 feet). This is Sites Lodoga road. Take it for 12 miles over the pass.

You will see a store: Squaw Creek Inn. The entrance to East Park Reservoir is a few hundred feet past this store, on your right. The Camp Tipsy gate is quite a ways down Campground Road road, you’ll see signs. The speed limit on the roads in the park are 5 mph. Here is a map link, but be sure to follow the directions above.


If you are driving an RV, large van, or a car that tends to overheat, DO NOT take the route through Maxwell. Instead, continue north on I-5 to Willows and approach Tipsy from the north, LIKE THIS.

There are no other ways to go. Some maps will show you how to take a “shortcut” using route 20 through Williams. Adds 3 hours, dirt road.

The town of Stonyford is nearby. You might want to go visit their store. Say hello to Trish.


But there are also campsites there. On the other side of the lake. The West side of the lake. You are welcome to go there. We’ll be over here. On this side of the lake. The East side of the lake.

What to bring to Camp Tipsy:

  • A tent
  • Food
  • Water
  • A flashlight/headlamp
  • Your medicine
  • A floaty thing
  • A towel
  • Swimsuit
  • Sweatshirt for nights
  • Water bottle
  • Stuff to eat out of/with
  • A garbage plan/bags
  • A ukulele
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Umbrella (for sensitive skin persons)
  • Earplugs (for snoring neighbors)
  • Water shoes/flipflops
  • Cup for coffee
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • A good attitude
  • Desire to have fun and meet cool people
  • Pile of bullshit

Email #1:     What is camp tipsy?

Camp Tipsy is a camping event that occurs annually about 135 miles north of San Francisco on or around the full moon. This year, the event is from June 20th to June 23rd but you are invited to show up as early and stay late.

This will be the 14th Camp Tipsy.

Camp Tipsy’s focus is on boats, mostly building them out of odd materials (usually sourced for free), getting on them and laughing as they sink. We found that all sorts of people love to build boats, including kids and they are quite good at it! We provide a junkyard full of boat building materials and a shop with tools and shop stewards. We advise you to bring your own work gloves (for the kids too) and drills and/or impact drivers.

There are also performances on each day of Tipsy just after dark on our main stage. More on that in Email #4 (or visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/camp-tipsy-2019-tickets-49611250586).

There are kids shows during the day with mermaids and pirates.

There are no services at Camp Tipsy. No electric, water or stores in the park. Nothing to buy, and you may not sell anything. There are dumpsters for garbage, and there are portable toilets for your use. The nearest store is just outside the park. There’s free coffee every morning.

The weather at Camp Tipsy is mild: hot during the day and usually still and warm at night.

Camp Tipsy provides lifeguards (during the day), security, medical care, places to camp and world class entertainment. You will need to bring food, water, a tent, a good attitude and some marshmallows for the fire. 🙂

Camp Tipsy 2019 is right around the corner and you will receive about one email a day until then. All emails will include all previous emails so people who buy tickets later still have all the information. Please read all of it, it will increase how much fun you have by a few thousand percent. Print it out or save it on your phone and make someone read it aloud on your drive up.


2013 | Kelly C. Gallamore
2012 | Flip Cassidy