The first-ever Lost Lake Festival is on the books. And it was one helluva weekend.
Superfly's three-day arts and music event took over central Phoenix's Steele Indian School Park from October 20 through 22, and brought heavy-hitting headliners Chance the Rapper, The Killers, and Odesza, as well as a number of musical acts with ties to Arizona, including Kongos, Futuristic, Bogan Via, and The Ricky Fitts.
Here's a look back at the highs and lows of the 2017 Lost Lake Festival.
High: Location, Location, Location
Whoever thought this park was a primo festival stop deserves a raise. It's a lovely setting: the huge hill overlooking the grounds, the rings of purple-lit trees lining the lakes, the families of ducks swimming around oblivious to the racket happening in the distance, the cool grass to lay on. It's an environment that begs to be explored, and wandering around the park grounds helps cut down on the monotony of waiting between acts. Ashley Naftule
Low: Throwing Shade
Look. We are down for sunshine ... in reasonable doses. But highs were in the low 90s over the weekend, the sky was mostly clear, and it was, as The Ricky Fitts' singer Elliot James succinctly put it during the band's Saturday afternoon set, "fucking hot." A few more shade structures within viewing distance of the three stages would've been way helpful for fans who showed up when gates opened — and sweated through the daytime performances. Becky Bartkowski
High: Kongos' Lost Leaf Shout-Out
Despite growing up in both South Africa and London, the members of rock band Kongos still consider the Valley their hometown. The subject came up a couple of times during the band's Saturday afternoon set at Lost Lake, including when frontman Dylan Kongos noted, “It’s good to be home.”
Resale Concert Tickets
He also gave a major shoutout to The Lost Leaf, the Roosevelt Row bar and venue where Kongos performed quite regularly a decade ago, back when they were just a local band. Before performing the song, “I Don’t Know,” Dylan mentioned how the spot played a role in its creation. “It's about not knowing things that you think you know,” he said. “And it was written after spending many nights inebriated at another 'lost' place, The Lost Leaf.” Benjamin Leatherman
Low: The Dust
If you've done any time in Indio for Coachella, you know about the dreaded coughing and snottiness that follows a weekend music fest in the desert. It's an affliction called "Coachella lung." If our post-Lost Lake sneezing (and all the dust we saw kicked up over the weekend) is any indication, this festival is primed to result in similar side effects. Lost Lake lung has landed, people. Bring your SARS masks and bandannas next round. B.B.
High: Getting Around
The organization of this festival is really on point, especially compared to FORM and McDowell Mountain Music Fest. Security personnel weren't super invasive at check-in, the people working the information desk actually knew what the hell was going on, and the festival grounds were laid out in a way that makes sense. A.N.
High: Nightly Lake Pyro
One of the more impressive sights to be seen at Lost Lake didn’t take place on any of its stages. Instead, it happened on the massive pond in the center of Steele Indian School Park, which was lit up in spectacular fashion during various pyrotechnic displays.
Every hour after sunset, a variety of metallic lily pads scattered around the pond shot towering jets of flame that glowed in the darkness and transformed things into a virtual lake of fire. The choreographed pyro was set to music, ranging from a dubstep remix of Vivaldi to hard rock anthems by Metallica.
The fiery spectacle, which was created by local company Walter Productions, took some attendees by surprise after debuting on Friday night. By Sunday, however, it was one of the more talked-about and popular attractions at Lost Lake. Some folks got amped after each one, including one cat who channeled his inner Beavis during a display set to Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.” He even gushed, “Who doesn’t love Rage Against the Machine and fire? Fuck yeah!” B.L.
The macaroni and cheese at The Pig Rig stand was basically $8 Velveeta. A.N.
High: Sunday's Rap Sets
Danny Brown and Run The Jewels made a killer one-two rap punch on the Camelback stage. And both came on to swaggering classic rock tracks: Brown with "Iron Man" and RTJ with "We Are The Champions." A.N.
Low: WTF, Bro
Hey bros, we know you're used to every space you enter conforming to your whims and wishes. But your bullshit's not cute — especially around people who come to art and music festivals to engage with art and music. Nobody enjoys being harassed. Nobody likes when you shove your way past. Nobody likes when you stand directly in front of them — even as a joke. Y'all don't know how to act, despite the fact that we literally gave you guidelines on how to behave at a music festival. We know you don't participate in a lot of cultural activities (it's painfully obvious, tbh) and since this massive a festival is a new thing for Phoenix, we'll let you in on a secret: People didn't come to Lost Lake to entertain your assholery. Fucking chill out and shut up. Thank you so much. B.B.
High: Muna’s cover of “Edge of Seventeen”
A lot of bands do Fleetwood Mac covers. But not all bands do them justice. All-female electronic pop band Muna, however, offered a stellar version of the 1981 song during their set on Friday afternoon. Bravo. B.L.
High: Like, All the Headliners
Seriously. Each night of Lost Lake wrapped with a must-see set at the Camelback stage. Chance the Rapper closed out Friday. The Killers rained down confetti on Saturday. And Odesza brought it home Sunday. What a weekend. B.B.
High: The FOUND Marketplace
Let’s face it, any high-profile music festival is bound to have plenty of corporate-sponsored stuff in the mix. Such was the case at Lost Lake, which was dotted with bars, booths, and attractions associated with Miller Lite, State Farm, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and Pedialyte, just to name a few.
The festival also had a yin to match its corporate-branded yang, however: the FOUND marketplace near the entrance. It was populated by an array of groups, businesses, and artists from around the Valley, many of which were selected and curated by local PR guru Stacey Champion.
Nonprofit organizations like one•n•ten and Mi Familia Vota had booths alongside such mom-and-pop companies as Keep It Wild, Mer•made jewelry, and Quick & Deadly Urban Art. The improv comedians of the Torch Theatre put on performances at their booth, while artists like Douglas Miles and Banding Hendrix displayed and sold work. It was a nice touch and a welcome sight. B.L.
Low: Pickle Rick Tatts
The number of Pickle Rick tattoos sighted on the festival grounds? Four. Would it kill someone to get a Birdperson tattoo, or show Lincler some love? A.N.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
High: The Murals
There was something for everyone, including art lovers, at Lost Lake. And one of the most coolest spots in the festival was the cluster of large-scale murals smack-dab in the middle of the park. A trio of three-sided wooden structures served as canvases for nine local artists — including JB Snyder, Lisa Von Hoffner, Clay Halling, and Jeff Slim — to create epic murals throughout the weekend. The results were fantastic, and they made for a popular photo op spot throughout the weekend. B.L.
High: All the Trash Cans
Music festivals are oftentimes messy affairs filled with detritus and refuse, particularly by the time things wrap up. Not so at Lost Lake, thanks to an overwhelming amount of receptacles (both for trash, recyclables, and compost) located throughout Steele Indian School Park. The festival staff, many of whom cruised around the place in motorized carts, were pretty darn diligent about maintaining things and collecting trash regularly. The result? Everything felt neat and tidy. B.L.
Low: Lazy Litterbugs
Seriously, y’all? There were and bins pretty much everywhere, which meant there was no excuse for your lazy ass to just toss your food wrappers, cans, or free Pedialyte samples on the ground. Jerks. B.L.