Culture News

What to Expect at Lost Lake Festival's Lost Playground Gaming Experience

Rendering for part of The Lost Playground, being created by Walter Productions of Scottsdale.
Rendering for part of The Lost Playground, being created by Walter Productions of Scottsdale.
Besides big-name music acts like The Killers and Chance the Rapper, Lost Lake Festival will include a large-scale gaming experience called The Lost Playground. It’s a creative take on nostalgic games like Twister and Jenga created by Scottsdale's Walter Productions.

And we've finally got details about what it'll look like.

The inaugural festival is happening Friday through Sunday, October 20 through October 22, at Steele Indian School Park.

It’s produced by New York-based Superfly, which was founded in 1996 to promote brand identity through curated cultural experiences. Superfly’s most iconic event is the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee, a four-day event launched in 2002.

The Lost Lake Festival will include more than 40 musical acts, food and drink, and a marketplace featuring work by Southwest makers.

Walter Productions has been involved in the music festival circuit for years, including the weeklong Burning Man festival that happens each year in the northern Nevada desert.

Walter is also a staple of the local arts scene, where its supersized, souped-up art cars make regular appearances at Art Detour, the Grand Avenue Festival, and other gatherings.

The Lost Playground is their latest creation for Superfly.

“We’re excited about working with Superfly for the Lost Lake Festival,” says Jeremy Watson, vice president of creative development for Walter Productions. “It’s going to have so much creative energy, love, and heart.”

Watson developed the The Lost Playground concept.

“We know there was a playground on the site,” he says of Steele Indian School Park. From 1891 to 1990, the site was home to the Phoenix Indian School.

But Watson was also inspired by his own childhood memories of playing games while growing up in Tempe. “So many of us played games as a kid,” Watson says. “I wanted to reimagine them and give them a different spin.”

click to enlarge Rendering for part of The Lost Playground for the Lost Lake Festival in October. - SUPERFLY
Rendering for part of The Lost Playground for the Lost Lake Festival in October.
That’s just what Walter Productions is doing for Lost Lake.

More than 10 custom-designed games will be placed around the park and inside a special gaming area. At night, the games will glow with colorful LED lights and glow-in-the-dark features.

Here’s a sampling of The Lost Playground offerings:

Giant Pool Table: Players roll bowling balls, billiards-style, into the pockets of a 56-foot-long pool table.

LED Table Tennis: Players use a large-scale electric table with LED lights that respond to the touch of the tennis ball.

Mega Twister: Players vie for spaces on a big Twister game board outfitted with lights, sound, and a giant spinner.

Colossal Croquet: Players chase croquet balls through hoops while making their way through a massive croquet course.

Other large-scale, illuminated games will include Life-Size Connect 4, Humongous Cornhole, Jumbo Jenga, Gigantic Ladder Golf, Giant Foosball, and Extra-Large Bocce Ball.

In general, the games are created using a 4:1 scale, but Watson says some will be even larger.

“We’re in the design phase now,” Watson says. That means pulling together materials such as wood, metal, plastic, and foam.

Building is happening at the Walter Dome in Scottsdale, where Walter Productions also operates the Walter Art Gallery and a craft brewery.

Walter Dome is a full-time maker space, where professionals and volunteers ranging from artists to hackers/engineers work on various projects.

“We’re all about second chances, grand scale, and inclusion,” Watson says of the work.

He’s especially eager to watch people experience The Lost Playground in October. “Something wonderful happens when people see these large-scale creations,” he says. “They really reconnect with an inner sense of joy and wonder.”

Although Walter Productions is revealing some details about The Lost Playground ahead of the Lost Lake Festival, Watson is keen on keeping the element of surprise for gamers. “It has elements built into it that have to be discovered by intentionality, like trap doors,” Watson says.

Building the games is great fun, Watson says. But he’s especially pleased about getting to create them for his own hometown.

“I’ve traveled with creative work to national and international events all over the place,” he says. “I’m so excited to have this caliber of event happening in Phoenix, and to be part of making that happen.”

Lost Lake Festival takes place at Steele Indian School Park from October 20 through 22. For more information, see the Lost Lake Festival website.