Inaugral Lost Lake Festival a Huge Success

Inaugral Lost Lake Festival a Huge Success

The first ever Lost Lake Festival did not at all feel like an inaugural event. It had the nuance in detail – and scale – of a much more established event. But that’s not much of a surprise when you take into account that the festival was put on by Superfly, the same people that run Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. With major headlining acts like Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, ODESZA, and The Killers it’s no surprise that the three-day event pulled in a crowd of 45,000 people.

Superfly packed so much arts, food, and other local culture into the festival to go along with the music that I wish it was longer than the three days just so I could experience it all. From the Brewpark with its craft beers and the Lost Playground with its oversized games to the Lava Pits with its BBQ pits and Phoenix Flavors with its eats provided by local favorite restaurants… there was just so much to do and not enough time to do it. Especially when you wanted to catch the magnificent lineup of artists that Superfly booked for the event. Here are some of the highlights from Lost Lake Festival.

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A giant pool table at the Lost Playground // Photo: William Hollander

On Friday the 20th – the first night of the event – fellow Mix writer (and my new wife) Shannon arrived around 7:00. We were there just in time to catch HAIM on the main Camelback stage. The three sisters rocked their unique brand of indie and did a really cool cover of Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”

Next up was Pixies at the Piestewa stage. Yes, it’s Pixies and not The Pixies. We squeezed our way to the front and got to watch them rock the way only some grunge gods can. And in the spirit of that, they didn’t way a word their entire set. It made for a sort of surreal experience – one that was all about the music. Us here at Mix, even though Pixies are about as far from EDM as it gets (minus, say, classical music), can get behind that. Near the end of their set they did “Where is My Mind” and had the whole audience singing along before they took their bows and just walked off the stage. Then it was time for Chance.

Chance the Rapper knows how to work a crowd. He joked around with us, asking who here was a Chance the Rapper fan. When the whole crowd screamed he said, “no, who here is a real Chance the Rapper fan?” That got a laugh and more cheers. He carried his set past the 11 o’clock sound curfew and got cut off before he could play “All Night”, one of his biggest tracks. The lights came up and that concluded our first night of the Lost Lake Festival.

We started out our Lost Lake Festival Saturday at the Echo Stage at the back of the festival grounds to watch Tritonal. The duo really got the crowd dancing like crazy with their strong beats, even in the heat of the Arizona sun. They were the perfect way for us to get the Saturday going.

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Tritonal at Echo Stage, Lost Lake Festival // Photo: William Hollander

We then got a little bit of time to wander the festival grounds while Huey Lewis and the News played the Camelback stage. We grabbed some dinner and headed over to catch my personal favorite Huey Lewis song, “Power of Love”. The Roots were going to play at that stage next, so we worked our way to the front of the crowd to catch their set.

The Roots are an iconic band, and seeing them live affirmed why. They put on a fun show and each of the musicians got the opportunity to showcase just how talented they are. At one point Jeremy Ellis, the beat box player for The Roots, got a five-minute solo… and he rocked. Hard. What he was able to do live, right on the beat box, was more nuanced and intricate than many EDM artists are able to achieve even in the studio. I love Asadi, but Ellis made him look like an amateur.

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Jeremy Ellis of the Roots, Lost Lake Festival // Photo: William Hollander

After The Roots finished their set we had a tough decision to make: work our way on over to the Echo stage to see Lil Jon put on a DJ set or stay where we were right in the front row against the barricade for The Killers, who were up next at Camelback. Considering The Killers are my favorite all time band, the choice was obvious. We set up shop and waited. The waiting seemed to go on forever. Then the lights went down and the screaming started.

The Killers, well, killed it. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. There is so much I could say about their set that it would have to be its own article, so I’ll give you this: Killers front man Brandon Flowers strutted out onto the stage in a hot pink blazer that only he could pull off. They played all the hits. They took us to church with the gospel-esque choir of “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” sung at the end of “All These Things That I’ve Done.” And, of course, they saved their biggest hit “Mr. Brightside” for the encore. It was a transcendent experience, finally seeing that song – one of my favorite ever – performed live. Especially after waiting 13 years. It may have been my personal highlight from Lost Lake Festival.

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The Killers at Camelback Stage, Lost Lake Festival // Photo: William Hollander

After that we thought it was time to go home and get ready for Sunday’s epic finale. We were wrong. We got hit up by Shannon’s sister: she had two spare tickets to that night’s after party… DJ’d by Lil Jon. How could we say no? We couldn’t. He was awesome and kept everyone dancing, throwing in a few of his signature “yey-yeahs” throughout. We were not let down.

Sunday at Lost Lake Festival was going to be a big day for us. It was, as I called to it, “the EDM day.” We had Snakehips, Big Gigantic, Major Lazer, and ODESZA. I know, right? We started the day with Snakehips at the Piestewa stage and he got us dancing in the tight-packed crowd. He was awesome.

Next up at the same stage was Big Gigantic. They blew me away and I think kind of stole the day. They came out and mixed their DJing with live saxophone and drums. The sun set over their performance and their music was perfect for dancing our way into the night. I can’t wait for them to come back around here so I can see them again.

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Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic, Lost Lake Festival // Photo: William Hollander

Run the Jewels was up at the Camelback stage. We considered going over to see them, but decided we’d stay at Piestewa so we’d get into a good spot for Major Lazer. Because, Diplo, you know?

They came onto the stage to a ton of screams. They shot confetti into the crowd and had dancers on the stage with them. The music was pounding, as you’d expect, and everyone was jumping like crazy. Diplo fed on their energy and got into a big blow up ball and ran out over the crowd in it. At one point someone handed me some kaleidoscope glasses that I wore for a few minutes that were then promptly stolen from me by someone else. Overall, Diplo was awesome and we walked away with our ears pounding from his loud beats. It was time for ODESZA now, and we were really excited.

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Dilpo rolling on the crowd at Piestewa Stage, Lost Lake Festival // Photo: William Hollander

ODESZA was up at the Camelback stage. The duo brought a whole band with them to bring their music to life – including a brass section and a six-piece drumline. The put on an epic show that kept us dancing throughout amidst the massive crowd. They didn’t talk much through the set, but let the music do the talking for them. That really let us get our groove on. At one point I saw someone wandering through the crowd wearing a Deadmau5 helmet, which was fun to see at the festival. ODESZA ended the night with a bang of confetti flying out over the crowd.

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ODESZA at Camelback Stage, Lost Lake Festival // Photo: William Hollander

We went home exhausted, knowing we were going to hurt the next day at work. But it was totally worth it. The festival was amazing, one of the best I’ve ever been to. I seriously cannot wait to see what next year’s Lost Lake Festival will bring us.