Lost Lake Music Festival. Photo by Nikole Tower

Lost Lake Festival Day One: Lost in the Valley of the Sun

Written by Nikole Tower Category: Music Issue: October 2017
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The first day of the Lost Lake Festival kicked off on Friday afternoon. The crowd was slow to trickle in, but by the time the sun was going down the park was swarming with people dressed in Coachella-inspired garb. Lost Lake proved to be much more than a concert line up. Superfly, the organizers of this event, welcomed local chefs, artists and shop owners to contribute in the experience of getting “lost in the Valley of the sun.”

Arriving soon after doors opened, the lack of a crowd made me suspicious. Though, at least it gave me the chance to explore the grounds without having to weave my way through masses of people. The park is a bit of an optical illusion at first – you think you’ve seen it all and then you turn a corner and there’s a whole section that you missed. There are three main stages along with a marketplace, dozens of food vendors, a supersized playground and live painting by three local artists.

Colossal Croquet. Photo by Nikole Tower

I got my bearings on the festival’s layout for the first couple of hours. The playground and brewpark feature colossal croquet, humongous cornhole, "Big Ass Billiards," jumbo Jenga, LED table tennis and more. The swings were replaced with hammocks as the rest of the kids playground was blocked off by colorful fabrics. As soon as one person started playing, others would join and before you know it there’s a crowd of people playing pool with bowling balls.

Luna Aura. Photo bia Nikole Tower

The first act I saw of the day was Luna Aura at the Echo Stage. She delivered a set full of electro-pop tunes. The crowd might not have been big as organized had hoped, but they were a passionate bunch. A father and daughter danced around the back while others lined against the barricade.

JB Snyder. Photo by Nikole Tower

There will be three artists live painting on each day. Each have a unique style that you may recognize. For instance, JB Snyder’s geometric murals have a few spots they call home in Downtown Phoenix. Clay Halling and David Bessent were the two other artists of the day. There were also chalk boards inviting people to write about what makes Arizona great.

Johnnyswim. Photo by Nikole Tower

Johnnyswim was the first duo I saw take the Piestewa Stage. A stage that I heard many people trying to pronounce (it's "pie-ESS-tuh-wah" by the way). Johnnyswim in a singer-songwriter Nashville duo. They were all smiles during their early evening set and interacted with the crowd a lot. The smell of some of the local food vendors was being wafted toward the stage. One concert-goer, Amanda Sudano Ramirez, admits, “I smell noodles and to be honest it’s quite distracting.” (I recommend the teriyaki chicken noodles from Island Noodles.)

Lost Lake. Photo by Nikole Tower

The rest of the night flew by because set after set was delivered by more well-known bands and they attracted thousands. Broods kicked off the evening at the Camelback Stage, with a disappointing mention that they don’t know when they’ll be making more music and Lost Lake was their last show for the year. They threw all their energy into the set, and the fans couldn’t get enough.

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Haim was next to step onto the Camelback Stage. It was the first time they’ve been to Arizona since the release of their latest album so their set featured a lot of new material. The three sisters were talkative with each other and the crowd. The highlight of their set though may have been their Shania Twain cover of “That Don’t Impress Me Much” which got everyone singing, Haim fan or not.

I missed Ludacris over at the Echo Stage to finish watch Haim and then I headed over to see Pixies at the Piestewa Stage. I was surprised to see that the audience was on the smaller side. It wasn’t until they performed “Where Is My Mind” that I saw people literally running toward the stage because they realized who was playing.

Chance the Rapper. Photo by Nikole Tower

Chance the Rapper closed the night with a shorter set than expected, but his performance and stage set up made up for that. It was his first show since becoming a Grammy winner and it showed. He even joked about the certain sway in his step and that he was “feeling himself” that night. It was the largest crowd of the night and all eyes were on him. He played some of his hits – “Mixtape,” “I’m the One” and “No Problem” – along with some slower songs like “Angels” where everyone’s hands went into the air like they were in church. It was his last festival of the year before he starts his first vacation of 2017 this weekend.

Saturday will see performances from Muna, Lil Yachty, Kongos, The Roots and The Killers.