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TopWater at The Landing. Photo via Facebook

Can the West Valley Produce a Successful Outdoor Music Venue?

Written by Nikole Tower Category: Music Issue: November 2017
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When you're in the mood for a night of live music, the West Valley doesn't come immediately to mind. But the entertainment tides may be changing for our west side neighbors with the addition of a 120-acre outdoor music venue. TopWater at The Landing, on the banks of the recently restored Hidden Lake in Buckeye, will be kicking off their inaugural event this Saturday, Novemnber 11, with a concert from local folk rock band Luxxe.

luxxe

The land was purchased by a husband and wife team, Richard and Jennifer Mladick, in 2016, fueled by their love for the outdoors and a passion to bring live music to this quiet side of the Valley. The lake already existed as a result of a mining project when it was shown to the Mladicks by a friend.

“The first thing to understand is that we didn’t choose this site, this site chose us,” Richard Mladick said. “The lake just happens to fall in the only section in the entire state of Arizona that is designated as water logged in the Arizona state statute. The groundwater is so high that the lake fills without any help from us.”

Though TopWater appears to have plenty of potential – desert dwellers have a hard time resisting waterfront activities, especially when fire pits, food, beer and wine are thrown in during fabulous fall weather – it's location is a definite hurdle for success. Currently, the Central and East Valleys dominate the outdoor entertainment market, namely Ak-Chin Pavilion, Tempe Town Lake and Mesa Amphitheater which are all close to major residential and entertainment districts.

“[Saturday’s show] is a great first step for us,” Mladick said. “It’s going to kind of help demonstrate if the West Valley is ready to support a venue. Will the West Valley turn out for an event like this? Is it ready to have a venue like this? We don’t know. I think that will be proven over time. We hope so. We’ll know sooner [rather] than later.”

The Mladicks are staying realistic about the future of the venue and the obstacles ahead of them, but in the meantime they are gearing up for an unforgettable first show. The stage was currently being set up only five feet from the water when I spoke to Mladick on Wednesday. They also scored some points by booking Luxxe – who recently opened for One Republic and Bon Jovi on tour, and performed at Austin City Limits music festival.

hiddenlake
Hidden Lake in Buckeye. Photo via Facebook.

“Having the lake as the background and having as much space as we do, it allows people to spread out a little bit more and have a very different experience than they would get somewhere else,” he said.

While the focus is directed toward live music, the venue will aim to provide more than that. Richard explained that he wishes the venue will serve as a way to get people to be more active. As a fully functional lake, there are plenty of recreational activities to be enjoyed such as fishing and kayaking.

“We certainly don’t view ourselves in competition with any other venue in town,” he said. “This is really much more focused around the combined experience of being outdoors around the water, around the lake and around music. It’s not just showing up, seeing a concert and going home. From that standpoint, we are creating something unique. That additional experience will grow over time.”

Luxxe will be performing at the inaugural event on Saturday and they’ll begin shortly after sunset. The gates will open at 4 p.m. and there will be food and beverages available. Early bird general admission starts at $5.75. The Landing is located at 24445 W. Sunrise Dr., Buckeye. For more information visit thelandingaz.com.