The third iteration of any music festival is one of the most crucial in determining whether it has truly lasting appeal or will remain a short-lived romp. Make no mistake, after the third year of Lost Lands Festival the message is loud and clear. Excision's Legend Valley, Ohio celebration of bass music has become one of the most impressive festivals in the entire dance music industry.
It seems as though word has traveled well through fans. While walking around and speaking with attendees, it was interesting to note that many we're not the dedicated headbangers you might think, but rather, general EDM fans looking for a new experience.
Total Logistical Overhaul
The keyword at the 2019 iteration of the festival was "polish." Although there were some rather large changes, this year saw Excision (real name Jeff Abel) and his team improve on almost every aspect of the festival.
The most common complaints from the 2018 edition were based around the security staff with some attendees experiencing long lines to enter the festival. In order to remedy this, they created several new camping options, brought in a new logistics team, and added an extra early arrival day on Wednesday, spreading out the incoming traffic. As promised in our conversation with Abel, security and logistics were overhauled to create a significantly smoother entry experience with drastically reduced lines.
In addition to the security upgrades, significant improvements to the campgrounds were made. In each dinosaur-named section of the campgrounds, small hubs were built with included shower stations, general stores, some food options, water refill stations, medical tents, and more. They provided easy access for everyone, regardless of where your campsite was located.
The Village Marketplace
The previous two outings featured food and shopping spread throughout the campground in a couple of different locations. For the 2019 edition, the Village Marketplace was constructed, creating a one-stop shop for all of the campers' food and shopping needs. The marketplace was essentially a consolidated collection of most of the campground's vendors, with places to sit, a small Red Bull stage, and new area dedicated to workshops and programming called the Discovery Center.
Included in the Center was a variety of classes and speakers on topics like acro yoga, meditation and breathwork, alongside some off-the-wall entertainment like dinosaur dance battles, headbanger speed dating, and a hilarious fake TED Talk from comedian Blake Webber.
Accompanying the campground additions were some notable additions to the actual festival grounds. Upon walking into the venue attendees were greeted to multiple dinosaurs creating several photo opportunities. Additional walkways were created inside the venue allowed for improved flow of people traveling between stages along with secret hideaways and chill zones for those who need a break.
A major addition to this year's prehistoric party was the 360-degree Cavern of Illusions experience. Making its dubstep debut at Abel's other festival, Bass Canyon, the Cavern of Illusions was brought to the midwest for an immersive art experience from the legendary visual artist Android Jones.
One of the biggest changes to this year's festival was the reformatted Late Night Sound Camps. In 2018, the Sound Camps were added and allowed fans to enjoy music until the very early morning right in the middle of the campgrounds. For those unfamiliar with the festival, these are several small stages with a rotating cast of performers including headliners, rising stars, and even local talent.
For this year's event, the Sound Camps were moved inside the actual venue. Hidden throughout the venue were several smaller stages, which came to life the minute the main stage music stopped. For example, the Asteroid Bar (pictured above) from previous outings was transformed into one of the new stages. Other stages were placed in areas that you wouldn't normally go to during the course of the festival. The Wooky Woods, for example, was tucked away in the back of the festival grounds in the middle of a cleared out section of trees, while Raptor Alley was to the side of the second main stage at the bottom of a small hill.
Some of the artists to grace the stage at the Sound Camps included Zeke Beats, Wenzday, Vampa, Tisoki, Phiso, and many more. This brings us to the most important section of them all...
What's the point of 1,000,000+ watts of bass if the music isn't spot on? Luckily for attendees of this year's international bass music gathering, that question need not be answered.
Both the updated Prehistoric Paradox and Wompy Woods stages hosted Abel's biggest and finest lineup to date. A significant number of bass music greats graced the stages over the course of the weekend. Old school acts like Rusko, 12th Planet, and a massive Circus Records B2B2B featuring Cookie Monsta, Doctor P, and Funtcase let fans dive into the genre's roots. The younger generation of producers like Marauda and Dion Timmer showed us that the future of bass music is bright. Fans can relive much of the weekend through these Lost Lands 2019 live sets.
Joining the ranks of Ganja White Night and Shaquille O'Neal as the special surprise guest was none other than Trampa. To the delight of fans, he threw down a decidedly heavy set serving as a mid-weekend headbanging clinic.
Artists like Ghastly, Habstrakt, Said The Sky, and Dabin, explored sounds outside the traditional, heavy dubstep sound of the weekend, while Boogie T, SVDDEN DEATH (with surprise co-star Eptic), and the creator of "Griztronics," the most-played song of the weekend, Subtronics unleashed chaotic waves of bass to the masses.
Abel himself threw down three massive sets throughout the weekend. One of which was a two-hour main stage performance on the opening night of the festival. Another was a special Detox Set which saw the Canadian producer explore more experimental sounds.
His third set, however, was far and beyond the most talked-about performance of the weekend. In a very special B2B, Abel took the stage with Illenium for the biggest set in Lost Lands history.
This monumental performance featured two artists at the top of their respective genres and bridged the gap between the heavy and melodic bass music worlds. Since the release of their track "Gold" in 2018, fans have been dying to see the duo take the stage.
The debut of the super-duo did not disappoint. They effortlessly traversed through hits from both of their libraries in such a way that would make you think every track was a collaboration. This brings us, of course, to their actual collaboration...
Since teasing a collaboration formed because of the cancelation of their first scheduled B2B at Global Dance Festival, fans have been desperately awaiting its release. Seeing as there's no better place to test out a new track then at their first B2B performance, the duo debuted the new song to rave reviews, helping fuel the hype around its eventual release.
In conclusion, the 2019 edition of the party proved that Abel can throw not only an incredible bass music festival, but an outright amazing festival in general. With the added polish and improvements to this year's Jurassic bass music extravaganza, Abel and the team behind the event should feel proud knowing that their efforts have helped Lost Lands Festival become an elite and truly unique festival experience that can hang with the best of them.