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Who are the Experience Arizona Adventurers?

Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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Cat-Dog

Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

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Interns

Sara Harelson

I’m Sara! I’m 21, a senior in college, and a journalism major.  I love to read, write, travel, and listen to music.  I’m always on to my next adventure.

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See Intern Page for previous interns

The Best Musical Festival You’ve Never Heard Of

Text and Photos by Sara Harelson

The October sun shone down on every festivalgoer at Indian Steele Park in Central Phoenix, Arizona. Lost Lake Music Festival brought more than 45,000 people in its inaugural year to the sun-baked city. It ran for three days and had world famous act like Chance the Rapper, The Killers, and Odesza. All were all met with fanatic applause and plenty of terrible dance moves from the crowds.

As a self-proclaimed music festival aficionado, I wanted to know if Lost Lake would hit the mark of what it takes to be a top-tier event.

The founders of well-known music festivals, Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Outside Lands in San Francisco, put on the event. These music festivals drawn in crowds of over 100,000 so there were high hopes for the Lost Lake Festival.


The pure intimacy of the festival made the whole experience.  I was able to stand 50 feet away from some of my favorite bands, so the ticket paid for itself after the first set.  Anyone who travels to popular music festivals knows how crowded and impersonal the shows can be when you’re shoulder to shoulder with 200,000 other people. The music flowed through my veins and I danced along with the band Haim and Chance the Rapper Friday night and it felt like they were dancing right next to me.

As I entered the festival each day I was greeted by gorgeous views of the lake, smack dab in the middle of the grounds. I couldn’t help from joking that I had “found the lake.” Terrible joke, I know.

But what made this music festival so special from all the others I’ve been to?  It was more than just a festival.  

It was an adult amusement park.



People spent hours at the Lost Playground where staff had set up games like “Big Ass Billiards” and “Mega Twister” for adults to feel like a kid again.

I wasn’t even tall enough to reach the top of “Giant Connect Four” and jumped off my tippy toes just to place my piece and watch it fall into place.  

At “colossal croquet” I used a hammer five times the size of a golf club to hit blow up workout balls through hoops taller than me.  These activities were the talk of the weekend and I even caught a glimpse of some of the famous acts enjoying their time in the playground.

Art tents lined in rows had booths containing anything ranging from screen-printed t-shirts with crazy designs, buttons with puns like “sweet cheesus” complete with a picture of grilled cheese, and skate boards painted and broken into funky art forms. I browsed the aisles of artwork, stopping to comment on a painting or watching an older woman draw delicate, twisting henna tattoos onto her customers.


The most interesting part of the art portion is that artists from all over the country were making actual murals before my very eyes. Friday, the walls were blank. Saturday, they began to take shape with colors and designs being added every minute. Sunday, the artistic performance had ended and the artists finally stood back and let their work be admired. Sun burnt patrons huddled in their shade and snapped photos to capture the moment.

Lost Lake had giant VW Bugs and Vans set up throughout the grounds.  Each vehicle has LED lights lining them and the ability for concertgoers to climb inside and check them out. One even overlooked a stage where I grabbed a beer, climbed a ladder, and listened to the music floating in from the top of an old school VW Bus.



When I felt a pang of hunger after dancing in dust storms kicked up from all the dancing along the lake, I ventured to find some sort of sustenance.  Lost Lake had 35 local foodie favorites set up for everyone to enjoy.  There were burger trucks, sushi burritos stands, and barbeque pits lining the perimeter of the festival.  After the best tacos of my life filled my stomach and top-notch tequila tasting washed it down, I was ready to keep going.  No matter what music festival goes wanted to eat or drink, there seemed to be a perfect pairing for any craving.

Music played all throughout the day. From the minutes the gate opened until the last act had taken their final bows, patrons could hear an eclectic selection of tunes. There were artists who sang in Spanish, rappers from LA and Chicago, DJs, and rock bands so every single person had something they love to listen to. Lost Lake Music Festival really was the melting pot of music.


In order to ensure the safety of its patrons, Lost Lake had set up transportation that seemed to go off without a hitch.  The pass for all three days acted as a free ticket on the light rail so music fans could take that back to their hotels or homes if they were close enough to the line.  Lyft, the rideshare service, had an area set up at the entrance with workers directing the crowds of people who found their rides without an issue and avoided waiting the sometimes hours people usually wait at other festivals.

The best part for me was that my house was only two miles from the venue so I clipped on my helmet and biked my way over.  What made it even easier was the free bike valet who simply handed me a ticket, took my bike, then my ride magically appeared at the end of the night when I handed the ticket back to them on the way out.

Although it is unsure and unconfirmed if the Lost Lake Music Festival will return next year, the festival was a hit all around.  The people of Phoenix rocked out, and if they were anything like me, laid their heads down Sunday night with the tunes of the weekend replaying in their heads.

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