Coming to the tail end of the 2023 festival season, we visited Legend Valley for the fifth annual Lost Lands festival put on by Excision Presents. Headbangers and bass heads from across the world gathered in central Ohio to experience the prehistoric-themed festival featuring well over a hundred artists. Lost Lands has quickly become known as a “Dubstep Disneyland” to EDM fans, with some of the biggest stages, productions, and acts in the bass music scene.
Across the massive 230-acre live music venue, Lost Lands featured six stages, all with incredible visual and structural designs. Excision Presents had the listener in mind when arranging these stages so that each of the stage’s top-of-the-line sound systems could be heard loud and clear without bleeding into the area of any other stage.
This year’s crown jewel was the Prehistoric stage, living up to its name in both size and design featuring two massive pterodactyls and enough lights and lasers to daze even the most experienced raver. This year also had a secret stage that was only available to those who explored the venue enough or were lucky enough to have someone else bring them there.
In order to host the approximately 40,000 people congregating in the middle of Ohio, Lost Land coordinated excellently to get cars in and set up to camp comfortably through the week. With cars arriving early in the week, the grounds were well staffed with knowledgeable members to answer questions and guide people to their designated campgrounds. Restrooms were never too far away from any particular camp, and food and water vendors were found even in the farther reaches of the campground.
Ample lighting was provided with the use of large spotlights, and walkways were well maintained to avoid injuries. As always, visitors were kind and courteous to one another, sharing resources, minding their volume, and being considerate in the early hours of the morning. When it finally came to Monday morning, getting out of the venue was easy and workers helped to keep a constant flow of people exiting with very little traffic.
The tens of thousands of festival-goers from around the globe began to gather in Legend Valley early in the week, ready for the Wednesday and Thursday pre-parties that have become synonymous with never-before-heard songs and never-before-seen acts. From night one, festival staff and security were lightning-fast in checking and admitting us into the venue while maintaining a high level of safety and efficiency.
To assist the difficulties of previous years involving entering the venue by crossing a busy street, Lost Lands was very wise in building a bridge above the street to allow a constant flow of traffic in and out of the venue, while still keeping periodic street crossings for any ravers willing to wait a bit longer. Over the week we witnessed several medical emergencies arise, and as they always do, the medical and security staff were quick to see and assist anyone in the crowd having an emergency, no matter the size of the crowd or the time of the day.
Activities and Concessions
As in previous years, Lost Lands kept patrons constantly entertained and well-fed with dozens of activities and vendors to choose from. Nearly every food option imaginable was within walking distance including the famously exclusive Island Noodles. Clothing and merchandise outlets were easy to access and worked through long lines at an impressive pace with little difficulty buying anything from pashminas fans and jewelry to your favorite artists new merch drops.
A new activity available to us was a miniature arcade, complete with gaming consoles and cabinet arcade games. Inside the venue there were several activities reported to have been present, including a “Bean Pit” and a “Golden Shower” that we were unable to try, but curious to investigate in the future.
Primarily known as a dubstep festival, we were pleasantly surprised to hear genres from across the bass scene including experimental bass, house, drum and bass, and even techno. This week of bass music had no shortage of notable performances and memorable moments. Of the nearly endless number of amazing artists who performed at Lost Lands, we witnessed just a portion of what this festival had to offer.
Beginning with the obvious, the headlining performances by Excision were nothing short of phenomenal. We will never cease to be surprised by the ever-changing set lists and one-up production quality year after year.
Lost Lands is well known for being the proving ground for artists to pull out their hardest-hitting tracks both released and unreleased. One such artist who we were excited to see was Jeanie at the Artifact Stage. With her recent EP released on Disciples Round Table and her face on the cover of Spotify’s Dubstep Don playlist, Jeanie is well on pace to return next year to perform for an even bigger performance. Her 80’s slasher aesthetics and mind-bending remixes made for a frightening yet delightful performance.
Lost Lands is also well known for bringing artists from around the world, who work tirelessly to travel to the US and give us the best of what they have to offer. One such artist was Alien Park, who performed his US debut at the Subsidia Stage. With his hundreds of thousands of plays on Spotify, there was a lot of buzz going around that this set was one we didn’t want to miss. This set was megalithic in stature with a crowd to match.
As many dubstep artists see Lost Lands as one of their biggest career goals, the only thing better is returning the next year. Four returning artists who showed massive growth in their skills and their discographies from previous years were Muerte, Emorfik, Sisto, and Jiqui. Performing at Wompy Woods, these artists blew us away with their sets consisting almost entirely of fresh and original songs and collaborations. This generation of riddim and dubstep producers is leading the front in production and presentation.
In recent years we have seen many bass producers venture out from their foundations into other genres, with many of them moving into the drum and bass scene. We saw some unlikely yet legendary drum and bass performances from Ivy Lab, Funtcase, and Blanke, all of whom showed true versatility and range in their work.
Finally, our most notable performance of Lost Lands was the gut-wrenching act known as Vulllgur. These three anonymous DJs have exploded onto the scene with supporting performances for some of the biggest names in dubstep. They began their performance with an audio disclaimer, warning the audience of intense violence, gore, and blood. Their set consisted of a litany of wildly gory and unnerving visuals paired with an unreal number of IDs and unreleased tunes. Their rapid-fire mixing and eerily disturbing style left us speechless as well as excited to see them perform here in the PNW.
After an incredible five total days of music and Mesozoic mayhem, the festival concluded with an epic closing ceremony that we hoped would never end. We left Legend Valley and traveled back to our respective homes, still humming our favorite tunes of the week still wishing we were surrounded by dinosaurs, DJs, and dear friends.
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