Lost Lands Music Festival Leads The Way For a New Generation of Dubstep

Starting as a gathering of well-known dubstep artists in Ohio, Lost Lands Music Festival has grown into a global showcase of bass music.

What comes to mind when you think of Lost Lands Music Festival? Dubstep? Dinosaurs? A** eating? Probably not a premier EDM festival that brings together one of the deepest lineups in the entire industry. But that’s exactly what Excision and Lost Lands are doing at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. 

First starting in 2017, Lost Lands has grown exponentially throughout its history. It began as a smaller festival featuring some of the biggest names in dubstep. Now in its fourth year, 2021 brought the deepest and most diverse lineup yet. The veteran heavy hitters of bass music were all still present, but the real magic this year happened throughout the lineup’s undercard.

The two main stages – Prehistoric Evolution and Wompy Woods – returned to Legend Valley once again. Headliners like Slander, Zomboy, Subtronics, and Liquid Stranger drew some of the biggest crowds of the weekend at Prehistoric Evolution. Excision also headlined with a two-hour Friday night set and a throwback set on Sunday. On the other side of the festival, artists like 12th Planet, Ganja White Night, MUST DIE!, and Adventure Club played at Wompy Woods.

Even though most of the crowd was usually at one of the two main stages, the depth of the lineup was found deeper in the woods at the Subsidia Stage and The Forest Stage. Excision deserves some serious respect for putting together an event where the weirdest and heaviest sides of electronic music are properly recognized.

Several artists on the lineup rarely ever play live shows or were making their debut performance in America.

The Subsidia Stage brought out dozens of smaller artists for one of the best hidden gems of the festival. Hosting artists who released music on Excision’s Subsidia record label, it was an amazing opportunity to discover artists you would rarely see otherwise. Artists like Ubur, Cyrus Gold (Hong Kong), Wodd (France), Whales (Israel), and Gl0bal (Canada) threw down some of my favorite sets of the weekend.

Located near the back of the festival, The Forest Stage was taken over by drum ‘n’ bass on Saturday with unforgettable sets from Downlink, Dieselboy, Rusko, and Delta Heavy. Seeing a huge crowd go crazy to Delta Heavy was amazing, and it was a massive change compared to seeing Dieselboy with just a few dozen other people at Cave of Souls in 2017. On Sunday, The Forest Stage hosted house music from the likes of Dustycloud, Bijou, and Corrupt UK, a first for Lost Lands. 

For fans of the heavier styles of electronic music, Lost Lands is now a can’t-miss event.

I think it’s safe to say that it’s basically an American version of overseas hard dance festivals like Defqon.1 or Dominator. The vibes were just insane…I’ve never seen a crowd get down to bass music like they do at Lost Lands (as they should). Seeing the entire crowd move to dubstep together is a feeling you can’t really put into words.

The festival seriously had something for everybody. I definitely found three straight days of dubstep to be a lot previously, and it was great to see this addressed with house music and drum ‘n’ bass this year. There were also some incredible artists from other genres performing at the late-night afterparties until 4 AM, with yetep, Control Freak, Hex Cougar, and MEMBA being some of my faves.

Speaking of the afterparties – the speaker volume at Wompy Woods needs to be fixed. Once the festival ended at 12 AM (11 PM on Sunday), music continued for 4 hours on this stage, but you could barely hear the performance…even when standing right next to the speakers. Luckily, the vibes at Virtual Riot’s melodic set and Modestep’s throwback set made up for it.

Otherwise, the festival was really well put together. It’s unfortunate the rain caused so much chaos for campers on Wednesday and Thursday. But I think it’s most important to be thankful that the festival wasn’t canceled like so many others this year. Excision and his team deserve recognition for facing that adversity and putting on an amazing festival with relatively no issues. 

It’ll be interesting to see how Lost Lands returns bigger and better in 2022.

It’s hard to imagine them improving on what was already an epic weekend. One big addition would be more space utilized within the festival grounds, as there is a sound bleed issue. I’m not sure how realistic that is given the size of Legend Valley, though. Until then, I’ll be walking to the front of the crowd to avoid hearing other stages and fully appreciate the PK Sound production. 

The decor and venue were turned up to another level this year, too. I had to take a second to appreciate the massive dinosaurs scattered across the grounds. The production on the stages was impressive, and The Forest Stage and Subsidia Stage were set up similarly to the Observatory at Electric Forest. Lost Lands also had two additional stages that were only open for afterparties: Raptor Valley and The Asteroid.

Overall, it’s easy to say that Lost Lands significantly exceeded expectations this year.

I went in not expecting much and left with a refreshed appreciation of dubstep. I think it’s clear there’s another “golden age” of EDM on the horizon. Artists are releasing the music they made during quarantine, the vibes at festivals are amazing, and everyone is bringing their best energy to make up for the events we missed over the last year and a half.

The future of dubstep is in Excision’s hands, and I could not be happier about that. He really found a perfect balance between mainstream appeal and proper underground exposure, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this festival. The story of Lost Lands is just getting started, and the 5th anniversary in 2022 will definitely be one for the books.

4 responses to “Lost Lands Music Festival Leads The Way For a New Generation of Dubstep”

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