Good-vibes enthusiasts from across the country will converge outside Mackay this weekend to mark the return of the Lost River Disco—a three-day festival of house and techno music, which is making its return to Idaho Basecamp after a five-year hiatus.
The LRD, as organizers call it, features myriad artists starting Friday, July 23 and ending on Sunday, July 25. L.A.-based DJ DAVI will headline the event, alongside to-be-announced a “special guest.” Other performers include Anden, Amtrac, Alison Swing, Gab Rhome, Lauren MIA, Marques Wyatt, Matthias Meyer, m.O.N.R.O.E., Sarkis Mikael, Zen Freeman, Cloudest Speaker, Corey Caffrey, Jordan Epperson, Kotch, Lukewarm, Namaste, the Dirtnap, Tyler Tastemaker, Wake, Wend and Will Vance. The event will also showcase local artists, including Joey Sides and Jens Peterson.
One of the many goals of the festival is to generate a dance community in the area, LRD founder Luke McNees told the Express.
“I’ve always had a problem with the valley having a very unsophisticated music scene,” McNees said. “I think you see the same handful of bands coming through here year after year. There’s nowhere you can go to hear good techno and house music unless we’re throwing the party.”
Even though the 2016 LRD was a success, McNees said, he took a step back due to a busy work schedule. As a tour manager for musicians, he travelled the road over 300 days a year. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed him to slow down, so he decided to start it up again. He plans to host the Disco annually from now on.
“I’ve been to music festivals of literally every different size and level in 67 countries,” McNees said. “To me it’s become more about the money, selling as many tickets as they can and getting as many people there as they can. This is a hobby of mine. It’s not something I make money off of.”
Or, as LRD puts it on its website: “We are not a music festival, we are not a rave, we are a community.”
The Idaho Basecamp is 29 miles northeast Ketchum on the Big Lost River. The main stage sits in the beach cabana on a treehouse nestled between two cottonwood trees.
The eco-retreat promotes consciousness, sustainability and connecting people through nature. It is also the site of the Mountain Adventure Tours, an opportunity for kids to partake in themed trips like river rafting or mountain biking. The campers even make trails through the woods and name different portions of the property.
“It was kind of built and developed by children,” McNees said. “Even though our event is 21 and older, it’s still this big playground.”
Tickets include access to tent camping. RVs cost extra. LRD also sells a limited number of “glamping” packages. The portmanteau of glamorous camping was installed to assist those travelling from around the country to arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back and have a comfortable stay. The glamping package comes with a bell tent fully furnished with a queen bed and battery-powered lantern.
LRD bills itself as a “leave no trace event,” asking festival goers to pick up any and all trash they may have over the weekend.
In addition to music, various visual artists will exhibit their work at Basecamp. An artist from Mexico City who goes by the name Venados, known for his creative direction for several brands and other music festivals, will construct an installation on site. With the help of volunteers, he will assemble something wholly original with free rein from LRD. The artwork will continue to live on the premises long after the bass rumbles the ground. LRD will also offer live painting and a painter’s workshop.
General admission tickets cost $210 for the weekend—no single-day tickets are available. For more on that, plus a rundown of the full lineup, go to the Lost River Disco’s website at www.lostriverdisco.com.