TThe most underrated aspect of music festivals is the element of discovery. Sure, it can be great to see your favorite artists and the communal party vibe, but taking to a stage and having a performance you’ve never heard of before will blow your mind and become a new favorite that you’ll love for will always be remembered. When it comes to a local artist, the effect can sometimes be amplified when you suddenly realize you now have the opportunity to see them play regularly.
Enter Lucky Fest Northwest, a new festival running over two nights this Friday and Saturday (May 6th and 7th). Rather than focusing on one genre, Lucky Fest serves up samples of many sonic flavors. With a lineup that includes 30 acts from the Spokane area, it gives attendees a chance to experience some of the best music scene.
The lineup features some of the highest profile local acts, including ball-to-the-wall rock Indian Goat (national Readers’ Choice Band of 2022), local rap star Jango, the hard rock style of The Smokes, the singer-songwriter pop of Carmen Jane (The Sweeplings’ Cami Bradley’s solo project), Seattle garage rockers Acid Tongue , the funky sounds of the evergreen Afrodub Orchestra and Spokane psych rock group Kadabra.
The rest of the cast consists of emerging regional talent: All Day Trey, Apen Kye, Brotha Nature, BBD Yella, Elvis Batchild, Fat Lady, The Holy Broke, Imagine Collective, Jaeda, Jason Perry Band, John MF Ward, Jus Wright, Kung FU Vinyl, Lucas Brown and Friends, Marshall Law Band, Nobi, Pest the Menace, Randal Wyatt, Shakewell, Shaaina Shepherd, Spilled Milk, Spooky, TS the Solution, The Rodeo, TeZATalks, Transfuture and Tyler Alai. (See the full Lucky Fest schedule at the end of this story.)
Lucky Fest Northwest is the brainchild of King, a local music promoter, former general manager/booker at the Red Room, and member of hip-hop group Kung Fu Vinyl. Renowned local talent buyer Ryker has teamed up with King to make Lucky Fest a reality. In a way, King sees Lucky Fest as a manifestation of his appreciation for Spokane and the area.
“I’m not originally from here,” says King. “I moved here from DC about seven and a half years ago and I’ve grown to love the city. I didn’t really like it at first; there was a lot of culture shock. It was much smaller. And then the more time I spent money the more people I got to know the more I got involved in the scene – I really got to love this place and so the whole idea is that we can just do the music and the culture of the celebrate the Pacific Northwest. ”
Lucky Fest’s layout consists of an upper and lower stage (neither of which is a “main” stage) and a beer garden with rotating DJs (Donuts, Storme, DJ Priestess, Rosethrow, DJ Exodus, BNGRZ!, DJ Freaky ). Fred, Benny Blanco). But entering the venue won’t be like a regular trip to Lucky You, thanks to some creative design choices.
“We’re actually doing our best to turn Lucky You into something that people have never seen or experienced before,” says Ryker. “Because when you’re using a single venue like this, we didn’t want it to feel like you were just coming to Lucky You for another day. So we work together [local artist] Jaiz Boyd [of Birds in the Coast] to the set design. We’ll be adding a lot of that unique PNW feel. So we’re going to make artificial rocks and trees and just try to change the space… the ground floor will almost feel like going down into a cave.
Additionally, during the upstairs stage changeovers, Lucky You’s fireplace area will host “fireside chats” with short sets featuring comedians, a poet and a belly dancer.
Lucky Fest Northwest has actually been in the works for years. King was willing to do a version of the festival in April 2020, but… you know… COVID.
“Everything closed on March 18, and we were scheduled for April 18,” says King. “So that was a bummer.”
“We wanted to represent everything of the Northwest, not just pieces and parts. We have a little bit of everything.”
Bringing Ryker on board essentially led to the expansion of the festival with almost twice as many acts as originally planned. Even this version of the Fest has been on its feet for a long time as the duo waited out spikes and uncertainties in COVID variants.
And it’s not lost on King and Ryker that they are two POC organizing a music festival in Spokane, and a core principle of Lucky Fest is to bring diversity to the stage, both in the form of artists and in the sonic realms, who occupy them.
“Spokane is what it is because of its demographics, and we make a point of providing a platform for the underrepresented communities here: POC, women, LGBTQ communities,” says King. “Because we wanted to represent everything of the Northwest, not just pieces and parts. We have a little bit of everything.
“When people come to Lucky Fest, they can go here, they can go there. And depending on what kind of music they like or what they want to try, there will always be something for everyone,” he continues. “It’s all sorts of things they do in the city. And that was a big thing for us – not just making it a rock festival, a hip-hop festival, or a folk festival. no. we do everything Because that’s exactly what this area is.” ♦
Lucky Fest Northwest • Friday & Saturday, May 6 & 7 at 4pm • $35; Two Day Pass $50 • 21+ • Lucky You Lounge • 1801 W. Sunset Blvd. • luckyyoulounge.com • 509-474-0511