The inaugural LuckyFest Northwest hopes to bring together the regional music community for a weekend of musical camaraderie

click to enlarge The inaugural LuckyFest Northwest hopes to bring together the regional music community for a weekend of musical camaraderie
Erick Doxey photo
FROM LEFT: Ryker and King continue to try to spotlight local music.

The most underrated aspect of music festivals is the element of discovery. Sure, seeing your favorite artists and the communal party vibes can be great, but wandering to a stage and having an act you've never heard of before blow you away and become a new favorite can stick in your mind forever. When it's a local artist, the effect can sometimes be amplified as you suddenly realize you now have the opportunity to see them play on the regular.

Enter LuckyFest Northwest, a new festival taking place over two nights this Friday and Saturday (May 6 & 7). Rather than focus on one genre, LuckyFest serves up samples of many sonic flavors. With a lineup that features 50 acts from Spokane and the surrounding area, it gives attendees a chance to binge some of the best of what our music scene has to offer.

The lineup showcases some of the highest profile local acts, including the balls-to-the-wall rock of Indian Goat (Inlander readers' choice as the Best Band of 2022), local rap star Jango, the hard-rocking style of The Smokes, the singer-songwriter pop of Carmen Jane (the solo project of The Sweeplings' Cami Bradley), Seattle garage rockers Acid Tongue, the funky sounds of Evergreen Afrodub Orchestra, and Spokane psych-rock group Kadabra.

The rest of the lineup consists of up-and-coming 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, Shaina Shepherd, Spilt Milk, Spooky, T.S. the Solution, The Rodeo, TeZATalks, Transfuture, and Tyler Alai. (The full schedule for Lucky Fest can be found at the bottom of this story.)

LuckyFest Northwest is the brainchild of King, a local music promoter, former general manager/booker at Red Room and member of hip-hop group Kung Fu Vinyl. Noted local talent buyer Ryker joined up with King to help turn LuckyFest into a reality. In a way, King sees LuckyFest as the actualization of his appreciation for Spokane and the surrounding area.

"I'm not from here originally," King says. "I moved here from D.C., about seven and a half years ago, and the town grew on me. Didn't necessarily love it at first; there was a lot of culture shock. It was a lot smaller. And then the more time I spent, the more people I got to meet, the more I got plugged into the scene — I really came to love this place. And so the whole idea is that we're just celebrating the music and the culture of the Pacific Northwest."

The layout of LuckyFest will consist of an upstairs and a downstairs stage (with neither being a "main" stage), plus a beer garden with rotating DJs (Donuts, Storme, DJ Priestess, Rosethrow, DJ Exodus, BNGRZ!, DJ Freaky Fred, Benny Blanco). But wandering into the venue isn't going to be like a normal trip to Lucky You, thanks to some creative design choices.

"We are actually doing my best to transform Lucky You into something that people haven't seen or experienced before," says Ryker. "Because when you're using a single venue like that, we didn't want it to feel like you were just coming to another day at Lucky You. So we're working with [local artist] Jáiz Boyd [of Birds in the Coast] on set design. We're going to add a lot of this unique PNW feel. So we're going to do fake rocks and trees and just kind of try to transform the space ... the downstairs is almost going to feel like you're going down into a cave."

Additionally, Lucky You's fireplace area will host "fireside chats" during changeovers on the upstairs stage with short sets featuring comedians, a poet and a belly dancer.

LuckyFest Northwest has actually been in the works for years. King was all lined up to do a version of the festival in April 2020, but... you know... COVID.

"March 18th everything shut down, and we were scheduled for April 18th," says King. "So that was a bummer."

"We wanted to represent all of the Northwest, not just pieces and parts. We've got a little bit of everything."

tweet this

Bringing Ryker on board essentially led to the fest's expansion, with nearly twice as many acts as originally planned. Even this version of the fest was touch-and-go for a long time as the duo waited out COVID variant spikes and uncertainty.

And it's not lost on King and Ryker that they're two POC organizing a music festival in Spokane, and a core principle of LuckyFest is getting diversity on the stage both in the form of performers and the sonic realms they occupy.

"Spokane being what it is with its demographics, we have an emphasis on giving a platform to underrepresented communities here: POC, women, LGBTQ communities," says King. "Because we wanted to represent all of the Northwest, not just pieces and parts. We've got a little bit of everything.

"When people come to LuckyFest, they can go here, they can go there. And depending on what kind of music they're into or what they're willing to try, there's always going to be something for everybody that's there," he continues. "It's every kind of thing that they're making in the city. And that was a huge thing for us — to not just make it a rock festival or a hip-hop festival or a folk festival. No. We're doing everything. Because that's what this area is." ♦

LuckyFest Northwest • Fri & Sat, May 6 & 7 at 4 pm • $35; Two-day pass $50 • 21+ • Lucky You Lounge • 1801 W. Sunset Blvd. • • 509-474-0511

Megan Moroney, Logan Crosby @ Pavilion at Riverfront

Fri., July 12, 7:30 p.m.
  • or

Seth Sommerfeld

Seth Sommerfeld is the Music Editor for The Inlander, and an alumnus of Gonzaga University and Syracuse University. He has written for The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Fox Sports, SPIN, Collider, and many other outlets. He also hosts the podcast, Everyone is Wrong...