It was perfect festival weather in Southern California, Saturday May 30th for the inaugural Lost Highway Festival at San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore, CA getting the warmth and sunshine we didn’t get at Stagecoach this year. The beautiful mountains of San Bernardino were the backdrop for the two stages that featured an eclectic mix of musical genres that included country, punk rock and rockabilly.
Surrounded by hundreds of custom motorcycles, booths dedicated to anything motorcycle related, ranging from bike insurance companies, bike parts manufacturers, leather goods and everything in between, even some Ole’ Smoky Tennessee Moonshine. And there was no lack in beards, tattoos, and classic motorcycles as far as the eyes could see, uniting bikers and music lovers in one large event.
The festival featured performances from country super star, Toby Keith on his “Good Times & Pick Up Lines” Tour presented by Ford F-Series on the festival’s Country Stage. In the rock realm, veteran rock band, Social Distortion, performed on the Quaid Harley-Davidson Stage.
An interesting mix you might think…festival creator, John Oakes, acknowledges the line up and explains…
“Social Distortion and Toby Keith wouldn’t normally be on the same show. You never see them touring together…but the motorcycle community reaches so many different people…we want people to come out and take their hard earned money and have a great day,” Oakes said. “Just enjoy themselves and check out amazing bikes and listen to music.”
Always up for discovering new artists, Lindi Ortega was a breath of fresh air with her witty take on country music. The perfect opener for the event, taking over the stage in her red boots and slinging her guitar, the Dolly Parton/Patsy Cline type sung about men who have wronged her and classic country heartbreak. Something most of us girls can relate to. Every song she played portrayed her rich voice with fantastic songs, showcasing an undeniable passion behind every word she sang. In between songs, she entertained the crowd with her hilarious wit.
The day time line up was also followed with a set from Country Punks, Lucero, whom I had not had the pleasure of seeing before. The theme for the day was whiskey, women and the issue of heartbreak becomes inevitable, singing songs that dug into your soul.
Leading into the evening the Eli Young Band and Reverend Horton Heat, prepared the crowd for Social Distortion and Toby Keith on the country and Quaid Harley-Davidson Stages. Toby Keith who appropriately sang about a rebellious preacher’s daughter who clutched tight on the back of his chopper in “God Love Her”. All leaving their fans entertained yet wanting more.
There were so many fun activities going on throughout the festival, including the ‘House of Kolor’s’ helmet art show which featured amazing custom-painted motorcycle helmets. The art show hosted by world-renowned motorcycle painter, Taylor Schultz and featured eight celebrated painters from California and around the world, all which were able to be purchased via auction.
Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country were there with their eye-catching custom bikes, which were more like functional pieces of art for the crowd to enjoy throughout the festival grounds. The general atmosphere at the Lost Highway Festival was that like no other festival I’ve attended. With its motorcycle culture experience encircled with music of various genres, sunshine, beer and the beautiful landscape, everyone was there to have a good time…and a good time was had by all!
I went for the country music being a country girl at heart…and I wound up getting so much more out of the event than I thought I would…all the while thinking “could this new Southern California festival be the Sturgis of the West Coast???” I will defiantly recommend this festival to my family and friends and hope that we have the opportunity to again next year! I will be brushing up on my motorcycle knowledge until then!