Q’s With UTA’s Steve Gordon (Ft. Kevin Gimble): Lost Lands, Bass Canyon, Excision and More
UTA’s Steve Gordon and Kevin Gimble have been at the forefront of the electronic music touring world, in particular dubstep and drum & bass, with superstar clients like Marshmello, Kaskade, Illenium and Excision, who kicks off his Lost Lands Festival in Ohio tonight for three days in Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio.
The second-year event features (of course) Excision as well as fellow UTA clients Flux Pavilion, Ganja White Night (see Pollstar Hotstar article), Illenium and many others in the mostly bass music world.
Lost Lands boasts two full main stages and 1,000,000 watts of bass, surely thanks to Excision’s “Paradox” production setup that delivers crushing bass with a wall of 40 PK double 18” subs, which is a lot even for bass-heads, and the event follows the brand-new Bass Canyon event that took place at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington. Last year’s debut sold 25,000 three-day tickets and the site was effectively the 12th-largest city in Ohio.
“Since getting into the festival world, we have learned that having the right venue is everything,” Excision, real name Jeff Abel, told Pollstar. “Legend Valley and The Gorge are both beautiful places, and we’re always on the lookout for a location that can amaze and inspire.”
Both events continue the apparent trend of artists hosting or curating their own events, with others like Post Malone hosting his own Posty festival in Dallas this year, J. Cole announcing one that was to happen this weekend but was derailed by the impending Hurricane Florence, and many others. There are also recurring artist-led events (both later this month, even) such as Cayuga Sound in Ithaca, N.Y., curated by X Ambassadors (Young The Giant, Sofi Tukkr, Talib Kweli) and The National‘s There’s No Leaving New York, at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, which this year will feature Jason Isbell, Cat Power, U.S. Girls, and Future Islands.
Booking agencies continue to find innovative ways to present their artists, with Paradigm booking The Big Weekend in Chicago taking over five venues and with solely Paradigm clients in October, with Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, Papadosio and more.
Pollstar caught up with Gordon and Gimble to get into the details about both events, some of their other clients and the move to UTA following the sale of their Circle Talent Agency in April.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Bass Canyon day 3 was insane! Shout out to <a href=”https://twitter.com/NGHTMRE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@nghtmre</a> for breaking necks with me!! <a href=”https://t.co/AgfBA3Co0i”>pic.twitter.com/AgfBA3Co0i</a></p>— Excision (@Excision) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Excision/status/1037091960937439232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>September 4, 2018</a></blockquote>
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How did Bass Canyon come about and how does the event differ from Lost Lands?
Steve Gordon: We took the concept from Lost Lands and reimagined it for the Pacific Northwest with a fresh, new experience for fans. We’re excited to unveil what we’ve been working on. The Bass Canyon lineup is more multi-genre versus Lost Lands which is primarily dubstep focused.
How did you come to the idea of Excision leading multiple festivals of his own?
Excision and I have discussed this for years and it wasn’t until recently that we really felt it was the right time. Legend Valley turned out to be the perfect space for Lost Lands and with the first-year success under our belt, it gave the buyers at Live Nation the confidence to build out three days at the Gorge.
Jason Koerner / Getty Images – Excision
Excision performs at Fillmore Miami Beach on February 11, 2017. (
How heavily is Excision involved in the festival lineup/production? What does he bring to the table as far as his production/experience?
X is the mastermind behind the lineup, production and event as a whole. He brings nine years of touring experience to the table, having played at nearly every festival globally, and he’s really a creative genius. The concepts come from his love of dinosaurs and he has always envisioned a Jurassic Park-themed festival. I put together a team with John Reese and Synergy Global Entertainment to help produce the event from a logistical standpoint and my good friend Evan Weinstein came in from Steez Promo to assist in promotion.
How does Circle/UTA go about curating these events, including Global Dub at Red Rocks?
One of our agents, Max Freeman, heads up the curation on this one and does an incredible job. Kevin and I used to oversee the curation for our bigger events but have since taken a back seat to our team as they are great tastemakers in the space. Combined with input from the artists and other agency submissions, we create the lineup just like any other festival buyer would.
Cool to see Ganja White Night moving higher and higher up the bills. What’s next for them – more headlining?
Yes, Ganja is focusing on headlining across the country and we are seeing sold-out shows in many markets plus major festival offers coming in for them. They crushed Red Rocks this year with Zomboy and Bear Grillz and are on their way to their own Red Rocks headlining slot.
Care to recap Global Dub? Tickets sold, favorite sets, etc.?
Kevin Gimble: Global Dub Festival is an event we’re very proud of and this was the seventh year in a row that it sold out at Red Rocks. All of the acts had incredible sets and we curated a full-UTA lineup with Zomboy and Ganja White Night co-headlining. We’re looking forward to major headline performances from both artists in 2019.
Big news with the UTA acquisition! Anything to add about that, as far as what’s in store for you and Kevin and your artists at UTA?
Gordon: Everyone has greeted us with open arms and the integration has been very smooth. For Kevin and myself, we are going to keep doing what we love to do – provide the highest level of service to our clients and book great shows. We live for it.