It’s difficult to strike gold in the constantly breeding continuum of the small scale electronic music festival. The catalogue continues to extend, and often outruns itself in breadth and momentum. However there are some who manage to concoct a boutique experience, with high-calibre bookings, and a wacky mythical narrative intact. Wrapping up its third instalment on a glorious August Bank Holiday, Lost Village has left many of its ravers publicly fantasising about being back in the magical woods. With the strategic hashtag #APartOfYouWillAlwaysBeLost trending on the official Twitter channel. Just a short scroll down leaves you sifting through some gushy and joyous tweets posted by happy campers still in the pit of their massive comedown. A glowing testament, and a nice bit of PR for the festival organisers.
Birthed by Jaymo and Andy George back in 2014, trailblazers of house and techno in the Midlands (also runners of the Moda Black label) Lost Village is in its third year. Executing a formula of forest frolics, and ancient village rune theatrics in a secluded, Lincolnshire forest seemed to be proven feat. For us (that’s all those above the age of 21), plus the bedazzling club kids in glitter war-paint, a sun dazed Bank Holiday weekender of dreamy forest raving, eating/drinking complete with boutique wellness options was a pretty much top-trumps. Perfect for all who were looking to shed a couple of layers of London from them.
The festival’s Wicker-Man-esque aesthetics were matched with precise levels of sound/stage technicality. High impact, crisp bass, full mids and sonorous highs permeated from the four definitive stage spaces. Each stage was charming on its own accord; burning man effigies swung gently from the vast village fete style tepee sat in the Burial Ground. Records, frayed bunting, junk, bric-a-brac and manikin limbs all scattered discordantly across the Junkyard area. Lost Village was a visually spectacular feast. Each stage we found in a sort of serendipitous way. It felt like there was always something to discover and entertain you, wherever your gallivanting took you.
There’s nothing sweeter than finding out you’ve been upgraded – Yurt style. I’ve never been a much of Boutique camper, and have sworn it festival sacrilege to ever cross luxury with a weekend in the woods. But after being delightfully taken care of via Lost Village’s Boutique Sanctuary, I’d be damned to not have left with new camping #festivalgoals. This is the better version of Glamping; it involves a 24-Hour concierge service, espresso martinis, and a wood-fired hot tub experience. Add to that, a host of extra-curricular activities that offered tranquility and respite from the debauchery and you have a one-way ticket to a well-balanced festival experience.
Of course, the real highlight of Lost Village is the line-up, a carefully selected mix of lauded dance DJs billed alongside a number of under the radar, but globally rising outfits/selectors. Bicep, Ben-UFO, Fatima Yamaha, Hunee and The Black Madonna all graced the forest with prime house and techno cuts, interspersed with nuggets of warbled Disco, and chopped up UK garage.
Friday night’s ascent was suitably revved up by Hot Chip’s essential takeover. Alexis Taylor and Felix Martin threw down a sensational set of ultimate floor-filler and dance classics; an epileptic explosion into strobe-lights soared my mind to a state of heart-warming tranquility, and still, it was only 11:30 pm. The low-key cap on live music after 2 am meant sets had to be wrapped up succinctly. From that point, you were left with two options. You either stumbled back to your tents for your own private session or wandered down to the nameless Hay Barn for the closing boogie showdown with complete with fistfuls of hay.
After the Premier League of near transcendental performances, having to close the night at this place felt a little lacklustre. Thank god then for Moderat, who descended onto the Burial Grounds on Sunday, their marvellously luminous light show brimming with cinematic visuals (courtesy of Pfadfinderei) rekindling spirits. Stomach crunching drum patterns and guttural bass, coincided with Apparat’s emotive vocals, causing their symphonic sermon to cascade across the festival grounds. It was something interstellar, and the techno outfit is a show worthy of the bucket list.
Down in the Forgotten Cabin, clean cut, poised techno precision phosphorated from Dixon. Rounding things off with a cut of Solumun’s ‘Something We All Adore ft. The Cure’ stirred the hearts and minds of the crowd, leaving behind a bittersweet euphoria. Before that, on the baking Sunday afternoon, the Junkyard area, was teeming with feel-good downtempo delights, refreshingly warm and spicy like rum & ginger beer on Ice. Nightmares On Wax positively restored my groove with a sun-drenched soundtrack of hazy funk, dub-soul and chilled out grooves. Just hours before he shared insight, wisdom and a few nostalgic anecdotes about halcyon days in The Institute of Curious Minds. An arena that I ashamedly didn’t frequent as much as I’d hoped.
There were many auditory triumphs, but for me, it had to be the divine deliverance of Nina Kraviz who conquered the territory of the Forgotten Cabin on Saturday night. Poised, she elegantly stomped us through a sizzling set of thumping bass frequencies, and obsolete minimal, digital ambiances and beeps. Rounding things off with a tantalising live performance of her own hit ‘Desire.’ The crowd were bewitched under her gaze. Kraviz, Avalon Emerson, and Haai alike are verified proof that women are a crucial part of the electronic music landscape – more should be billed for next year.
Aside from living our best festival life in the confines of our bell tent, the boutique camping area was brilliantly positioned at the belly of the mainstage intersection. This meant waking up to melodious sounds wafting from an intersection of the Burial Ground. If there’s anything to be said about food and drink it’s that the food market was a street-food gourmand’s wet dream (pulled pork wagons, and a fully vegan, aromatic Indian curry van). All this paired with a number of artisan concept bars, serving above and beyond the tepid G&T from a tinny. Maybe a little too extravagant for four-day forest party? On the other hand, there were praises sung for Hawksmoor’s Tribal Banquet, and for £60 a pop it had to be something special. But seriously, where were the smoothies? It’s the go-to remedy for a sore, exhausted and gurn-ridden dry mouth.
Fruits aside, Lost Village delivered on its promise of a weekend away from it all. Balancing hedonism and healing in equal the measure the festival catered to a broad range of ravers, providing a faultless line-up for four days of dance indulgence. We can’t wait to escape again next year.