We jumped at the chance to head to Lost Village festival as it entered its second year, with the promise of a weird but wonderful, all-consuming experience. Located in a secluded forest, we heard that the partygoers might not be the only visitors to the woods this weekend, with rumours of unusual characters also treading the leafy path, ready to tell us tales of the village when we least expected it.
With the clever use of a simple app, the team certainly knew how to wind us up so we were ready to go full speed at the main event. Prior to the May bank holiday weekend we used the app to select the artists we wanted to see most, to create our own personalised line-up. This app continued to assist our festival experience with a well timed message popping up on our screen as we cruised on the coach to the Lost Village Woods.
‘We are so excited for tonight!’ it beamed – and in an instant, we were too. Little did we know that upon selecting our chosen line up, the app continued to help by adding reminders in to our calendar to inform us of when to head to each stage throughout the weekend – appearing even when our mobile internet was turned off to reserve the precious phone battery all weekend, this was a smart and helpful move by the organisers.
With our tent all set up we couldn’t wait to head through the campsite and into the woods. Our evening started later on, at around 10pm – by then the festival was in full first night swing with excited faces everywhere, omnipresent energy and a plethora of treats to feast our eyes and ears upon.
Making our way through the main gathering area of Basecamp, we headed straight through the gates of the forest and into the main stage, The Burial Ground. There we found Fatboy Slim starting the party like only he can, amongst a sea of incredible lights and oversized voodoo dolls hanging above the cover of the stage.
Halfway into his set, we caught him at his peak time electro house goodness, with the 2006 anthem ‘We Are Your Friends’ by Justice VS Simian Mobile Disco. This track was one that sparked the interest in electronic music for many 20 something ravers as they entered our teens, and is still as loved now as it was 10 years ago.
It wasn’t long before we were drawn to explore the forest further, and headed down the winding mud path surrounded by the leafy canopy that lead to the other stages. Although not a large site, Lost Village stuck true to its name with us and most other festival goers constantly asking each other for directions to find the stage we were looking for.
Even after the third day there, we still hadn’t cracked the winding maze of the Lost Village woods. As a result, rather than chase the line ups we chose to explore throughout the weekend, to soak up the experiences and follow our ears instead.
Our ears this time led us to Ben Klock at ‘The Cabin’ located deep into the forest. There the master was suitably drenching the spooky woods in equally as eerie techno, yet the excitement of the first night led us to wander further to get our bearings and find out what else was in store.
On our travels we encountered our first experience with the characters of the woods that we had much anticipated. A macabre procession of ghostly villagers and woodland creatures travelled slowly through the forest, carrying church candles and chanting to stagnant drones on an accordion, only to switch abruptly into an upbeat dance, swinging arms with passers by.
Our first night journey ended up at The Lookout, at the start of the festival site. Here Bicep had pulled in an excitable crowd with a driving set of oldschool rave classics. A perfect soundtrack we thought, reminiscent of the 90s party era that this festival evoked a similar spirit of with its emphasis on fun, fancy dress and overall escapism. Biceps tune ‘Just’ also stood out to us as it did too others who were there, echoing again from tents in our campsite as we left the stage and ended day one.
With the help of face paint and props we transformed into our tribal selves before heading back in at 3pm the next day to find Apollonia member Dan Ghenacia at the ‘Lost Cabin’ stage that Ben Klock had graced the night before. Although the stage was grooving with rolling minimalist beats, Ghenacia was nowhere to be seen. We were told that he also got lost on his way to the festival – it seems that the confusion of the village had won once again!
Instead we headed to the Abandoned Chapel stage for the first time, where Berlin based Palms Trax was shaping up the daytime proceedings nicely with a bouncy and funky party set – amongst others, 'Erotic City' by Prince was heard, cementing his place as an icon in musical history.
With the sun shining, we enjoyed an afternoon of lakeside chilling by the spa area, watching on as revellers enjoyed hot tub sessions and archery lessons as a soothing break from the killer line up the festival had pulled. However, when evening fell we followed instructions on the programme to gather back at the lake for 9:30pm, where we were treated to an ethereal vision as the ‘Ritual of the Waters’ commenced. A single villager sailed out into the lake with a boat decorated with flames, before a firework spectacular lit up the festival and wowed those who were lucky to get to the water on time.
This was the calm before the storm of that evening’s activities, as we ventured back to the Abandoned Chapel stage to catch Leon Vynehall play one of the standout sets. Since the crowd had grown due to Saturday arrivals, Vynehall played to a packed out dancefloor, eager to party – and bring the party he did with the sleazy bass line of Paranoid London’s ‘Eating Glue’, closely followed by the, now classic, hypnotic Moloko – ‘Sing it back’ (Herbert’s tasteful dub) sending smiles amongst the crowd.
Although it took us a little longer to enter the festival again on Sunday morning, following the late night of Saturdays antics, this was the day that we had looked forward to most. With a stellar set of DJs and live acts on offer, it was impossible to decide where to go for the final day of Lost Village fun.
After enjoying an incredible ‘Dirty Dog’ from one of the great selection of food stalls in Basecamp, we headed deep into the woods again where Greg Wilson welcomed us back to the Abandoned Chapel with Massive Attack's ‘Unfinished Symphony’. Always on musical point, this track hit the spot with the crowd perfectly with dancers singing along to the timeless trip hop track.
Just as expected, we spent the evening cruising from stage to stage, trying to catch a slither of each artist we were dying to see. Amongst others, we were treated to a DJ set from contemporary disco heroes Crazy P, as leading lady Daniele Moore sung over the top of a set of chugging funk fuelled tunes.
DJ Koze stunned the forest dwellers at The Cabin with his skilled selections and Fatima Yamaha and KiNK took to The Lookout, one after another, closing the festival off in style with a great helping of electronic gear between them.
If anything can be said about Lost Village Festival, it certainly aimed to give us an unforgettable experience like no other. A final exploration of the woods saw us end our weekend at The Bureau of Lost – with no lineup anywhere to see, this stage promised to be the wild card with all manner of genres and moods blasting from the speakers throughout the event. Here an unknown DJ signed off with the roaring riff of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ – an unexpected ending yet thoroughly enjoyed by those who had their final dance to the metal classic.
With a combination of great organisation, a good-willed crowd, great food stalls, superb production effort and ultimately a line up to rival many, it is easy to see why even after it’s second year, Lost Village Festival has built up a loyal following. We’re not quite sure exactly what happened once we entered the portal behind the rust gates of the Lost Village in Lincolnshire, but we can’t wait to do it all again next year.