Head into an abandoned woodland village for Lincolnshire’s magical, intimate festival.
Deer? A swift shake of the head. No, of course not a deer. A bejewelled reveller darts past through the trees, sporting huge, gold antlers. And the illusion is broken.
That’s the thing about Lost Village – a surreal four-day dream in a secluded Lincolnshire woodland – you’re convinced the whole time that your mind is playing tricks on you. Because nothing could be so wonderful, and equally weird.
Self-dubbed as an “abandoned woodland village,” the apologetically abundant line-up of live music, crème de la crème of electronic talent, comedy, talks and 10/10 eats are just the tip of the iceberg.
Here’s seven reasons why Lost Village is one of the dreamiest new festivals on the UK circuit…
1. Into the woods
Straight away, upon tightening your wristband and taking your first painfully fresh countryside breath off the shuttle, you’re presented with something out of a pastoral fairy tale. Narrow dirt paths are bathed in the yellow glow of fairy lights and trees shoot up around you every which way, blanketing the stages and surroundings. The Lake of Tranquility is an aptly named oasis that sits in the heart of the festival, choc full of lily-pads, and surrounded by greenery and captivated (hungover) festival-goers.
2. Let them eat cake (and everything else)
You’ve probably never seen a rowdier group of empty-bellied, glitter-covered people than at the onset of Lost Village’s famed Tribal Banquet. Long lavish tables are decked out with rustic decorations (a comment heard like an echo was, “this is exactly what I want my wedding reception to look like”), and food. Food galore. Think sea trout, roe deer and a delicately crafted sheep’s milk and rose pudding that still has mouths watering at the memory. And don’t think for a second there was a dry glass in the house. Lime Mamont vodka cocktails, wine and espresso martinis made for a feast of Valhalla proportions. And in the main area? A Dishoom pop-up tent, marked by the London-familiar sight of hungry queuing guests.
3. All the world’s a stage
Disorientated as a description doesn’t even cut it. In an either evil (or completely well-intended genius move), the majority of the stages aren’t signposted, meaning that the first few days of navigation are like stumbling down Alice In Wonderland’s rabbit hole. But what begins as initial frustration, swiftly turns into community information passed between strangers – like a whispered secret. “Head left, and you’re there when you see decaying cars and mannequins in the trees.” Really. And once you find it – oh, what a treat. Tucked away in the thick foliage of the forest, Abandoned Chapel and Junkyard were highlights. Four Tet, Everything Everything, Mount Kimbie, Helena Hauff, Ben UFO and George Fitzgerald were only some of the sparkling sets.
4. Extra, extra
You go to a festival. You camp. And you listen to music. The standard formula for a festival never fails. But organisers for Lost Village went above and beyond, with jammy add-ons left, right and centre. Around the Lake of Tranquility you could hear the squeals of revellers dipping themselves into wood-fired hot tubs, or sweating out the decadence of the night before in dry-Finnish saunas. Elsewhere in the Institute of Curious Minds, festival-goers sat crossed-legged listening to talks like “How To Upgrade Your Orgasm” or Q&As with industry greats like Peggy Gou and Friendly Fires. The Lost Theatre housed laughs from comedic greats like Russell Kane and Joel Dommett. On the last night, a festival finale saw a vibrant procession down to the Lake of Tranquility, where there was a surreal dance performance, followed by a firework extravaganza.
5. Let your freak flag fly
Upon securing tickets, then comes the very palpable panic/WhatsApp group message flurry of “what the hell am I going to wear?” You see, the festival places an extra emphasis of stepping out of normal life completely – and this extends to extra AF attire. The website reads: “Lost in the sands of time, the village is inhabited by all manner of unusual people. It is customary for all who enter the woods to wear their colours with pride. A sign of unity between those who believe.” Antler head pieces? You ain’t seen nothing…
6. Ain’t no rest for the wicked
Except there is. Plenty of rest for the wicked. In an unusual move, all the stages shut at 1am every night (2am on Saturday night). Instead of flailing out of the tent blurry-eyed mid-afternoon, the emphasis at Lost Village is that festival goers catch the huge glittering line-up of daytime talks, comedy acts and activities. Coming back well-rested from a festival? Who would have thought?
7. No place like home
There’s nothing like the debaucherous after-hours proceedings in a festival camping area. But if you don’t fancy being curled up in a feather-light sleeping bag on a wonky slope, using a balled-up pair of jeans as a pillow – two words. Boutique camping. And Lost Village brought it when it came to luxury accommodation. Now we’re not just talking a tipi. We’re talking lush bedding, lanterns (to navigate those early morning flushing toilet trips), woven blankets, wooden camping chairs, and for those of you that really value your sleep? An eye mask and ear plugs really saved the day. Still holding onto the tipi pole when they’re trying to dismantle the festival? We don’t blame you.