The secret is out: inside the electrifying fifth year of Lincolnshire’s dystopian paradise.
It’s midnight. Above us, branches are glinting with hanging vinyls, revellers dressed like ostriches stretch out in a stationary vintage car, and a few metres away people weave out of the windows of what looks like the front half of a grounded plane. And on the pathways and in between the trees? Bewildered head-scratching. Pointing and gesturing. It can only be the third day of Lost Village, and no one is any closer to figuring out what direction they should be heading in.
But this is the magic of the intimate 4-day festival, taking place in a secluded woodland near the village of Norton Disney, Lincolnshire. Having come into its fifth year now, with the line-up meeting near-perfection, and with the additions of new stages and absolutely blazing Bank Holiday temperatures, here are 7 reasons why Lost Village is well on its way to becoming one of the UK’s best festivals…
If you thought the stages of 2018’s Lost Village were impressive – one word. Airbase. On the Sunday, you felt part of one pulsating, hedonistic mass, as the crowds surged into the woods, shadowed by the looming industrial stage structure. All around were dystopian aircrafts in varying levels of decay – with the peak being Motor City Drum Ensemble going into a disco frenzy on the final night. Elsewhere, the intimate Watcher’s Holt set retained its magic from last year, with wood chips softening the floor and peeks of the moon visible above the lattice vined ceiling.
Speaking of Watcher’s Holt, pure magic filled the air every single night through a series of impromptu secret sets. A boisterous throwback surprise set from Bondax, soulful head-shaking jams poured straight in from Jayda G, and the New Zealand-hailed Chaos in the CBD boys threw down acid techno in a sweaty set. And the festival once again highlighted its increasing focus on their live act bookings with Maribou State returning this year and Little Dragon putting on an electrifying set. At the Lost Theatre stage, laughs rained down for Russell Kane, and at the Institute for Curious Minds, we sampled everything from talks from Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, to the cringiest of online dating horror stories.
When I say festival, you say… cocktails? Not usually two words you’d find in the same sentence, but Lost Village caters to all levels of boujiness, and thankfully so, especially on days that the hair of the dog is much-needed. A Patrón Tequila margarita masterclass was just what the doctor ordered, situated in the Patrón bar within the new Lake House, adding some unusual refinery to the proceedings. After the host went through the history of Patrón, then it was onto the fun part: a chance to make your own margaritas, which trust me, in 29 degree weather, was sheer heaven. And since it’s always good to start as you mean to go on, then off to the pop-up Polish Białowieza Forest where Żubrówka cocktails were served in up, with their Bloody Marys as a certified godsend every day from 11am onwards.
Last year’s celebrations had a truly magical setting, but 2019 really blew it all out of the water, especially with the addition of the Airbase stage, which saw planes dotted around everywhere like a giant aircraft ruins. When it feels like everything is burning in the real world, what everyone needs is an escape, and Lost Village served, with the woodlands transformed into a wacky, treasure-box dystopia, where the lights would switch purple, red, blue – illuminating all of us pleasure-seeking creatures in a disco-hued glow.
Not many people would associate festivals with good eats, but Lost Village understands the importance of sustenance. And if you’re going to do it, do it in style. This year, they pulled out all the stops with their famous boundary-pushing tribal banquets. Open-fire cooking, Mexican-style feasts, Hawksmoor, cocktails, wine and more. As per usual, guests got rowdier the deeper into the proceedings. You gotta love it.
There’s always a bit of trepidation in the days leading up to a British summer festival (please no rain), but thankfully the Bank Holiday weather gods were kind. 29 degrees too kind, to be precise. And while this seemed like a blessing (and it really, really was), it was also an endurance test of surviving imminent heat stroke. But one thing that took the sting off the heat exhaustion every night, was going to sleep in real beds in airy bell tents – available in the Boutique Sanctuary area. Also included in the area: showers with a minimal queue (a necessity with the impromptu glorious sunshine), and a glam area complete with hair-dryers and straighteners. Actual heaven. And when it comes to sorting out your post-festival hair/birds nest, we headed to Blue Tit London for some post-festival pampering and smoothing. Dreamy.