Lost Village is an intimate festival based in woodlands and fields beside a lake in Lincolnshire. This was only their third year of operation and having visited last year it’s clear that they are looking to progressively improve the experience year-on-year. The attendance had also increased from something like 5000 in 2016 to around 9000 now.
We reached the festival by train from Leeds, which took little over an hour to Newark even with one change, making it one of the nearest music festivals that appeal to my tastes. On reaching the station there was a short wait for a shuttle bus that takes around 20 minutes to reach the festival site. Gaining access was reasonably efficient and security gave cursory checks but nothing too intrusive. This year the event had been extended to 4 days from 3 last year and also moved to the end of August from the end of May in 2016. By a stroke of luck this meant that we enjoyed 5 days of glorious weather, something of a rarity for UK festivals!
The first evening was relatively light on entertainment with only the main Burial Ground stage open. Here Erol Alkan got the party going with his unique brand of indie-meets-electronic beats. This is the largest of the stages and set under a canopy in a large field area where most of the bars and food outlets are located. The atmosphere was already becoming thick with excitement and anticipation for the weekend. 2Many DJs followed Erol but weren’t to my tastes so we headed back to the campsite to get acquainted with old friends and introduced to new characters.
We awoke on Friday to glorious sunshine and mid-20 degree temperatures. I’ve definitely struck it lucky this year having also enjoyed a sunny and dry Glastonbury. It really makes a massive difference to any festival experience, although us Brits would make the most of it whatever the weather.
Today all the festival stages were open so we spent the day familiarising ourselves with the layout as they are all hidden in parts of the woodland which can become difficult to navigate in an inebriated state in semi darkness!
With the glorious weather we spent a good part of the day relaxing and laughing besides the gorgeous setting of the Lake of Tranquility. Later on I headed to the Abandoned Chapel where Pedestrian was laying down an original set of future garage and funky techno that was as impressive as the new soundsystems. Last year I found them too quiet for the main part but this year the volume levels were generally perfect and they all had punchy bass and crisp highs without being overpowering. Looking through the rest of the lineup for Friday night I decided that it wasn’t exactly to my taste and so turned in relatively early to save myself for the rest of the weekend (I must be getting old!)
Saturday was when the festival really kicked into gear for me. We started off in The Junkyard, which was a new addition this year and one of my favourite locations. This had a generally more relaxed feel than the other stages and although Bill Brewster’s set was sparsely populated we had a lot of fun dancing on top of the scrapped cars dotted around the arena. This soundsystem had a warmer, more musical feel that was reflected in the acts that were lined up to appear here. Later on Legowelt played some driving acid basslines in the forgotten Cabin and Call Super played one of the sets of the weekend in The Abandoned Chapel. His style reflected his excellent productions, veering between polished melodic cuts and sexy breakbeats with a smooth mixing style. Nina Kraviz was next up, attracting a large, tightly-packed crowd to the Forgotten Cabin to close out Saturday night.
I was excited to catch Nina’s set for the first time having been a longtime fan of her productions and label and she didn’t disappoint. A couple of early percussion clashes in her mixing were soon forgotten as she settled into a tough selection of acid trax, melodic interludes and a handful of her own productions. I really admire her unique style with timeless selections and innovative mixing and the odd vinyl crackle giving it a vintage feel. This was another highlight of the weekend for me.
This year the main stages all closed at 2am, which is relatively early for an electronic music festival. However the daytime programming meant that the party atmosphere started early. This was typified by Nightmares on Wax early on Sunday afternoon in the Junkyard who delivered a set of feel good 110bpm house, funk and soul that perfectly matched the sun-kissed last day vibe of the festival. Many of our group rated this as the best set of the weekend (I couldn’t pick a winner from those mentioned here). After that we headed over to the Burial Ground for Max Cooper. It is somewhat rare to catch Max DJing now as he is heavily involved in live A/V performances. However, It was clear to see he hadn’t lost his touch and his set was a mixture of uplifting melodic techno, funky breaks and glitchy rhythms, dropping classics such as Metro Area’s Muria and Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker and finishing with a “how did he do that?” mix from an ambient track into some liquid drum and bass workout.
Closing out the main stage on the final night were the inimitable Moderat, who had announced that this would be their final UK gig before going their separate ways indefinitely. The atmosphere was electric in The Burial Ground and the German outfit played an excellent set that perhaps even surpassed the first time I caught them earlier in the year at Glastonbury. This time a lot of their tracks were extended and there was more interaction with the crowd, with one of the Modeselektor guys praising the festival for it’s “proper family atmosphere”. As you’d expect, their massive hit “Bad Kingdom” caused something of a meltdown. Finally, Dixon closed out the festival at the forgotten Cabin, which for me was an enjoyable and smooth mix of Innervisions-type melodic house but didn’t reach the heights of the other artists I saw. I turned in an hour before the end, happy that I’d had my fill of great music.
As shown from their changes year-on-year the Lost Village team don’t rest on their Laurels and there are still some minor improvements that could enhance the festival still further. I’d like to see more bars and more food outlets. It didn’t seem like there were any more than last year despite the increased capacity. At one point I found myself waiting for 30 minutes for a beer on Saturday afternoon before eventually giving up and more choice and less queues for food would be more than welcome. Another annoyance to me but no fault of the festival was the awful state that a lot of festival-goers left their campsites. It doesn’t take much effort to put rubbish in a bin or pack a tent away at the end of a festival..sort it out guys and girls!
Overall though this weekend was one of the best festivals I have attended and the glorious weather was a welcome added bonus. There’s just something special about dancing to electronic music in the forest! The stage design is well thought out and the grounds and wooded areas are dotted with sculptures and visual treats. Additionally they have a team of actors acting out Lost Village scenarios across the weekend, although this time I was so engrossed in the music I didn’t pay them much attention. Every set I saw was great and I hope they continue with selecting these varied lineups in the future. Highly recommended.