As we wave farewell to Festival Number 6 – joining Secret Garden Party on the scrapheap – it’s a great time time for a newcomer to help fill a boutique-shaped gap in the British festival circuit. Enter Lost Village.
Now in it’s fourth year, the Norton Disney-based festival is no spring chicken, but its creative choice of headliners makes a refreshing change from the same old unimaginative pool of predictable names.
Soon after pitching up, a quick jog to the Main Stage was rewarded with the lush and worldly Maribou State – who blend The XX-esque guitars, pitch-bent samples and bright synths. Holly Walker’s voice is pitch perfect and unrivalled across the weekend.
Next up are the almost forgotten men Friendly Fires, who have returned from those late naughties days when indie finally began raising eyebrows again. Ed Macfarlane and co. sling an arsenal of funk-laced basslines into the night’s melting pot of electronica, delivering heaps of nostalgia and those trademark dad-dance moves. Love Like Waves, the lead single from their first record in seven years, airs late on in the set and suggests there’s plenty more life left in this quintessential festival band.
Saturday presents a chance to gorge on some mouth-watering Vietnamese and a stroll past the Lake of Tranquility, which eventually lead us to the Forgotten Cabin. A cloaked Zapatilla performs his dark and mysterious electronica, which only further whets the appetite for George Fitzgerald’s sunset performance back on the Main Stage.
A glittering blend of debut and sophomore material invigorates a surprisingly sparse audience at Fiztgerald’s set, his latest lead single ‘Burns’ impressing most alongside a steely set-closing rendition of Jon Hopkins’ ‘Open Eye Signal’.
A subsequent stroll into the site’s fairy light-draped, dense woodlands unveiled the truly spiritual experience at Lost Village. The woods are otherworldly, brimming with both debauchery and a real sense of collectivism – not one bust-up spotted all weekend, and you’d be dam hard-pushed to make that claim at this weekend’s alternative festival options.
Daniel Avery, who has released some of the finest and most pulsating techno in the 21st Century, is the night’s highlight in the woods. Deep blue neon strobes spray a nearly pitch-black audience, who grow more euphoric the deeper Avery’s acidic squelches span into the night.
Sunday daytime becomes partially a write-off, as relentless rain relegates crowds back to their tents – few stages provide overhead shelter for the downpour. Fortunately the Comedy Stage does, so many flock this tent to catch the final few comedians. Glenn Wool, ballsy enough to drop jokes on abortion and paedophilia to the disgust of some and hilarity of others, was penultimate to the slightly less dark but razor-sharp Russell Kane.
The comedy continues over at the Main Stage as Craig Charles’ triple-cheese DJ set can’t be taken too seriously, but did get many on their feet as the effervescent atmosphere shows no sign of waning in the final night.
The final headliners, Everything Everything, enter a now dark and smoky fray with title-track from Mercury-nominated album ‘A Fever Dream’. It translates gorgeously live, a majestic stadium-ready anthem keen to go onto bigger things. Whilst the maximalist and frenetic set twisted and morphed throughout as ingeniously as expected, the mesmerising light show only intensified the emotional themes and lyricism on offer.
The four-piece, more used to less prominent slots to lukewarm audiences, seize the headline slot challenge with completely immersive production. The bridge of latest single ‘Breadwinner’, for example, plunges the audience into hell as haywire blood-red strobes beam from behind Jon Higgs (lead) who tells us ‘now you’re gonna live with the devil’. The double-whammy punch of Distant Past and No Reptiles see out a sing-along, confetti-spraying encore. More headline slots for EE in 2019 please.
Most festivals in 2018 have had a fair few logistical downfalls to be exposed, but Lost Village seems almost watertight. The bizarre staff desertion of Hell’s Parlour Bar on the final night (to the delight of looters who commandeer vodka and wrap their mouths around draught taps) was one major failure, but you can’t imagine too many fans will be making complaints against that one. Maybe that’s karma for the notably over-stringent limitations on bringing alcohol from home to the campsite.
A glowing atmosphere, stellar lineup and a setting full of adventure all make this festival an almighty triumph. This one is up there rubbing shoulders with the best, in Lost Village there’s a 5 star festival to be found.