Somewhere around Norton Disney speeding down the A46 three beers deep, we clocked the yellow roadwork signs for Lost Village Festival and swung a right.
For its second year, festival directors and Moda Black label bosses Jaymo and Andy George have described their vision as “A surreal, otherworldly experience in an abandoned woodland village, resonating the sound of the world’s finest artists” and to say we were excited for a hidden weekend of house music hedonism would be a ‘mild’ understatement.
After twenty or so miles cruising through the stunning Lincolnshire countryside, the B road took us deeper into the forest and anticipation started to rise. Once inside the press campsite we cracked another beer and admired our pop-up tent handiwork. With the red sun setting through the trees, the sounds of Late Nite Tuff Guy’s “Do I Believe In God” Prince edit drifted across the campsite. Time for a wander.
After a few more sets on the Saturday we’d actually come to realise that it had practically become prerequisite for the entire DJ roster to play at least one Prince track, but at that point it was still fresh and exciting and we stumbled happily onwards.
Bypassing the Michelin starred Banquet tent the festival opened up directly to the main Burial Ground stage with Fatboy Slim mid-slay. The big beat behemoth deftly transitioned through Wildchild’s “Renegade Master” into Cook’s own “Eat Sleep Rave Repeat” and out to Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache (Jump on it)“. I couldn’t bring myself to note down the next track as it was far too cheesy, but by that time we’d decided to scarper anyway and left everyone to their yellow tinged euphoria – see below.
The sun had set by now but the production values were shining bright. The entire tent was adorned with hanging rag corpse statuettes and (for a small scale boutique festival) one heck of a light show. After the electrifying cheese-fest we decided we needed to step our game up and went to hunt down Ben Klock. Unable to find him (appropriate considering the name of the festival) we ended up at the after-hours Lookout stage for Bicep instead and a celebration of life through the medium of house.
Due to licensing regulations the music turned off at 1am, so the crowd amassed in whatever communal spaces were left – in this case an open sided tent with a piano and the Theatre Tent – before deciding to call it a night.
Awaking to the dawn chorus of hacking coughs (my own), we sparked up, grabbed some beers and headed back in. Meandering through Basecamp we inspected the food options (although it would turn out we wouldn’t be eating for another 28 hours…). Of the seven or so eateries, the one everyone went mad for was Breakfast Club with their gigantic illuminated sign proclaiming ‘BACON’. Shout out to Buddha Bowls though who gave us our first food of the weekend on Sunday afternoon and Smokestack for the early evening hot beef injection.
Music-wise, for some reason I’d had a preconception that there’d be at least a vague Balearic feel to the afternoons, but the daytime programming consisted of sort of vaguely electro, 2009-esque indie rock bands. No-one was watching them though as everyone was stuck in the queue for Breakfast Club the entire afternoon. Bacon rolls 1 – Guitar music 0.
We decided to use this opportunity of out of place music and no desire to chew anything other than our eyebrows to investigate the site further and headed to the newest addition to the festival – the much lauded Lake of Tranquility. The area was intended for relaxing, rejuvenating daytime activities such as morning yoga sessions, roofless hot tubbing and archery. We eschewed these and hit up the Grey Goose cocktail stand.
By now the music was picking up again. The rope-lined track led us curving through the woods accompanied by the sounds of The Beatnuts’ “Off The Books” (cheerfully, not the last time we got to hear this stone cold classic) and arrived at the Abandoned Chapel for Artwork slamming out a riotous disco set. It was exceptional. Did he play Prince? Of course he did. It went off.
The setting of this stage was easily the best of the four. Tunnelling outwards from a DIY chapel stage, lined from both sides and above with the sunlight glittering through trees and only one entrance, this was the lost village I’d been described. Other stages, barring some decorative nuances, could have been at any other festival, but this was Lost Village Festival through and through.
Ex-Phonica employee and current Berlin resident Palms Trax followed Artwork’s masterclass with an array of funked up bangers then we headed straight back to catch Heidi at the Burial Ground. The Ibizan tech house pomp continued with Bristolian big man Eats Everything. Surrounded by smoke machines, confetti cannons and with arms spread wide it was as if David Guetta had eaten David Guetta. In the best way possible of course. But we couldn’t stay (as much as we would’ve liked to considering his masterful breakdown into Mariah Carey).
We’d been informed that the Rothschild’s-esque tribal procession was already making its way through the site for the lakeside fireworks spectacular, led by the weird and wonderful Lost Village characters, and rushed off to join. The sight of a fireworks display mirrored off the black water of a shimmering lake was of particularly significant beauty in our by now completely addled state and we spent the rest of the night by its banks recounting the days’ events. Events I’d be a fool to publish.
Starting a bit later on Sunday we kicked things off with an anthemic, jubilant set from Vauxhall residents Horse Meat Disco. Transplanting the atmosphere of their famed Sunday night residency at The Eagle to a Sunday afternoon at the Abandoned Chapel was done to devastating effect, pulling out all the crucial classics. They followed their mandatory Prince tune (“1999” if I remember correctly) with Teddy Pendergrass and Larry Levan’s remix of “Stand On The World” and truly bought ‘Paradise’ to the Village.
Ben Pearce (Sex Tape) followed with some jacked up, funky tech (not the HudMo Valentine’s day R&B the name might suggest). Later, at the press tent for the first time of the weekend we found Craig Charles, replete with leather waistcoat, soaking up the sun prior to his Funk & Soul set at the Lookout, before DJ Koze rounded off the festival with a trademark mind-bending, soul fulfilling, atmospheric journey of a set. A perfectly twisted end to a perfectly twisted weekend.