Lost Village is a truly a festival that spares no expense. We heard this endorsement before we even entered the site - from a regular who has worked bars at all manner of boutique forest festivals. “There were little details missing,” he said of other similar festivals; here, every last one was taken care of.
And indeed, at Lost Village, every single tree available was festooned in lights. Forget about plain old stages – here, acts performed in “forgotten cabins” stowed away in the woods or “airbase” style fairgrounds which felt so interactive they could be paintball courses rather than music venues. We danced in discarded airplane cockpits and old bumper cars, while other punters hung from trees and slid gleefully about in the mud that built up over three days of hot-stepping.
The energy was high and everyone seemed to be partying as if it was the last weekend of the summer - or even longer. One man we met, who was part of a herd of 30 people dressed as zebras, told us that this was his last big blow out before he and his wife go sober as they prepare to have a baby.
The musicians seemed to have the same attitude: I’ve seen a great deal of them before, and nearly all played harder, dirtier and more intense sets than usual. Four Tet mixed A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton into grime tracks like I Spy by Skepta (better than it sounds, I swear) and Overmono left jaws on the floor with remixed versions of their instant classics.
Even Bonobo, who feels like an atmospheric, safe-pair-of-hands type of DJ most of the time, pushed the boat out and showed people what he was really capable of, with a series of pop samples and discordant noises that felt equal parts impressive and entertaining.
Peggy Gou was as cool as ever, blowing the roof off the semi-covered main stage with her new chart-topping hit (It Goes Like) Na Na Na. The best, though, had to be Joy Orbison, who flexed every musical muscle he had in a two hour set which felt like a lawless free party. Apart from a few crazy Four Tet moments that sounded like the inside of a wormhole, anything highbrow was left at the door, with a raised intensity that maintained enjoyment.
And while the music may have had a raised intensity, the crowd did not - no aggy, jaw-swinging or other-body-part-swinging behaviour here. It was a mix of ages, with people who felt playful and more friendly than most festivals.
Another friend we made while sat in a disused convertible car one night said it was the “least pretentious” festival he’d ever been to, which, as someone who recently attended Houghton and Field Day two weekends in a row, I can’t quibble with. Yes, those festivals may be über stylish, but you’re a lot less likely to see those attendees hanging from branches or embracing the swampy woodland stages.
The endurance and commitment to having a good time felt like that of Glastonbury-goers. And to be fair, this is an incredibly solid option for anybody who misses out on tickets next year.
Overall, Lost Village is best summed up by its tagline: “those on the outside will never understand.” You have to admit, it feels akin to the way people talk about the antics over at Worthy Farm each year.