Reviewed: Lost Village 2018
Once a year, deep in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside, there is an event, considered a small boutique festival by their own admission, Lost Village offer up “An otherworldly experience” four days of music, food and fun. My friends and I were lucky enough to attend Chapter IV this year and in the following, I will attempt to do the event justice.
Thursday and it’s a midday journey for me and mine, travelling up to Newark Northgate, where we would be taken on a boutique bus to the boutique camp entrance, that’s correct I did just say boutique. Lost Village offer up boutique camping for those who do not fancy pitching their own tents and after a slightly late opening time it was a fairly rapid move through security into boutique reception, after a quick check in at reception we were shown to our tent, one of many offerings in the boutique sanctuary, ours equipped with a clothes rack, electricity, a mirror and a spacious area with chairs, table and double bed inside, which granted would have been actually ideal had it not rained pretty much all weekend. The tent setup seemed somewhat ill equipped to deal with continuous rain, which is a shame because had this been in place and everything in the tent not been damp every morning it would have been amazing. Absolutely huge shout out to neighbours Dan and Guy for introducing us to the “Hairdryer” technique, warming and drying in one foul swoop!! One last gripe before moving onto the good bits (and there are lots of them) the internet was down, so contactless was out of the question which was a minor inconvenience to anyone looking to pay by card.
So onto the good stuff then, boutique camping offered up a really nice toilet setup alongside showers with hot running water, its own bar, coffee stand and food van, which was ideal, as queues outside were beyond unreasonable at the peak times of day.
Offering up an assortment of food ranging from pizza to Chinese food, from waffles to tea and crumpets, from burgers to burritos, there wasn’t much that Lost Village hadn’t thought of, a powerful setup for your “long stay” campers, the food quality was far above average especially when compared with some of the more, shall we say, main stream festivals available on the market. The entertainment was equally diverse, offering up everything from talks by DJs, through to comedians, axe throwing and archery. If none of that tickles your fancy then you can go make some jewellery at Forgers Lane, an area for the more creative types, looking to get in touch with nature and make some cool s**t, amazing stuff!
After getting a little crazy with the entertainment, you could always relax in the Spa, complete with massages and hot tubs looking over a lake.
Now that we have covered off a couple of bad points and the basics of food and entertainment let’s talk about the bit I love…. The music!!
Lost Village offers a diverse, stellar line up covering everything from 60s, 70s, 80s, disco, hip hop, house and techno, this festival is about creating an experience that will be a hard one to forget, on the line up you can catch the likes of The Black Madonna, Haai, Maribou State, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Ross from Friends, Four Tet, Mount Kimbie, Fatima, Saoirse, Mr Scruff, DJ Harvey and many more than I can list here.
So as you might have guessed already I didn’t really have time to see everyone so let me take you on my journey through the village that has been lost.
It’s around 7.30pm on Thursday and time for the crew to mobilise, the music offering is slim pickings for the early birds and having the choice of Artwork or The Black Madonna we decided to go with the latter. Heading over to the main stage, aptly named the burial ground, we make our way out of the camp and past the many food stalls, Honey Dijon is throwing down her trademark house come techno set, a brilliant DJ in high demand at the moment and rightly so! Honey is pure class, playing what she wants how she wants, she has the whole crowd bouncing along to her vibe, wolf whistles in time with the loops and cuts she is pulling from the mixer and dropping an edit of ‘Gypsy Woman’, the rain coming down lightly but no one caring, she is taking people away from the dreary weather and raising moods with some uplifting house cuts.
Then it’s time for my favourite DJ of the moment to step up, The Black Madonna, her sets are becoming somewhat legendary (if they aren’t considered this already), a regular at Panorama Bar The Black Madonna is truly a master of the DJ craft, her mixing is as diverse as they come, delivering thumping techno from the incredible sound system transitioning with ease through house techno and 80s music. Never have I seen a DJ consistently have the crowd in the palm of their hand as The Black Madonna, starting the set on something a little housey, it isn’t very long before the dirty distorted drums of techno take over, somewhere between tribal and industrial she walks a line not many are capable of, but it’s the closing 20 minutes of any Black Madonna set that shows you her true skill, flicking from techno into a breakbeat Drum and Bass breakdown she instantly grips the crowds attention, throwing in some disco cuts with 80s synth-heavy pop music, mixing genres and tracks that others would struggle to even conceive mixing together let alone attempting to do so and all off the cuff no less, ending on the original ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, classic, masterful, inspiring.
Friday is a fairly early outing and a chance to check out the other stages, now open for business. Lost Village offers an immersive experience, a Junkyard, a Forgotten Cabin and an Abandoned Chapel are just a few of the amazing settings for the DJs to bring the ravers into another world. The first DJs to really catch my attention were Optimo, residents at Sub Club in Scotland, a venue that doesn’t need much introduction, the energetic underground feel of their music clearly demonstrates why and possibly how their legendary night of the same name rose to fame, mixing house and techno with leftfield records this duo are an experience to behold, their driving techno beats rolling out between the trees of the forgotten cabin was something unexpected this early in the evening, towards the end breaking down Bronski Beat – ‘Small Town Boy’ in a way that could only shock and awe, the mastery these two have found together is as niche as it is creative.
Managing to catch a little bit of Mall Grab it was time for us to move on, we had heard through the grapevine (Massive big ups to Lauren and Anna you legends!!) that there would be some interesting secret sets being played on this night.
The secret sets at Lost Village happen in the Watchers Holt, a club within the festival itself, complete with queuing and security, we got there in time to catch HAAi b2b Daniel Avery, dropping some abstract deep seated techno flecked with the outer world sounds that are synonymous with Lost Village, dark acid basslines, distorted beats, somehow delivered in an intimate setting inside of a festival, astonishing!! Next up was The Black Madonna, able to be even more creative and diverse than she was at the main stage, this set a little more on par with the dark cutting edge techno of the Berghain, but enough has already been said about this wonderful lady.
Saturday then, first name on the teams agenda was OR:LA, the Irish girl is a star in her own right even though she is still on the rise. Driving her sets with fairly heavy techno this creative DJ caught the eye of Paul Rose AKA Scuba who really brought her through on the scene and it’s easy to see why, her depth in music choice playing an early set really affirmed why she is swiftly becoming an extremely sought after DJ, keeping it a little softer but still drawing on the bouncy tribal techno beats that get us grooving, her sound emanated out of the forgotten cabin, swiftly packing it out very early in the day.
Then it was on to Mr Scruff over at the abandoned chapel, playing a 3 hour set this vinyl crate digger showed us all what he was about, his sets are diverse and hard to describe, drawing from music he loves all I can really say that Mr Scruff is engaging and enigmatic, highly recommend this long time DJ genius.
Then it’s a short trek through the woods, back to the Forgotten Cabin in time to catch Helena Hauff. There is a lot to be said for female techno DJs at the moment, really stamping their mark on the scene which I’m a huge advocate of and Helena Hauff is certainly one of the best, producing on an analogue setup her tracks are stripped back and gritty, as are her sets, heavy drums, low driving bass flecked with abstract acid Helena is honestly at the cutting edge of Techno frequently traversing into what can only be categorised as “electro” her out worldly sound fitting in perfectly with the overall vibe of Lost Village. Easily setting the tone for the rest of the acts at the forgotten cabin, the light show working hand in hand with her abstract sounds to transport the listeners into another realm.
A quick break and a nip over to catch Peggy Gou, a great DJ who frankly dropped some of the best tech house I have heard all year, the Junkyard absolutely “going off” as they say, people are dancing on cars, in old baths and enjoying what Peggy has to offer up.
Then its back to the cabin for the rest of the evening and to Daniel Avery, a man whose DJ sets always deliver, the sun has gone and the blue and green light show – of the cabin radiates through the trees as Avery drops his no hold bars Techno, heavy, dark and in your face the cabin is really starting to fill up, the heavy distorted kicks dancing between the trees, acid bass rolling out and off into the forest. Letting up slightly toward the end of the set and moving into something a little more, spacey, shall we say Avery paths the way for Ben UFO.
Ben UFO, an act many visit the village to see shouldn’t need much introduction. A true DJs DJ, Ben UFOs rise to fame has been slower than some, his vinyl sets are as mythical as the man himself, eclectic and enigmatic doesn’t even begin to describe how Ben has refined the art form of DJing, playing what he likes, always off the cuff his skill behind the decks on a techno set are second to none. And I mean that. Having never produced to keep in touch with the reason he loves music, because it feels alien to him, Ben UFO is an apt name to describe him and his sets. His baseline of work stems from Techno but easily moves through breakbeats, Drum and Bass, acid and electro. Taking people on a musical journey the likes of which they likely have not experienced before dropping the old classic ‘Flat Beat’ by Mr Oizo, yes that’s correct, from the Levi advert, his DJing knows no bounds. A clear highlight of the festival and highly recommended. Ben UFO is a true selector and credit to the electronic music industry!
Unfortunately, after days of rain, to wake up to a cold rainy day on Sunday it was time for me to leave but not before witnessing the festival finale which included a procession down to the lake and fireworks, a truly perfect way to end my Lost Village experience. The crew packed up and shipped out back to London.
I highly recommend Lost Village to anyone looking for an experience outside the norm, with great production effort, amazing music and entertainment, definitely an experience that should be enjoyed by any festival goer!