Reviewed: Lost Village
“It’s a bank holiday miracle”, the weatherman declared, and how true that statement proved to be. Searing in the remainder of the weekend heat, tribes of happy campers eventually left for home after receiving a comprehensive musical and cultural education. Lessons were learned – such as how bloody good Move D is.
Tucked away in the forests of Lincolnshire was a delightfully noisy yet equally serene civilisation, filled with collective, feverish anticipation of a carefully selected line up that catered to many a taste. Most festivals aim to live up to such hyperbolic descriptions, often falling short of the mark, but Lost Village can claim to truly pass the acid test.
Arriving on the Friday afternoon, hearing of the previous night’s teasers left us expectant and hopeful of the weekend ahead. Before a hazy sunset descended upon the evening sky, Baba Stiltz and his luscious locks gave us our first taste of the Abandoned Chapel, Eddie Ness’ ‘Afro’ sounding crisper, cleaner and warmer than ever. Our new spiritual home and adopted place of worship appealed to those in search of uplifting grooves and enlightenment.
Travelling and tent-pitching granted us large appetites, and before long we found ourselves at the front of the queue for some of the finest (and spiciest) burritos we’ve ever had the pleasure of sinking our teeth into. Sitting atop a haystack and still becoming accustomed to our new surroundings, Fango’s remix of Red Axes’ ‘Sun My Sweet Sun’ could be heard chiming away in the depths of the woodland.
Bellies full, we marched back to the Abandoned Chapel to experience one of our favourite sets of the weekend, from Pedestrian. Not conforming to the four to the floor dogma, a stand-out hour of diverse selections left us hungry for more. Never before did ‘Go’, by The Chemical Brothers, sound so hypnotic; warping acid tones erupting as the song (and the set) hit its peak.
Mysterious figures stood overlooking the main stage, The Burial Ground, where we encountered the finale of Loyle Carner’s prelude to De La Soul. Surprisingly popular amongst a headsy crowd, ‘NO CD’, Carner’s distinctly British take on hip-hop, echoed on as we took a step back to appreciate the engaged following he had commanded. Keep a watchful eye on his rise.
Continuing on from the Scandinavian influence of Baba Stiltz, another Swede, Axel Boman, led us deep into the forest with a wicked blend of JKriv’s edit of ‘Bukom Mashie’ into Sami’s ‘Planing’. Our first foray to the Forgotten Cabin, arguably the most underground of the stages, did not disappoint. The quality of sound amplified the depth of musical productions: even the stripped-back Medieval Funk Mix of Chiapet’s ‘Westworld’ sounded weighty and lucid. Boman’s set concluded the Friday night for us, or at least for as long as memory serves. We have it on good authority that Leon Vynehall did the business.
With the campsite suitably a stone’s throw away from the Burial Ground, we needed bringing back to life. Yoga classes and hot tubs were available to take advantage of, if that’s what cures your hangover, but we opted for a good old bacon butty and a brew courtesy of Le Swine. Tip: pack cartons of orange juice.
An urge to get in amongst it sent us to the Forgotten Cabin just after midday, where Eclair Fifi had the operation well under control. She suitably impressed with a particularly punchy set, one that wouldn’t have been out of place later in the day.
Following on from the Scot’s unique selection, Avalon Emerson put her own trademark spin on proceedings. Dreamy soundscapes, typical of her Whities 006 release, complimented the relaxing suntrap where the Cabin resided, before the energetic number, ‘Mido’, by Yak, released the pressure that she had steadily been building. It was a pleasure to see Avalon play having tipped her for continued success earlier this year.
Aware of the hours of dancing that remained ahead, we took the decision to retreat to the Lake of Tranquility, a short stroll away from the hustle and bustle. For those inclined, an array of rejuvenating massages and a Finnish sauna were offered, tucked away in a peaceful corner of the festival. We settled for a replenishing lakeside nap, cool in the shade and undisturbed.
How bliss it was to awake to the sound of Kornél Kovács playing his own precious remix of ‘Summer Nites’, far away in the trees. Well-rested and eager to dance the night away, we headed to the Burial Ground to see what Bicep had to offer. Maybe we arrived at the wrong time, had lofty expectations or judged the vibe badly, but it was arguably the most disappointing set of the weekend (that we experienced, anyway).
Bicep, to some, are seen as the bridge between the underground heads and the day-outers, and it felt like they appeased to the latter crowd on the night. Hearing ‘Cyclo’, by Traumer, and safe mixing left us uninspired, especially as lesser known acts such as Eclair Fifi displayed more nuanced track selection and more challenging mixes. Had Bicep been scheduled to play at the Forgotten Cabin, for instance, it would be expected that they would have played very differently. Their set wasn’t particularly bad, but that isn’t why people flock in their droves to see them. Perhaps we left too early without giving them a reasonable chance.
If there was ever a cure for disappointment, it was seeing Move D at the Abandoned Chapel. It was unmistakably Move D. “Come with me to the dance floor, you and me, ‘cause that’s what it’s forrr”, he had us belting out, without a care in the world. The veteran maestro treated us to Earl Jeffers’ feel-good anthem, ‘The Goose’, before bringing his set to a climax with the Bee Gees’ classic, ‘You Should Be Dancing’.
With a spring in our step, we took the now-familiar route from Chapel to Cabin to get locked into a truly enriching two hours of music from Ben UFO. Hessle Audio’s head honcho provided one of the best sets of the weekend, seamlessly chopping between styles. Not confining himself to a slow-building set, before dipping into those garage vibes he keeps talking about on Twitter he got the place rocking with our favourite track of the weekend. Lost Village excelled production-wise, and the almost-spellbinding lighting became extremely prominent during Ben’s two hours of hysteria.
Unwilling to budge, we stayed firmly put at the Forgotten Cabin to witness Nina Kraviz develop the energy that Ben had established. It was undeniably Kraviz, serving up a concoction of acid-infused techno, electro and breakbeat sounds. A whirlwind hour flew by as the Trip Recordings boss dominated the affair with unrelenting doofers, but we couldn’t leave Lost Village without catching Gerd Janson.
A marriage of his ‘Conga’ remix of John Talabot’s ‘Voices’ into his new track with Shan on ReGraded, ‘Surrender’, was remarkably exceptional, as was the entire set. Where had the time gone?! On our descent back to camp we detoured and joined a thousand or so others in the haystack-laden tent, where we had previously eaten, for a half hour of mass karaoke, revisiting countless cheesy classics before hitting the hay.
Undertaking our quickly-adopted ritual, we topped up on bacon butties and brews before embarking on our Sunday afternoon journey, this time blessing our ears with a promising performance from Or:la. Untypical of her usual fast-paced style, the Deep Sea Frequency debutant displayed versatility by mastering a challenging opening slot as the sun perforated the clouds, coincidentally for the warm-up act. The crowd steadily and deservedly grew for Orla Dooley, and hearing Axel Boman’s remix of ‘I Love You But I’ve Chosen Disco’ on a compelling, hefty sound system was a personal highlight.
Having not yet sampled the Junkyard’s delights, we felt obliged to see what Craig Charles had to offer. “This is how we roll, we play funk & soul”, he chirped, as ‘Are You My Woman’ reverberated around the enclosed arena. Was the mixing great? No. But nobody expected it to be. Craig and the bedazzled revellers shared a mutual love for upbeat rhythms and inspiring vocals, and that’s all that mattered.
After a daytime of disco, we sailed on through to the Forgotten Cabin for Denis Sulta to clear our throats, and he delivered the crowd-pleasing set expected of him. Nalin & Kane’s mix of ‘Meet Her At The Love Parade’ rattled through the trees in a particularly trance-tinged set, before DJ Tomcraft’s remix of ‘Pulverturm’ was dropped in for added measure. The only minor gripe we had was Sulta’s safe mixing style, as uninteresting long blends were fairly common. However, it was time for our final set of the weekend, so we snuck forward as Midland stepped up.
Providing a slightly alternative vibe to most of the weekend’s selectors, the Graded boss stood defiantly in the face of the much maligned “play harder” guys, opting for a gradually building set. James Holden’s remix of André Kraml’s ‘Safari’ seemed to encapsulate the aura of the entire festival, in a truly magical moment that felt both ambient and exultant. Midland can be proud of the sentiment he helped create, and we couldn’t help but feel desolate as we took our final trek back to the campsite.
Morning dawned as the condensation dripped onto our sleeping bags, and one final trip to Le Swine aided our resurrection. Logistically, Lost Village was incredibly easy to travel to, and the security were thorough yet unthreatening. Undoubtedly one of the most aesthetically pleasing festivals around, Lost Village captured the best of the underground music scene. An edgy, up-for-it, friendly crowd, talented selectors, coherent programming, and a holistic focus all fused together to create a perfect weekend retreat. We can’t wait for Lost Village Festival 2018.
Photo credit: Lost Village