This time last year DJ Mag was wondering how Jaymo & Andy George’s fantastical festival Lost Village could avoid the sophomore slump. After its 2015 debut, the enchanting surroundings, immersive production and unrivalled line-up had left us and 5,000 other dance music fans waiting impatiently for the second instalment to roll around.
Fast-forward a year and DJ Mag is on its way to the Lincolnshire forest once again, now the unofficial start to the festival season. With a line-up that outweighs its capacity ten-fold, we wonder what concessions Lost Village might make to accommodate such titans of underground dance music.
As we step into the newly-christened Lookout stage, Joey Negro’s remix of Christopher Cross’s unapologetically camp ‘Ride Like the Wind’ greets us from duo Dark Circles as the crowd begins to swarm the stage.
Keen to explore the woods, we head to the Forgotten Cabin — our favourite stage from last year and what looks on paper to be this one’s strongest. We Concur founder Tom Pardhy’s techy but melodic house is the perfect serenade to the setting sun whose beams begin to split the trees, casting a beautiful shadow across the excitable crowd, reminding us of some of the best moments of last year.
No time for nostalgia — Lost Village’s impressive line-up means quality music at every turn as we make our way to the Abandoned Chapel for Huxley’s relentlessly captivating set. This is a festival that celebrates UK talent and the prominent producer is a perfect example of the current quality oozing from the islands.
So too are Bicep who close the Lookout stage to a feverish crowd, giddy from the dawn of festival season further frenzied by the Belfast duo’s commanding record crate.
Despite playing an hour early, Running Back boss and Tuff City Kid Gerd Janson is quick to energise the slowly stirring villagers as Saturday kicks off. A beefed-up remix of First Choice’s ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ shakes Friday’s cobwebs and the Village is alive again. At the Abandoned Chapel, Artwork’s special disco set has drawn almost the entire festival with Gwen McCrae’s classic ‘Keep The Fire Burning’ lifting the mood further.
As darkness descends, an M Night Shyamalan-style scene begins to emerge from the woods. Lost Villagers holding flaming torches march ominously across the grounds, gathering curious festival-goers along the way. DJ Mag finds ourselves encapsulated, following the fervour to the lake, where eerie chanting gives way to explosive techno as fireworks light up the sky, reflecting on the waters below. It’s an incredible moment, a festival highlight and yet another reason why Lost Village is doing so may things right.
While you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a token gesture in an attempt to stand out in a saturated festival market, it truly feels that thought, passion and care has gone into every aspect of the festival. With that comes a friendly, helpful crowd with no sense of tension or friction in the air.
As we meander through the woods and back to the Cabin, Floating Points’ disco-heavy set fades closer. It’s another affirming experience despite some varied sound issues — it’s clear the DJs are as bewitched by the Village as the now hypnotised crowd.
Sunday dawns with festival founders Jaymo and Andy taking over the now accustomed Cabin with a rolling acid house-tinged collection. Later Midland slams in his rapturous Regraded release ‘Double Feature’, its disco strings piercing the woods, giving yet more life to a valorous crowd.
At the Chapel, Crazy P’s one-two punch of Mr White’s ‘The Sun Can’t Compare’ followed by Prince’s ‘Erotic City’ leaves DJ Mag ecstatic and emotional all at once, the perfect combination leading into a festival finale. And who better to play us out than Pampa papa DJ Koze? 'XTC’’s haunting refrain the perfect eclipse for the ethereal ether of the Lost Village.
It could have been easy for Jaymo & Andy George to expand their festival quickly, capitalising on rave reviews and award nominations that meant all eyes were on their labour of love. It could have been easy too, to cut costs on production, doing just enough to stand out at a time when the festival concept is going through something of a renaissance.
They did neither, staying true to their vision and in adding only a few thousand more tickets and refining the experience further; kept the homegrown, loyal and close-knit atmosphere intact. The safe escapism many crave from their music festivals is executed to perfection.
Words: DECLAN MCGYLNN