Beginning our journey up to Lost Village we were first welcomed on board the dubiously named ‘Grey Goose’ carriage (it’s actually a Virgin train to Edinburgh). We were subsequently plied with numerous cocktails and various other freebies including a Blair Witch-esque amulet and a bottle of vodka each. Being treated like a king isn’t unusual when you’re a member of the press heading up to a festival (for obvious reasons). So next we had to ask ourselves whether first class travel and Grey Goose sponsorship fitted in with Lost Village’s ravey vibe and line up laden with house and techno behemoths including Roman Flugel, DJ Koze and Henrik Schwarz.
First off, the Tribe is a big part of Lost Village and everywhere you go they seem to be lurking nearby in the darkness. Depending on your state of mind they can enhance your experience, ensuring you get totally ‘lost’ in the woods or downright freak you out. The elegant Gravedigger spends his time proudly guarding the Burial Ground, looking out for lost souls. Across the way, the bedraggled whirlwind of paranoia and curiosity Mr. Lanius searches far and wide across the village for answers to life’s big mysteries. We also witnessed an unnamed mermaid (Aquarius apparently) prowling the lakeside looking to drag unsuspecting passers-by into the water. With her piercing gaze and tales of lost sailors and lovers she struck into the hearts of her victims. She clearly takes pleasure in penetrating the souls of young men lost in alternative realities. Having said that, organisers took the tribal theme to a whole other level in the build up to Saturday night’s lakeside fireworks display. The Tribe was out in full force surrounding part of the lake in a scene reminiscent of Eyes Wide Shut. If there’s one criticism to be had, it’s that the fireworks clashed with headliner Eats Everything and bass pioneer Joy Orbison. Talk about a raver’s dilemma.
Missing out on Joy-O is always a shame but Lost Village seems to discourage making itineraries or having any kind of forward planning. After the second day we were still unsure of where certain acts were playing and it wasn’t just us. We regularly overheard conversations like: ‘Shall we go see Huxley? Where’s he playing? Dunno’. This kind of dialogue wasn’t uncommon. Nor were gabfests going something along the line of: ‘Shall we hit up Heidi tonight? Err she played last night…’ We’re used to all stages being signposted yet here in the beautiful Lancashire sun none of them were, and somehow it worked.
Some of our biggest highlights came about organically so to speak. Walking past the burial ground we saw confetti and pyrotechnics that could only befit a house legend. Cue Fatboy Slim and his big room house antics. Watching his set, it’s clear Norman still has it. Even hardened tech heads couldn’t help but smile. Probably the biggest highlight of the weekend was watching Belfast duo Bicep bringing Friday night to an end with a set of resplendent feel good house. Their story is now well known - it’s one of underground house music’s finest – and a festival headline set couldn’t be more richly deserved (and if we haven’t been clear enough - they smashed it).
Before we even arrived we had an eye on one particular set – One of Germany’s finest sons Henrik Schwarz was set to headline the Abandoned Chapel on Sunday. Most tech heads will know that Innervisions’ sole currency is thumping techno and Henrik champions that vision. Having said that, Schwarz is not a one trick pony and for the discerning listener his set was full of nuance. For the rest of us, his pounding, unrelenting bass was enough to bring the crowd to its knees.