Lost Festival isn’t quite like other festivals. It’s a bit more like being kidnapped, or joining a cult. Taking place over 24 hours in a secret forest with a small number of people and not a phone in sight, Lost goes so far as to abduct you to get you there. We were bundled onto the bus to start the adventure.
You really don’t know where you are
To give you the true feeling of escapism, with a sprinkling of unease, the Lost creators have a few tricks up their sleeves. You are requested not to bring phones to the event, the location is kept a secret (although it’s pretty clear it’s a remote countryside space just outside London) and the windows are blacked out on the buses that take you there.
Though there’s an initial shock of being somewhere you don’t know with no way of finding out, the atmosphere and content of Lost make you temporarily forget you even had a life outside of the forest.
You get your own uniform to wear
Before even setting up your tent at Lost, everybody is unified by being given a set of overalls to wear. This heightens the feeling of equality, while also removing any inhibitions about getting messy – though you do also look all the more like prisoners.
The woodland location plays a starring role
While many festivals transform their setting to stamp their authority, Lost is built around the woods with the utmost care. Certain areas can only be located by following winding paths around trees and bushes, and none of the natural beauty is detracted by the addition of stages and exhibits.
You’ll really get to know the people around you
You’ve been taken away from what you know and plunged into obscurity, so the least you can do is mingle. Because Lost is, relatively speaking, tiny on the festival scale, there already appears to be a community of sorts building. The atmosphere and music of the Greenstone Stage buzzed with familiarity, and at the main stage, a couple who met at last year’s festival announced their engagement, to the delight of all around.
You’re not even told what’s happening when
You’d think that after all the confusion, you’d at least be told what’s going on, right? Wrong. There’s nothing to tell you when someone is playing, it’s just there for you to discover yourself – making Rob Da Bank’s forced time change to mid-afternoon all the more bizarre and special to the few that saw him.
The art also plays a large part
The symbiotic relationship between art and Lost means that you’ll discover many exhibits around the festival space, almost transporting you to a gallery. Sculptures, 3D films and visual poetry are all there to explore, as well as the soothing, beautifully crafted Zen Den.
Check out the Paint Bar for a dose of colour
The ‘Paint Bar’, guarded by unhinged, maniacal prison wardens, is pretty self-explanatory. It’s also pretty fun. It’s also pretty messy.
— Alasdair C Melrose (@AlasdairMelrose) August 21, 2016
You can create art yourself within the festival
Interactive art is Lost’s most exciting element. Whether it’s the LED light tunnel that you can alter and operate yourself, the Humans Of New York-style photo portrait experience or the collective canvas paint sessions that together create the art of Kivu, there’s big creative potential for any participant involved.
It’s staying small – but there’s more kidnapping to come
It’s refreshing to see that Lost isn’t really looking to grow, at least in terms of square feet. Instead, they’re looking to have many 24 hour experiences over a two-month period in the future – if you want to be whisked away to mysterious locations to be faced by unexplained carnage, you might well be in luck.
You can register soon here for earlybird deals for Lost Festival 2017.