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Face paint, fancy dress and a huge load of New Year’s cheer made Lost Paradise‘s second year in action a huge success with over 7,000 in attendance at the sold out event.
Taking over the luscious surrounds of the Glenworth Valley for three days leading up the New Year’s Eve, Lost Paradise is very much of the new wave of boutique festivals come to replace the likes of Big Day Out and Soundwave. And while it has been sad to say goodbye to those multi-stage behemoths, the replacement is far more pleasant.
There were no southern cross tattoos on display here and no Australian flag capes, with more than one punter remarking to me on how “there are no scum bags at this festival” I’d describe the vibe as techno hippie. The crowd moved easily from the main stage noodling of the likes of Angus & Julia Stone over to the Lost Disco stage where in the center of a pyramid of trippy visuals there spewed forth an endless spree of charging dance music from the likes of Four Tet, Ame and Motor City Drum Ensemble.
Jamie XX delivered a standout performance of the festival, headlining the main stage on the second night to a packed crowd. Tkay Maidza proved why she is a feature of pretty much every festival this year with her banger heavy set, and earlier in the day George Maple, Touch Sensitive and World Champion all played well.
Hot Dub Time Machine saw in the New Year the following night, his histrionic tour through music history being met with absolute rapture from the fancy dressed crowd. Setting off confetti bombs against one of the biggest light shows of the festival, he worked his way through a frenetic half hour set of golden oldies before counting down to midnight amidst a mass pash-a-thon. Jon Hopkins played before him, and demolished his set, leaving the crowd reeling with his heady mix of slow burning anthemic electronica.
The well hidden Disco Nebula stage was my personal favourite spot however, with a crew of unnamed DJs churning out a steady mix of drugged out house to a heaving crowd of sweaty revelers. This was hardly the only hidden treasure at the festival though, with every nook and cranny being jammed packed with seating areas, trippy lights and multicolored attendees.
In fact it was the white fabric bedecked day beds of the champagne bar that would come to form the heart of my Lost Paradise experience. The best place to escape the heat (after the Lost Flix & Chill cinema tent started charging $20 entry following the theft of some bean bags), my friends and I spent the many blistering midday hours ensconced in a “cuddle puddle” drinking bottle after bottle of champagne.
This irresponsible but entirely necessary waste of money was facilitated by the festivals amazing cashless society system, where by cash was loaded directly onto our festival wristbands. No bullshit, you could swipe your wristband for booze which made it all a little too easy to drop hundreds of dollars on bubbles. Still I’m not complaining, even though my liver and wallet might. Thank god for the Shambala tent and Day Spa though, whose numerous different types of Yoga, massages and hot tubs were a very welcome slice of luxury to help get over the hangovers.
Special mention also has to go to whoever organised the food vendors as they did a great job. There were “pacos”, pancake tacos, there were Yemeni wraps, Govindas had a vegetarian stand and there was of course the obligatory gozleme and burger stand. Most impressively though there was actually decent coffee, the provision of which might be the single most important amenity for any multi-day festival. I can’t tell you how good it was to have an iced long black in the heat, it made me feel human again, if only for a short while.
Overall what Lost Paradise got right most of all was realising that it’s the little things that make a festival great. And though one could hardly say it lacked big festival thrills or high end production values, delivering big on both, it did so with the heart of a smaller festival, a festival that cares about everyone having a good time and not just the bottom line. Hell it even got this cynical old reviewer back in the mosh pit once or twice in spite of my rapidly deteriorating physical and mental health.