It’s not easy to stand-out in a crowded field.
And as Aussies we’re lucky enough to be spoiled for choice when it comes to summer festivals.
From bush doofs to blockbusters to boutique – every base is covered, which makes it a mighty task for festival organisers to cement themselves as a leader in the market.
Somehow, someway, Lost Paradise has managed to do that.
For the past couple of years, I heard increasingly frequent whispers from that the Glenworth Valley shindig was one of the best in Australia.
Pretty keen to get the hell away from Sydney over New Years, I finally pulled the trigger and made the 90-minute journey north.
For a four-day festival the line-up isn’t as deep as your Falls or your Splendours, but Lost finds a way to use this to their advantage.
Days are reserved for recovering from the night, sampling the endless array of extracurricular activities (‘deep house yoga’ was a particular stand-out for me, which is certainly not a sentence I ever thought I would say), and kicking back in the stunning surrounds of the valley.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a festival in the world with a more beautiful backdrop – nestled away between rolling greens hills, you really do feel like you’re tucked away in your own little world.
Between the whimsical art installations, eccentric stage designs and surprise pop-up performances it was like someone had brought a Lewis Carrol novel to life
…and then added a whole lot more booze and bass.
The dickheads-per-capita-ratio (DPCR) was much lower than any I’ve experienced at an Aussie festival, and potential pain points like bar lines, food options and bathrooms were more or less taken care of.
Ah, the choons.
Like I mentioned before, Lost is one of those festivals that your pretentious friend describes as being “more about the whole experience than the music, man.”
And even though I feel like a wanker for typing that sentence, it’s fitting.
That’s not to say there weren’t incredible acts, there were just less of them than some of the other major festivals.
Between 7pm and 2am though, there were plenty of heavy hitters to make for three truly memorable nights.
The top three for mine:
I’m generally pretty wary of multi-instrumentalist acts, although impressive, I never find that they’re ever much fun to listen to.
FKJ though, that dude knows how to party.
Armed with just his own two hands plus a synth, drum machine, sax, bass and electric guitar, the French whiz-kid tore up his late afternoon slot.
Fusing soul and house grooves, the immensely gifted FKJ quickly filled out the main stage, and surely would have picked up a swathe of new fans.
Corby’s transformation from Idol contestant with a devoted fanbase of Hillsong teenagers, to full-blown indie darling is complete.
He barely spoke a word throughout his set, but Corby had the audience spellbound for the full sixty minutes.
Howling, tender vocals and a setlist that effortlessly weaved its way through radio-friendly ballads like ‘Brother’ and stripped back blues like ‘Good To Be Alone’ – Corby was a standout on a stacked final day of the festival.
From the moment the lineup dropped this was RÜFÜS’ festival.
The Aussie dance-trio have been building to a headline set at a major festival for some time now.
Their jaw-dropping anthems are exactly what you need at midnight- huge walls of sound with big serves of emotion and dancefloor beats.
The Sydney lads were the main act on opening night and took the stage with huge expectations on their shoulders.
In a sight rarely seen in EDM these days, the band play all their songs live – a logistical nightmare but with massive payoffs.
Musically, it allowed them to take their hit songs like ‘Take Me’ and ‘You Were Right’ to another sonic dimension, while bringing through a performance element that you simply don’t get from DJ sets.
The unforgettable set closed with their 10-minute opus, Innerbloom, and a bass-heavy reworking of ‘Like An Animal’.
Much like the end of the festival, everyone left reluctantly, exhaused and sated.
If you want to be a part of the magic next year, eager beavers can have a crack at super-cheap 2018 presale tickets over here.