The stunning Lost Lands set the benchmark for inclusiveness, diversity and pure enjoyment

The all-ages festival created a magnetic, warm atmosphere at the foot of the Werribee Mansion.

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Image source: 
Dylan Martin

When you hear the words ‘music festival’, events overrun by wasted teens and twenty-somethings might spring to mind. Things like Falls Festival, Beyond The Valley and Splendour In The Grass have all contributed to this idea of what we think a festival is, and who gets to be included. But Werribee’s Lost Lands is smashing this stigma.
The two-day festival kicked off on Saturday November 3, in the sprawling gardens of Werribee Mansion. Upon arrival, it was evident that marketing the event as a “family weekend” had paid off, with children of all ages running rampant through the parklands, under their parent’s watchful eyes.
There were four different stages set up for the weekender, two of which were exclusively for kid’s entertainment. La Petite Grande and the Big Top definitely drew some enthusiastic crowds, with the kids always up for a boogie, or having a crack at singing along themselves. Little Big Stage down the end of the garden played host to some yoga and dance workshops, as well as a veritable mix of performers (including The Burnt Sausages, who were a hit with those under the age of ten).
Set up at the front of the main lawn was the Lost Stage, which is where most of the entertainment went down. Kicking off the program for the day was Melbourne singer-songwriter Jess Locke, followed by Ainslie Wills, who’s playing a showcase with fellow songstresses Angie McMahon and Gretta Ray later this month.
The overcast sky did little to dampen the spirits of festivalgoers, and gradually more people flooded in, filling the lawn with picnic blankets, camp chairs and the excited chattering of children. By the time Didirri took to the stage, there were a mass of families set up for the afternoon, all warm and receptive to the young performer. Didirri and his band were incredibly impressive, particularly his lead guitarist, who stole the show with some powerful solos. He was followed up by Kate Miller-Heidke, who was one of many female artists on the stage that day.
That was a point of pride for the Lost Lands team, and so it should be, with female musicians making up the bulk of the weekend’s acts. As the cowboy-hat-wearing MC said himself, “I’m telling you, it’s not hard to program a festival with more than fifty per cent women (on the lineup). If they’re not doing it, they aren’t getting out enough.”
Over at the Little Big Stage, Brisbane boys Hollow Coves played to a small crowd (both in number, and in size  ̶  most of their audience were toddlers). They’d flown in that morning just for the day, and were competing with kids wailing into a microphone across the lawn, but still managed to play a really beautiful and intimate set. It would be disheartening for any band to have a small turnout, so the fact that they took it in their stride and performed enthusiastically regardless is well worth a mention.
Turning up the notch on a chilled out day were You Am I, on the lost stage. The '90s rockers had all the dads up and grooving, with a mini mosh pit forming up front. Most of the blokes seemed to be reliving their pub-rock glory days, dancing enthusiastically with their youngsters and embracing their daggy-ness in a way that only dads can.
Sunday saw a lot more people bustling around the already busy event. Perhaps it was the warmer weather that drew everyone out to Lost Lands that day, but the impressive lineup would have also been a factor.
The morning was taken up by kid-oriented entertainment before multi-instrumentalist LANKS played the main stage. He was followed by the energetic and enthusiastic Baker Boy, who was a hit with the crowd, both young and old. As a break between songs, he and two backup dancers would launch into choreographed dance routines to a mash-up of tracks, which everyone went wild for. At 22-years-old, Baker Boy knows how to hold a crowd’s attention, and there are definitely big things ahead for the rapper.
Boo Seeka were up next; another impressive performance of the day. It was great to see the guys put so much energy and effort into the show, proclaiming their admiration for a festival without one piece of rubbish in sight. For their final track they got all the kids to get up on their parent’s shoulders, laughing at how different it was to their usual audience dynamic, which is generally twenty-somethings crushing other twenty-somethings.
After a set by Clare Bowditch, a crowd had once again gathered at the foot of the stage, eagerly awaiting The Teskey Brothers. The four-piece played a mix of soul and blues  ̶  a laid-back soundtrack to the setting sun, and families enjoying a dinnertime feed.
It was now past seven, and a mosh pit of teens aged mostly between 12 and 20 was forming, signalling the start of The Jungle Giants. Having played together for seven years, they’re no strangers to live shows, and man, do they know how to entertain. From crowd interaction to massive bass and drum solos, the Brisbane locals put on a huge performance. While the bulk of the audience were teenagers, there were plenty of adults and children dancing too. In fact, they probably got the biggest crowd response of the day, leaving Alice Ivy with a hard act to follow.
Lost Lands managed to capture the essence of what a festival should be and filtered out all of the bad. There were no drunk idiots running rampant, no guys harassing girls, no aggressive crowds, and no trashed campsites. Instead, there was just a whole heap of people enjoying each other's company, the energy, and the music. It set a benchmark for future festival experiences, and organisers for over 18 events should start taking notes.