Sick of forking out tonnes of cash for music festivals, only to spend the weekend surrounded by wasted people while running between stages and descending into a pit of isolation?
If so, The Lost Lands is the festival for you – a relaxed alternative that allows punters to sidestep these concerns and enjoy a weekend with family and friends.
“It’s an impressively mellow environment,” says co-founder Simon Daly. “There’s great bands, a really great contemporary program and an older program that combines together and you’re in a setting where the barrier between main stage and the audience doesn’t exist.”
The Lost Lands is loosely modelled on the UK festival, Camp Bestival, which is the little sister of Bestival, a 50-thousand capacity, four-day event. Camp Bestival also runs for four days, but is specifically aimed at families with small children.
“My family went to Camp Bestival and it was just a completely unique experience, much like what Lost Lands is now,” Daly says. “It was a real vindication that little ones and big ones can thrive in one environment.”
Daly coordinates with artistic director Ian Pidd to make sure The Lost Lands is an interactive and experiential event for all ages.
“One of the things we love about The Lost Lands is that as people leave the festival, it’s highly likely their weekend highlight will be something they were in,” Pidd says. “Perhaps the Big Lost Band, perhaps dancing on main stage as part of a Bec Reid workshop, perhaps singing ‘Roar’ on our karaoke stage, or maybe collecting insects with the Werribee River Keepers.”
The Lost Lands’ arts and wonder program includes Circus Oz: NEON, Regurgitator’s kid-friendly Pogogo Show, multi-instrumentalist Adam Page improvising on a range of instruments and toys, as well as things like kids karaoke, family yoga, face painting by children, and the bedsheet ghost party.
The music lineup will appeal to people whose music taste blossomed in the ’90s, with acts like Gomez and Regurgitator, as well as Vika and Linda Bull and Shonen Knife who’ve been around for even longer. There’s a stack of contemporary talents, too, including Haiku Hands, Sampa the Great, Baker Boy, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and I Know Leopard.
“The festival is always thinking about having breaking acts, contemporary acts, but mixed with acts that are tailored to what the parental generation enjoyed in the ’90s and early 2000s,” Daly says. “It gels together, the old and the new. There’s a feel to the program.”
Performing at The Lost Lands gives contemporary and breaking artists an opportunity to garner an underage crowd.
“That stuff’s [what is] really exciting about Lost Lands – five and half thousand kids that are exposed to all of this different programming in the comedy, in the circus, in the music and it’s not the commercialised programming. These kids are getting an appreciation for art at a really young age.”
The Lost Lands takes place at the Werribee Mansion, just 40 minutes from the CBD. The Mansion has hosted many festivals of different genres and sizes over the years and it’s a perfect fit for The Lost Lands.
“I was always mesmerised by the first Harvest Festival at the Mansion and just thought, what an amazing place,” Daly says. “To have camping right around it and be so close to the city, yet in a very rural setting. We don’t have castles in Australia, but the Mansion’s pretty close.”
The organisers want The Lost Lands to remain a boutique event. This year’s capacity will peak at around five thousand adults and five thousand kids, which is right on target.
“I want to keep it where you do wander around the festival grounds and you see groups of kids who are literally walking around in a group with four or five of their friends and they’ve got their festival guide, they’ve got ten bucks – a budget their parents have given them – and they’re lining up for the food vendors and then off they go to the next show,” Daly says.
The Lost Lands is happening at Werribee Mansion from November 1 – 3. For tickets and more information, head to the festival website.