New Year’s Eve is always a bit of a gamble, usually resulting in either a roaring success or an absolute flop. However, there is one route which is always guaranteed to be fun and that’s choosing to spend your last few days of the year at a music festival. The music festival of choice for me this time round? Lost Paradise.
Lost Paradise is a festival still in its infancy; it only began last year and was much smaller in numbers. This year, they chose to amp up the patronage as well as the scope. Once again set in the idyllic Glenworth Valley, the drive down the punishingly steep 5km road into the festival gave you the kind of views normally reserved for a fairytale.
Set just a stones throw away from Sydney at a brisk one hour car journey, Lost Paradise was certainly easy to get to. Festival are jammed packed events chock full of activity, so we’ll aim to give you a categorical breakdown of the attributes that went into making Lost Paradise as good as it was.
Location, location, location…
The Lost Paradise organisers could not have chosen a more idyllic location. Set in the gorgeous and edenic confines of a beautifully forested valley, swathes of lush eucalyptus trees blanketed the valley walls under the blue summer sky. A cool breeze swept through the valley, and through the geographic good fortune of being situated in a valley, managed to create a gentle wind tunnel which kept temperatures down to an enjoyable 28 degrees.
It is hard to understate the impact that one’s environment has on the experience you have, least of all at a music festival. The stresses of work fade away, the banality of everyday life dissolves and you can just be. You come away feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on another year. And as clichéd as it sounds, a better appreciation for good ol’ Mother Nature. Never underestimate the impact of your environment. This is in part a reason for Lost Paradise’s impetus on the ‘Leave No Trace’ mantra, which aims to minimise the impact of the festival on the Glenworth Valley.
One of the best things about Lost Paradise was the sheer amount of space. The smaller patron numbers can account for this, and unlike bigger events, our campsite never felt boxed in. We’d especially like to shout out the lovely river, snaking through the valley, perfect for a soothing late night swim.
However, one of the detriments of big open spaces is a lack of shade. It was hard to keep cool. Sure, you have your Bunnings tarp to keep you out of the sun, but the shade has a funny habit of shifting throughout the day, leaving you and your friends frying under the harsh summer rays. Similarly, portaloos aren’t exactly enjoyable in strong sunlight, effectively turning into giant ovens. The smell almost knocked us over backwards. I suppose this is an inevitable byproduct of summer, but it didn’t help that many of the toilets very quickly went out of commission, with those in need left waiting in massive queues.
The food, however, was sensational, offering a wide variety of cuisines like German, Vegetarian, Mexican, Yemeni and pizza, to name a few. Even better was the money system, or lack thereof, on hand. The ‘cashless’ wristband system in place meant that you had to go to a cashier and deposit credit of your choice, which would then be placed in an electronic account you could access by paying with a little microchip inside your wristband. This is an incredibly convenient, modern, shrewd system: you, as the patron, didn’t have to carry around cumbersome loose change and the vendor doesn’t have to fiddle around either; a seamless, quick transaction that benefits both parties. A friend, who worked at the festival in 2014, even mentioned that a benefit is preventing her co-workers from stealing from the till, which apparently happened a lot during the festival’s inaugural event.
Of course, a music festival is nothing without the music, and Lost Paradise well and truly delivered. Offering up a hearty selection of electronic, acoustic and indie tunes, punters could chill out during the day in front of the main stage on the grass, catching the more down-tempo acts while saving their energy for the DJ sets playing at night.
City Calm Down and Angus and Julia Stone brought the chill factor, keeping crowds placated under the heady summer sun while they swung in tune to the mellow cadence of the music. At night, revellers would head towards the thumping beat of the teepee stage, a triangular stage housing all the DJs who came show off their skills on the turntable.
On the first night, it was Hayden James, revered homegrown DJ act, who energised the crowd after a successful first day of festivities. Permission to Love and Something About You were obviously pleasers, as well as the Odesza remix of Something About You.
Touch Sensitive really needs to release some new material, because his set felt both tired and short. He didn’t seem to be into at all, looking like someone who was simply going through the motions, or a worker desperately praying for his shift to be over. However, his lack of energy was certainly made up for by his perpetual partner in crime George Maple, who strutted onto the stage shortly after, looking seriously lit in a fishnet body stocking. Absolutely destroying her most iconic hits like Talk Talk, Vacant Space and What So Not’s Gemini, the only question on my mind is, why isn’t this songstress bigger? She’s immensely talented and so charismatic, with huge vocals seldom possessed by any other Australian female singer at the moment.
Of course, the main act everyone was hoping to catch on the second night was the wonderful Jamie XX. Appearing on the main stage at around 11pm, he completely enraptured the crowd with tracks from his recent solo album, In Colour. Loud Places was simply a treasure, swaying the crowd in gentle, rapturous glee as everyone danced to one of the best tracks of 2015. Playing most of the tracks of his critically acclaimed debut, In Colour, the crowd was lost to to hypnotic beats of his music.
Lost Paradise was awesome. It was a great way to ring in the new year, surrounded by your best mates and the gorgeous Glenworth Valley. A real concluding highlight was how easy it was to leave; we just packed up, headed out and were on our merry way.
The festival is undoubtedly still young and developing, but its teething issues were no deterrent. It was one of the best New Years experiences I’ve ever had.