From humble beginnings in 2016, to now celebrating their third year this November, the Lost Lands has become one of Australia’s leading festival for families, enabling people of all ages to share a wild and wonderful experience with each other, and engage positively with the best in music, art, installations, entertainment, food, and wine.
“It’s a festival for everybody,” shares artistic director Ian Pidd. “The festival is a really nice mix of things; you wouldn’t call it a festival that’s just for kids, and you certainly wouldn’t call it a festival that’s for big rock and roll adult crowds. It’s a festival where kids have the best time, where teenagers have the best time, and parents have the best time, and even 20-somethings who don’t have any kids come and have the best time. It’s a festival for everybody.”
With the firm belief that festivals can be an experience shared by everybody; this idea is largely reflected in The Lost Lands programming which is put together by a dedicated team of festival enthusiasts, mainly Ian and festival founder Simon Daly.
Notably, year after year The Lost Lands continue to feature a stellar musical line-up of acts that can be enjoyed by both adults and children – meaning smiles all round. Previous years have seen the likes of international acts Mariachi El Bronx and Ozomatli take to the stage, alongside Australian favourites such as The Waifs, Missy Higgins, The Jungle Giants, You Am I, Boo Seeka, and Kate Miller-Heidke.
Continuing the festival’s dedication to showcasing diverse talents, and commitment to curating a festival for all, this year’s festival will see the likes of hip hop star Baker Boy, English indie rock legends Gomez, soul sisters Vika & Linda Bull, electro-rock icons Regurgitator, songwriter & poet Sampa The Great, indie rock band Holy Holy, and Japan’s pop-punk outfit Shonen Knife take to the stage.
Alongside these acts, festival-goers will also be treated to singer-songwriter treasures Dyson Stringer Cloher, sublime troubadour William Crighton, award-winning indigenous folk artist Alice Skye, funky indie collective Approachable Members Of Your Local Community and electro tribal pop duo The Merindas – just to name a few!
Recently, the festival has also put a focus on embracing new, emerging and diverse artists, coined as an important feature in moving forward with an all-ages festival, which has been pivotal in creating this unique festival programming.
“Once we start really putting together the festival, we go out of our way to be very diverse,” Ian explains, ensuring the next generation of Australians are exposed to a variety of musical talent. “It’s important to us that the young people who are in the audience are seeing young people participating, they’re seeing people of different ethnicity participating, and they’re seeing great women, as well as great men, both playing music and performing; that diversity is really important to us.”
One addition that’s captured really our attention is the inclusion of The Big Lost Band, a special large-scale event for the young, the old and everyone in between. Here, the festival invites punters to come, armed with instruments, as the front lawn of Werribee Mansion is transformed into a field of rock dreams with renditions of Paul Kelly & Kev Carmody’s folk classic ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, Spiderbait’s infectious ‘Calypso’ and rock anthem ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC. This is a chance for festival attendees to fully immerse themselves into the experience, and play in the biggest band you’ve ever seen in what will be a heroic medley on Sunday, Nov 3 at 3pm. The crew has even convinced a handful of music legends from the main stage line-up to join the band on the day.
“We’ve just done a rehearsal over the weekend and the band has already got a hundred people in it and absolutely rocking out. We presume that by the time we get to the festival and on that Sunday, there’ll be 200 people in that band.”
Alongside the music, the festival features a tremendous array of both kids entertainment and family services, with a number of installations, arts programs, comedy, performance, theatre and dedicated wonder ‘Lands’ to entertain festival-goers, further inspired by the idea that this space will instill a future appreciation of a shared festival culture in Australia.
The Little Big Top will feature some of the best kid’s comedy, theatre and circus performers, while also having lots of interactive activities for families to participate in that will have the little ones jumping around with excitement. Kids can check out Doctor Hubble’s Bubble Show, run the show with face painting by kids, and partake in Games of the World, as well as make their own bunting flag, and see live entertainment from Jugg Life, two of Australia’s best jugglers, Katie Wright Dynamite, and fun-time outfit Regurgitator with their Pogogo Show.
A few more highlights for families include a Sleeping Bag Cinema screening films from one of the world’s best-loved animation studios; Gymkhana which will feature all the games your grandparents played (think egg and spoon, sack races, pass the parcel) and Bed Sheet Ghost Parties which involves throwing on bed sheet and enjoying all sorts of spooktacular activities.
There’s also an exciting performance from Circus Oz as they celebrate everything gloriously gaudy and glitzy about the 1980s with NEON, an unapologetic, funny, and downright dirty dancing cabaret where circus meets comedy and song, which Ian reveals is something that adults will enjoy just as much as the kids – if not more.
In line with its mission to reinvent the festival experience for the next generation alongside the inspiring aforementioned music and art components, The Lost Lands aims to be a leader in environmental sustainability, raising their sustainable initiative goals each year. This year the aim to be a single-use (PET & fossil-fuel based) plastic-free event, with a range of sustainability initiatives in place, including offering compostable food and drink packaging.
There will even be a pedal-powered generator, a portable system that converts human energy into electricity, that will be used to screen the films in the Sleeping Bag Cinema.
“We’re really, really solid on that,” Ian explains. “There’s no single-use plastic at all. Essentially, there’s no rubbish. It’s either all recycled or it’s composted – and our traders are just marvelous from that point of view; they’re all completely on board.”
Last year, the festival achieved great success in becoming greener with their ‘leave no trace’ policy in 2018 which resulted in less than 1% of contaminated waste, a clear reflection of their commitment to the environmental consciousness of the community, and one that will continue for years to come.
While the entire program may resonate with your usual festival-goers, it really is the vibe and the atmosphere that sets The Lost Lands apart; being a family-friendly event in ways that other festivals can’t even imagine, being a festival that punters can make their own.
“People will have an idea of what their highlights are going to be, but when they get back in the car on Monday morning or Sunday night, it’s almost certain that their favourite part will be something that they didn’t know is going to be there, and it might well be something that they did themselves – whether that’s playing in the big band, or making a big cubby at the cardboard jungle,” Ian beams.
“This is a festival that we all make together. The Lost Lands is everyone is the festival.”
With music, sustainability practices, installations, arts programs, comedy, performance, theatre, and dedicated wonder ‘Lands’ to entertain festival-goers of all ages, The Lost Lands truly promises to “ignite the festival lover in everyone” and we can honestly say, they will deliver on this promise.
It all goes down at Werribee Park on 1-3 November. Tickets are available through www.thelostlands.com.au