16 Clefs

Lost Paradise Review

So let’s chat about Lost Paradise…I’ve had a few days to reflect about my experience…and well, it was that, an experience.

Location: the beautiful Glenworth Valley. I will be returning when the festival is long gone and the earth has recovered from its footprint.

The theme of the festival is “back to nature” or as their hashtag is #back2nature. I stumbled upon this festival through Sylvan Esso who played in 2014. I figured it was the Universe saying to me, “go have fun you tree hugging hippie nerd.”

So I bought tickets to the 3 day festival and splurged on glamping.

Might as well ring the new year in a tipi. Seriously, a tipi. Inspired by the Native Indians, made modern by bitches and bastards who can’t sleep in their own tent or put up their own tent. I love my tent, aka Ted the Tent, but it was nice to walk up and drop my things on the ground and just settle in. The Rainbow Tipi people are great and friendly and greeted me with smiles. My problem with the whole glamping is it’s not really glamping. A tent was set up, a stretcher bed with padding and pillow, and a solar light. I paid an extra $20 for a dunna cover (down blanket) and was very thankful I did when the temp dropped the first night. There are porta johns for the glamping area and porta showers, but we’re taking about 10 porta johns and 10 showers for about 150-200 (estimate) glampers. The temp for the porta shower was one ice cube away from cold as shit in the AM and in the afternoon the temperature of the water could melt metal. For the price I paid for the glamping, I would expect the shower to be at least piss warm or lukewarm in the AM, power in my tent, and perhaps a free breakfast or coffee. Maybe a welcome letter and a free Lost Paradise water bottle to urge that get back to nature and recycle feeling. Maybe there was all that, I don’t know because I was just told where my tent was and that it was ready for me and to have a great time. Maybe it wasn’t even really ready as on night two, the Rainbow Tipi crew came to my tent to see if I had arrived and brought a blanket. Hello!!! I checked in with you! Anyway, I received better and free amenities at campgrounds and hotels throughout Australia than I did while “glamping”. It was a huge disappointment and definitely not worth the money I spent. Just stamp a giant sucker label on my forehead like they do on the cartoons because that’s what it I felt like. A sucker. It was a rip off.

The acts: my highlight was seeing Anna Lunoe and Sons of the East. The headliner of the festival, Angus and Julie Stone, played on the first night. They were touted headliners but only played once. Fine, but they should have been labeled as day one headliner and then the whatever acts of the last two days should have been called those day of show headliners. I saw a pretty cool act from Melbourne but they never said their name so I’m not sure who they are and the schedule was off and impossible to tell what time a band was actually starting so I can only guess who they might be as well (I know who they are now after several Google searches. They’ll remain nameless since that’s how it seemed most bands wanted to be.) At least Sons of the East said their name and I’d like to say they’re Australia’s answer to Mumford and Sons and way better with more energy than Mumford too. Any who…starting times for the DJs and bands were what I would say “suggested times”. Each day I was at the stage at the “designated start time” and it never started on time. I don’t think one act started on time. NOT ONE. So even if you knew the set time, the band wasn’t necessarily the band that was playing at that time. It seemed everything was about 30-60 minutes off. Having worked in festival land more than once, I felt this was a serious issue and lack of respect to the patrons. Also there were no stage announcements or “hey thanks for coming out” from organizers or sponsors. All the music areas were just an act shows up and go.

Festival gates opened at 8:30am each day. Alcohol booths opened around 12 (1pm on the first day). I’m not sure of the capacity of Lost Paradise. I want to say I read somewhere between 1000-3000, so it’s a small festival due to the location. Organizers could use a little more in organization that’s for sure. There’s a recycling program where you get a $1 back for every item that you recycle from the adult beverage area. I only know that from my email but if you were some poor smuck who decided to tag along and you didn’t get that email, that $100 bucks of booze you drank could have gotten you a free one or two…okay more than likely just one free drink. Kids on the other hand were smart and picking up the recycles the drunks were too lazy or too drunk to toss. The recycle guy said one kid racked up $350 bucks on the first night! That my friends was the price of the 3 day pass if you bought it at the gate! He was gonna use it to purchase a super hero onsie. Good on ya kiddo! Good on ya!

Overall, I was disappointed in Lost Paradise. It appeared an unorganized mess from my point of view and that’s because I’ve worked in festivals. Festival goers who know nothing about festivals probably didn’t even notice anything. Most were too drunk, too high, or had too much sun to notice. It felt as if someone sent out an invite to a party and 3000 people showed up to camp on their lawn. The one security guard I spoke to everyday worked more than 15 hr shifts with little sleep but maintained a good spirit. He was the only one that could and my questions.

Maybe if I had traveled in a group, the festival would have been a different feel, but I’ve been to so many festivals alone that it normally doesn’t matter because you find one or two people who you kind of inadvertenly hang out with or run into each day/set.

I do have to give props to Ricardo from the Lotus Tent, who used a Doctor Who reference and we had a nice chat about life and the powers of Easter Island and the sacredness of the place. Also a shout out to Nicholas who was kind enough to let me crash his circle and who kept singing Taylor Swift swings to me and his friend Helen who let me tattoo her face (I was the only sober one in their circle that had steady hands). Final thanks goes to Torin (spelling is probably way off as he was drunk and I could barely understand him), who wanted to marry me after I shared a popsicle with him and his friend Clio, her boyfriend, and their friends who invited me into their circle before getting distracted by the music and disappearing into the afternoon sun.

So yeah…Lost Paradise…not my favorite way to end 2015.