Will The Lost Lands save Australia’s music festival industry?

Gwen O'Toole caught up with festival director Simon Daly to chat about The Lost Lands music festival.
Lost Lands Simon Daly and David Strong
The Lost Lands organisers Simon Daly and David Strong

By Gwen O’Toole

While festivals, large scale music festivals in particular, have experienced an uphill battle in Australia over the last few years, two festival organisers have taken a leap of faith with the launch of The Lost Lands, a new music festival taking place over two days with plenty of impressive elements.

The Lost Lands, said to be created for the adventurer in all of us, is described as one weekend at the Victoria’s spectacular Werribee Mansion, filled with music, art, installations, food, wine, dedicated entertainment and wonderful ‘lands’ for kids to explore.

With the aim of being Australia’s leading festival for families and following the international festival trend of entertaining the entire family, The Lost Lands promises to ignite the festival lover in everyone while enabling parents to share a wild and wonderful experience with their kids and friends.

“In Europe, a number of festivals include children beyond ‘entry’,” said organiser Simon Daly.

“The result is a more sophisticated generation who know, love and participate in the festival experience.

“I think there’s an appetite for more experiences crafted with families and friends in mind and it’s exciting for the industry,” he said.

“It was conceived over a two or three year period. A bunch of families camp out on a beautiful river down the coast from Lorne (Victoria) each year, everyone is screen liberated and engaged from start to finish. I wondered if I could capture that spirit but with a music arts element added in to a broader friendship group. After much workshopping, The Lost Lands was born. A visit to the amazing Camp Bestival in the UK all but confirmed that The Lost Lands can be something special.”

For its inaugural run, The Lost Lands has an impressive musical line-up headlined by International bands Mariachi El Bronx and Ozomatli and features Australian favourites The Waifs, Missy Higgins, The Grates, Architecture in Helsinki, The Bamboos with Tim Rogers, Tash Sultana and Harts.

The event will be held over two days (29 and 30 October 2016) in the grounds of the Werribee Mansion, with options for attendees to camp, ‘glamp’ or stay at Werribee Hotel and Spa.

Daly said to expect ‘a strong arts program with theatre, music and comedy curated for kids but equally engaging for adults; music that you once loved and wouldn’t mind sharing with your family and friends. Camping, visits to the Werribee Zoo (children are admitted free over the weekend with a festival ticket) good times with friends and families set in the truly amazing Werribee Mansion.’

The Lost Lands will also feature a quality selection of Melbourne restaurants, street eats, the best craft brews and wine.

The Lost Lands is a first-time collaboration for the two festival organisers. Simon Daly, (Falls Festival founder) and David Strong (The Peninsula Picnic creative director and former St Kilda festival director) are certainly no strangers to organising large scale public events and as Australia has recently experienced a heavy decline in many previously popular music festivals such as Soundwave, Future Music Festival and Stereosonic, The Lost Lands promises to offer something rather unique for the festival scene here in Australia and family-friendly events might be the key to this ones success.

“Festivals need to be unique to survive,” said Daly.

“Family festivals aren’t new in Europe, in fact many have been going for decades. The Lost Lands has the ability to shine a positive light on festivals in Australia by breeding a strong festival culture that Europe enjoys from a very early age with kids. In a decade or two The Lost Lands kids will be the next wave of festival lovers.”

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