Abroad: Lost Paradise Festival, Australia

“What hath night to do with sleep?” –– John Milton, Paradise Lost

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Lost Paradise is the contradictory cross between bush doof (like a rave, but even dirtier and set outdoors in the dusty Australian heat) and hippy retreat offering laughing yoga and talks on nutrition, sustainability, social justice and indigenous culture.

2018’s instalment took place over the last four days of the year in Glenworth Valley, which is a beautiful patch of country less than two hours’ drive north-west of Sydney. The line-up boasted headliners M.I.A., The Kooks and Joey Bada$$, with Australian artists Peking Duk, Vera Blue, Pnau and Tash Saltana thrown in the mix with numerous others.

Lost Paradise is the contradictory cross between bush doof and hippy retreat offering laughing yoga and talks on nutrition, sustainability, social justice and indigenous culture.

We raved at Lost Disco, hid from the throbbing heat under kind eucalyptus trees and kept ourselves cool with frothy beers; we were lured to My Mum’s Disco by vintage Lady Gaga and we sat in Dad’s Pool Room before things really kicked off; we sought comfort and caught up on sleep in the Holy Cow Chai tent and we returned just enough times to Dr Hoffman’s Wood Fired Pizza; we learned the secrets of fasting on a keto-vegan diet; we embraced kindness, learning and difference in various workshops and talks, and we cast a group spell for abundance.

When the heat got too much, there was the option to plunge into the river that runs through the valley. If instead we were embracing the heat, we might be found wondering uphill along a stoney path to a hand-built stage offering yet more deep house, or instead sitting under a thin canopy watching yoga and hula hooping workshops.

The crowds were girls clad in bikinis and swan pool floats and guys with shiny chests and filthy shirts taken off and tucked into the back of filthier shorts. The ground was covered in so much less litter than there could have been, due in large part to the festival’s environmental ethos and efforts to encourage recycling through a can and cup return scheme ($1 could be earned for every receptacle brought back to the bar and bank accounts almost instantly fattened in spite of days of partying). The more discerning of us kept piles of plastic cups beside us and picked up as many cans as we could every time we went to the bar, whilst more competitive (and perhaps financially stretched) revellers tipped over recycling bins and tried to highjack neighbours’ collections.

The crowds were girls clad in bikinis and swan pool floats and guys with shiny chests and filthy shirts taken off and tucked into the back of filthier shorts.

Food was expensive, but delicious with plenty of choice; drink was even more expensive but palatable for those of us collecting old cups. Camping was tolerable, but glamping was definitely the way we wished we had gone – heat does funny things to your head, and isn’t a willing aide when it comes to putting up tents.

Lost Paradise, though, is all about the rave. Floating on deep house beats and throwing ourselves around to grime and drum’n’bass, we found the aches in our backs and pains in our joints were soon forgotten.

Visit ☞ lostparadise.com.au

–– Rosie Pentreath, January 2019.

Lost Paradise 2018 | © Rosie Pentreath

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SOUNDTRACK TO THIS POST: ‘NO PLACE’ BY RÜFÜS DU SOL

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