Here’s what went down at Lost Paradise 2018

It’s pretty trendy to shit all over New Year’s Eve these days. “New Year’s Eve never lives up to the expectations,” they say. And granted, I held this opinion for a long time too… but that was all before I attended Lost Paradise.

I popped my Lost Paradise cherry two years ago. As 2016 became 2017, Flight Facilities were tearing apart the Arcadia stage, and I swear every single person watching was having a good time. From there, I decided this was how I was going to spend every New Year’s Eve. I’ve stuck by that decision, and Lost Paradise hasn’t disappointed me yet.

Photos by Jordan Munns

Lost Paradise is a festival unlike any other. Once you’ve attended once, you’ll never experience a bad New Year’s Eve again.

Roping together the best elements of a music festival and a doof, Lost Paradise has created something entirely unique. It’s a community of vibrant personalities and vibrant costumes. With a music lineup that spans pretty much every genre under the sun, this festival has something for everyone.

Cheers of “Peggy Gou, we love you” kick-started the festival, as the South Korean DJ performed on the opening night. For those punters who didn’t purchase four-day tickets, I pity you. Gou is one of the globe’s most beloved DJs and it’s not hard to see why.

I was welcomed into day two by the power pop stylings of Sydney duo CLEWS. With their hook-driven brand of guitar pop, the Richardson sisters seamlessly made the transition from inner-west pubs to the festival main stage. Immediately following the conclusion of their set, Lex Deluxe had taken to the stage at Lost Disco. Over the past number of months, Lex has built herself as one of the country’s finest… and if you want a hot tip, keep an eye on her. She’ll be headlining one of these things in a couple of years.

The 37-degree afternoon continued in the safe hands of The Jim Mitchells, who oozed their vintage sounds all over the audience below. Garbed in all-white, the six-piece breezed through a concoction of raucous garage-rock and woozy psych to create the perfect festival cocktail.

As the sun fell below the valley’s rim, the lineup’s heavy-hitters began to emerge. Fresh off the release of her new documentary MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A., English musician M.I.A. hit the Arcadia stage, backed with an epic stage set-up and personal entourage. As she stomped through her catalogue of hits, M.I.A. laid down easily one of the best sets of the weekend.

Sunday, like every other day of the festival, was stacked with great homegrown artists. With Rackett, Genesis Owusu, and Lime Cordiale all proving themselves to be some of Australia’s best emerging acts.

Winston Surfshirt did a stellar job of cooling their audience down with their laid-back, groove-laden meld of hip-hop and R&B. And what on earth happened to Ball Park Music? At some point over the past couple of years, BPM have become bonafide festival headliners. Seriously, what a set.

And of course, then came New Year’s Eve. I’d say there was a magic in the air… but that could be said about any day at this festival. Thunder Fox had everybody (literally every body) grooving with their eccentric, funk-infused sounds. Shortly after, Tash Sultana had her audience completely entranced.

Canadian duo Bob Moses then took to the stage, making their Australian festival debut. With their blend of indie-rock and electronica, the duo – backed by a full band – had an entire festival shaking their hips. Dune Rats then took this lovely feeling of serenity and blew it to pieces. One of the most surprisingly tight live bands in the country, Dunies belted through all their pub-rock anthems, leaving behind them a trail of pure insanity.

Midnight kept creeping closer, and the festival’s energy only grew more palpable. At about twenty to twelve, Peking Duk emerged on the Arcadia stage… and so the final performance of the year begun. Throughout their career, Peking Duk have written enough hits to fill an entire set. So, this New Year’s Eve performance was stacked with pop belters from top to bottom.

As 2018 became 2019, I found myself feeling sorry for all my Sydney pals couped up in clubs and bad house parties. But also, not really. When you’ve got a festival like Lost Paradise waiting for you just down the road, why on earth would you spend your New Year’s anywhere else?