“Start small, find your tribe, be loyal, Be authentic, stay true to your passions and vision. If you are in it purely for money you wont succeed- same with anything you aspire to.” – Simon Beckingham

Lost Paradise, the mind-blowing immersive festival experience held over New Year’s in the enchanted hinterland of Glenworth Valley, has announced its thrilling music line-up for 2018. PNAU, Bicep (live), KiNK (live) and Peggy Gou will join the likes of Bob Moses, SG Lewis and Willaris. K for four epic days of music, wellness, food, art and cultural experiences, feeding the soul through revelry, connection and discovery.

One part boutique festival and one part doof, the epic party that is Lost Paradise returns for its fifth outstanding year with more to experience than ever before. Just an hour’s drive from Sydney, Lost Paradise is set on ancient land known to local Indigenous elders as ‘Paradise Lost’, and is an all-encompassing experience crafted with something in mind for everyone whether they want to party or unwind, from music fans, nature and wellness lovers, foodies, and families. offers a completely immersive escape from city life, a musical playground amongst nature that will kaleidoscope of experiences.

I caught up with co-founder Simon Beckingham to take time out of his hectic schedule to talk to us today, with the pleasantries of how are you? I really wanted to get straight into what it takes to run such a monumental festival and the challenges they face.

“I’m great thanks, really excited about our upcoming 5th edition of Lost Paradise, its shaping up be our biggest, greenest, most breathtakingly epic Lost Paradise yet!”

A topic that is the talk of Sydney and Australia of late and It is no secret that the NSW Government and Police have been leaning on music festivals and venues, I was curious how Simon has found this current climate.

“Every event brings a new set of challenges year on year with new learning’s along the way. We can’t control external influences such as political agendas and reactionary legislation and unfortunately as festival organisers we have very little input during the early stages of high-level discussions and debates on these hot topics, so we welcome and embrace a collaborative approach to organising major events with local authorities as much as we possibly can, year round. The only way we can continue to thrive as a business, community and event, is to continue to be collaborative and engage with as many experts as possible to deliver the safest, well-thought out, quality productions possible.”

Onto the topic of Lost Paradise, I’m curious about logistics, a forgotten side of running a festival, I had so many questions to ask what is required to host an event so far from the city, what is the planning involved, what work is required with councils?

“It’s probably the most time-consuming, labour intensive aspect of organising Lost Paradise – the attention to detail and the team working to deliver the festival are incredible and simply put the show couldn’t happen without them. I am personally involved in the year-round planning of Lost Paradise and its an ongoing process of learning’s, discussions, debates, meetings, creative solutions and collaboration. We document absolutely everything and our relatively small team is a mine of information on the site, the history of the event and the relationships between the team are invaluable for sharing to shape and refine the festival year on year.

It isn’t easy organising a festival in the middle of a valley but the beauty of the site and the radical unique stage designs, world-class production and curation combine to create the most epic of backdrops for an immersive experience like no other. Its a melting pot of awesomeness with 12,000 amazing people in costume having the time of their lives. That’s why we do it!”

With such an amazing, diverse and large line up, the pressure to deliver something for everyone is immense (just ask any promoter) and the formula one year won’t work for another. I was curious as to how much effort goes into the roster.

“It’s a year round process and we find it now overlaps more so that we are working on the line-up for the following year before the festival for this year has even happened! We start placing offers as early as Jan and have actually placed an offer for next year already! The offers always have an expiry date so we can move on quickly without tying up the budget. M.I.A and Joey Bada$$ literally came in on the ninth hour which was extremely nail biting to say the least.

We have great relationships, a keen ear for music and a passion to deliver a diverse line-up of emerging talent, established crowd-pleasers and amazing legacy acts peppered with local artists with a real point of difference. Coming from a electronic music background I can’t wait to see Bicep and Peggy Gou. We are branching out every year into niche sounds that our crowd love – this year our yoga space has not only grown in size, we have introduced shambhala by night to feature ecstatic dance, tribal shamanic house beats and world music.”

Decoded Magazine has been quite vocal lately on the mess left behind at festivals and also in Ibiza. We were impressed to read recently that Subsonic festival released their sustainability statement of preserving the environment, as it has become more of an issue with promoters and a greater awareness for punters, I wanted to know what more we could do to keep festival sites clean and what can we expect at Subsonic

“We face the same challenges as the vast majority of festivals world-wide. Its no secret 1 in 4 attendees of camping festivals worldwide leave their tent behind. Its part of a bigger cultural behavioural problem faced by us as humanity and without getting preachy in terms of what more we could all be doing more of – its pretty simple – reduce our footprint! We request our attendees take all of their items home !!​​including their tents!!​​ whilst also offering alternative camping solutions of eco-camping (cheap tent rental tent solutions put up and taken down on their behalf) and Glamping – a Luxe camping experience with private bar, chill-out space, pampering, cafe and bar.

We’ve upped the ante this year, as we do each year. in addition to our existing efforts which include the 24 hour efforts of our on-site cleaning team​​ GREEN CONNECT ​​- a non-profit organisation employing former refugees who have the mammoth task of cleaning site and returning it to its original condition as an equestrian and adventure centre (and home to a family!)​​ ​Lost Paradise Sustainability policy documentation written, distributed to all departments and woven into our Ethos page ​​https://lostparadise.com.au/ethos/ As part of a vision to become single use plastic free we have reduced their use backstage to medical and security only.

We’ve engaged the ​​Earth Warriors​ a team of 60 conducting daily campground visits using immersive theatre and entertainment to encourage clean up of camp areas and proactively engage with attendees to inform and educate on impact of contributing or not contributing to clean-up efforts – this includes new years day when attendees leave – no camp-site will be left untouched!

Banning un-eco micro plastics​​ including glitter and small plastic body adornments – these end up blocking water systems and entering fish stomachs. Sadly there’s a lack of general awareness on the impact of these seemingly harmless accessories.” explained Simon

Every promoter has their favourite, after many years, what has been some stand out moments for yourself?

“Its our 5th anniversary this year and there’s been many magical moments. The ‘welcome to country’ at our first lost paradise where the elders revealed the original mob was known as ‘The Paradise Tribe’ – our mouths were wide open we had no idea it was a very special moment having the traditional smoke ceremony to open the festival.

Greg Wilson’s set on the Lost Disco stage closing the festival at the first ever Lost Paradise remains my best memory, we danced by the side of the stage and couldn’t believe we had pulled it off despite a year of challenges!

We had Sticky Fingers headline a couple of years ago. It was their last show before splitting up. All the other stages were half empty whilst the entire festival hugged the main stage and sang their hearts out to every song. It was a really moving moment.

Witnessing each year the amazing efforts of our attendees with their fancy dress is pretty mind-blowing and looking out from the stages to see thousands of smiling faces dancing with their many and varied doof sticks is a wonderful vision. Seeing the site build in action a few weeks out from the event itself is pretty epic too – all the work, designs, vision becoming a reality and each year going up a notch to deliver mind-blowing stage design, sound, visuals”

“It’s my favourite moment to walk onto site and see OTHER peoples reactions to all the hard work and creativity that goes into Lost Paradise and of course, when the clock strikes midnight on NYE its an incredible feeling of thousands of people hugging, celebrating and generating massive LOVE throughout the site to one another. An amazing way to start the new year surrounded by those vibes.”

With so many memories, is there any plans to expand and share them?

“If you’re not expanding, you’re contracting, right ?- we are expansive in nature – we’ll be increasing our Lost Picnic events from 2 to 3 cities. We’re in talks with agents and venues continuously exploring concepts, spaces to deliver unique experiences that deviate from the norm.”

Unfortunately there will always be people who are not happy with an event, for various reasons and some of the feedback online can be quite nasty or even personal. I have met promoters who have broken down after an event from a small group of keyboard warriors, how do your team handle this?

“We take constructive feedback constructively and we leave unproductive feedback / commentary / trolling by the wayside.”

Promoting is a notorious hard game, even more so in Australia, with so many events opening up across the country each year, I really wanted to know what advice would you give to any aspiring promoter?

“Start small, find your tribe, be loyal, Be authentic, stay true to your passions and vision. If you are in it purely for money you wont succeed- same with anything you aspire to. It needs to come from a place of love, not fear. At times it could go any way and you roll the dice a lot on decisions made so far out, but you need to trust your intuition. Some things cannot be avoided – like bad weather for example! you need nerves of steel and to come from the right place with everything you do or else people can smell the fear a mile off and it will all fall apart. Systems, processes and a bloody good team of people who know their role and the industry inside out helps too!”

Simon, it has been a pleasure chatting to you and thank you time out so close to the festival and your busy schedule, but I just want to ask one last question, is there one act you are looking forward to?

“M.I.A has been on our wish list for a very long time. An incredible multi-faceted artist and spokesperson. Looking forward to seeing her grace the stage at Lost Paradise. “

This year’s eclectic and thoughtfully curated music offering of outstanding international and local artists raises the bar, creating a musical playground for attendees to lose themselves in a kaleidoscope of exciting performances across the purpose built and uniquely crafted stages within the festival.

THE KOOKS + TASH SULTANA + M.I.A + JOEY BADA$$ + PNAU + BICEP (LIVE) + DUNE RATS BALL PARK MUSIC + VERA BLUE + KiNK (LIVE) + WINSTON SURFSHIRT + PEGGY GOU + FOALS (DJ SET) + WILLARIS. K + YOUNG FRANCO + BOB MOSES + SG LEWIS + LIME CORDIALE + CHAOS IN THE CBD + FURNACE & THE FUNDAMENTALS + ANNA + YOTTO
HUMAN MOVEMENT + DOM DOLLA + CUT SNAKE + CC:DISCO! + PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS + GROOVE CITY + FLAVA D + GENESIS OWUSU + KLP + BONTAN + KRYSTAL KLEAR + LOODS + YOUNG MONKS + PACIFIC AVENUE + WALLACE + THUNDERFOX + MILAN RING + CLEWS + MAJUN BU + THE JIM MITCHELLS + RACKETT + SHANTAN WANTAN + ICHIBAN+ CLYPSO + MOTORIK VIBE COUNCIL + EBONY BOADU + LEX DELUXE + SPORTS UNCLE RU + MATT RINGROSE + DIBBY DIBBY SOUNDSYSTEM

For all ticket and camping details and to purchase tickets visit: www.lostparadise.com.au

First release 3-day tickets: $319 + bf
First release 4-day tickets: $368 + bf
All tickets include a general camping spot


About the author

For the last 20+ years, Damion has been an international touring DJ, promoter, touring agent, label owner, magazine editor and producer. He is currently the Group Editor and Managing Director of Decoded Magazine. Hear more at https://soundcloud.com/damionpell-1

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