Lost Festival Founder Talks to The Idle Man

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It turns out the Lost festival founder isn't as mysterious as her festival. We thought we should get to know her a little better before Lost all kicks off on 20th August.

Read more Music features.

Everyone attending Lost festival has no clue where they're going. For anyone who's just moved to a city, it's a feeling they know pretty well, but at Lost it's on purpose. As you get on the bus the windows are covered and you're driven to a secret location in London. It's a chance to let go of the usual constraints life puts you under and be free. Don't think you'll be Snapchatting your friends all night either as phones are left at home.

This isn't a festival it's an interactive outdoor gallery, you're invited to become a part of the installations or watch impromptu performances. There's also a finely curated music line up on offer with Bestival founder and BBC Radio DJ Rob da Bank joining the fray, so expect some weird and wonderful sounds.

If you're keen you can grab tickets from their website and check out what Lost founder Jodie Powell has to say about how the festival began with a few fashion tips thrown in for good measure.

Stay up to date on Lost Festival’s movements on their WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Buy tickets

lost festival line up poster
Lost Line up

How did you first get into putting on your own events?

I studied Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art and hosted small live art parties instead of exhibitions, where I invited spectators to climb inside my installations to paint me, while enjoying DJ sets (thanks to my friends) and cheap beer (thanks to my student loan). I found the live, collaborative aspect exhilarating and so much more engaging than the usual gallery experience. After I graduated, these events grew into larger scale interactive art and music parties in venues such as Hoxton Basement in East London.

With the help of seriously talented emerging artists and musicians, we totally transformed venues into three-dimensional canvases and encouraged participants to leave their mark. The events then turned into LOST festival, which is a 24 hour Interactive Live Art and Music experience in a secret woodland location near London, where participants leave their phones at home, jump on blacked-out coaches, and immerse themselves in pure escapism and artistic indulgence.

lost festival
Lost Festival

Can you tell us a little about the team that work on LOST with you?

I’ve got a creative, passionate and fierce team! Creative Director, Tom Spicer, is a Fine Art Central Saint Martins graduate and the Co-Founder & Co-Director of artist-run organisation, Light Eye Mind in Finsbury Park. Tom's exhibited in the UK and abroad, and has just been accepted onto the Artist Teaching & Contemporary Practice course at Goldsmiths. As a practicing artist and curator, Tom is interested in “how objects exist in the imagination and how ideas come out into the world”.

Over the last few months he’s been rounding up a team of emerging artists for LOST 2016, including Alice Kilkenny, who'll be creating incredible visual installations fresh from touring her work with Sting. John Costi, who has recently shown at The Koppel Project, Light Eye Mind and Tate Modern, will be bringing his unique inimitable art and spoken word. Daniel J Norie, who’s currently exhibiting at Brick Lane's PROOF Gallery, will be bringing his expansive visual language to the eyes of the eager crowds; and KIVU, the people’s artist, who’s been turning the tables on art audiences since 1988.

Taking care of all things music are Adam Wise & Rory Cordery, who are the faces behind Cue Music - a DJ agency that acts as a platform for promoting positive growth in artists that they believe in through perpetuating creativity, positive energy and togetherness. Both with backgrounds in event production, and no strangers to throwing their own parties in the form of their DISCOFUNK sister brand, they focus solely on the experience and collectively share each other’s ideals when it comes down to one simple fact - “having a f**king great time, with great people. Love is the message.”

lost festival man paint woods
Lost Festival

Musician and Greenstone Festival organiser, Jay Brown, is taking over our acoustic stage as well as performing on it herself. She’ll be bringing down her finest acts from Greenstone and providing us with delicious daytime treats and cosy twilight sessions. Jay’s passion and experience in running her own independent, boutique festival means collaborating with her is going to be a pleasure.

Our Head of Volunteers, Hattie Crane, is the queen of festival volunteering and travels the world, capturing photos and collecting inspiration to help her on her mission to spread creativity to adults and children. After graduating in (BA) Hons Contemporary Arts Practice at Bath University and studying Visual Arts for a year at Queensland University Brisbane in Australia, Hattie knows exactly how to dress our magical woodland.

With the imagination of an uninterrupted child (is there a bigger compliment?) and the most enthusiastic work-ethic I have ever encountered in my 26 years, I have no doubt she’ll have the volunteers singing and dancing as they create, decorate and paint.

Biggest challenge you come across when putting on your events?

Time-management! As an artist, I’m the first to admit that handling deadlines is not my strongest asset, due to my sporadic approach to ‘to-do lists’ and desire for perfection. So with a team full of creatives, we definitely struggle to complete our finishing touches before the doors (or woods, in LOST’s case) open to participants. I usually find myself running around with paint brushes, nails and masking tape in my hands, with minutes left until we go live. It’s as exciting as it is challenging, and is all part of the fun of putting on interactive events.

lost festival lights lady
Lost in Lights

What advice would you have for someone looking to start a career in events?

I would say genuine, ruthless passion is the foundation for starting a career in events. If you’re more concerned about people enjoying themselves than the event being busy or financially successful, then you’re on the right tracks. Your love for your events will shine through and rub off on the team and the audience, and will therefore produce a warm atmosphere.

Make sure you attend, work and volunteer at as many different events as possible to gain all the experience you can in the preparation and the live event. You’ve got to feel confident when the event goes live; you can’t just be good at the dress rehearsal. The buzz when it’s all kicking off is indescribable. Also, prepare yourself for an undesirable sleeping pattern around event time - you can sleep it off post-event, when you’re celebrating and relaxing.

What event would you look to if you were to say 'this is how you put on an event properly'?

I love Secret Cinema, Bold Tendencies and Punchdrunk events. The attention to detail and immersive nature is on point.

Your key elements to putting on a successful event?

Ensure you have the right balance between creative people and organised people on your team. The creative people come up with the ambitious ideas; the organised people find ways to make them happen. Do your best to introduce the crew to each other as soon as possible and encourage collaboration - the teamwork element is crucial. Most importantly, do whatever is in your power to keep the audience engaged and excited.

lost festival woods
Lost in Woods

How does your career affect the way you dress?

Around live events you’ll usually find me in my dungarees because the excessive amount of pockets turn me into a walking toolkit. When I go out, I tend to wear outfits that reflect artists and palettes I love. I rarely look smart and have paint stains on most of my clothes. Fortunately I’m into bold, unapologetic patterns, so I think it all blends in…

Where do you get your style inspiration from?

I go for cuts, shapes, colours, patterns and statements - I suppose I choose outfits like I choose paintings, furniture or website backgrounds. For me it’s about picking something that I really connect with, then figuring out what to put with it so I don’t go overboard.

What advice would you give to someone who is having difficulty developing their own style?

I would suggest they ask a friend what colour they suit best (it’s hard doing it yourself cos if you’re anything like me you’ll just pick your favourite colour, which could be catastrophic). Next, pick a statement piece that really stands out, like a loud shirt, bag or sharp pair of shoes, that incorporates their chosen colour. All that’s left to do is choose the base colour (black, grey, navy etc.) to prime the canvas with. If they pick a feature piece that suits them and also reflects their mood and personality, then their outfit will sum them up.

What are your top 5 picks from The Idle Man?

lost festival founder interview
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