Travelling in a bus with blacked-out windows to a secret forest location where you mix with artists and help shape their work – LOST is the latest and possibly most creative addition to the great British summer festival scene.
Founded by Oli Johns and Jodie Powell, LOST is a 24-hour interactive arts and music gathering organised through their Please Do Not Not Touch interactive live art events company.
Events hosted by PDNNT feature physically interactive and engaging work, encouraging spectators to become participants in the creation of art. Unlike other exhibitions, LOST-goers are expected to touch, climb and paint on the works, allowing them to leave their own creative trace and so play a part in redefining the ‘gallery’ experience.
Expect to dance, drink and have fun like you do at any other festival, but the main focus is on art and its creation.
The adventure starts off as soon as the festival-goers are collected at King’s Cross. They put on the provided overalls and then board the LOST coach, on which the windows are blacked out, to start their 60-minute journey to a secret woodland.
Upon arrival they are given pots of paint to use and will find food vendors, a bar and a stage for the headline act and DJs. Artists will be present to discuss their pieces with participants and collaborate with them throughout the event.
“We want people who are life explorers and are up to taking charge and getting involved.”
Oli Johns says: “It’s just a good opportunity for people to talk to artists in a really relaxed and fun environment. With about 50 people with you on the same bus, you are encouraged to talk to them and share your experiences.”
To further redefine the festival’s uniquely escapist feel, participants are requested to leave all electronic devices at home.
“We want people to create a really exciting and bizarre story for the weekend!” Explains Johns. “We’ve asked them to bring along an old-school camera and just enjoy their time there without feeling the need to constantly use phones and update friends.”
In this way, the organisers are hoping people can completely immerse themselves in the festival experience without any outside-world distractions.
Johns continues: “People can really get involved by climbing on, touching and painting the installations. This will happen across the 24 hours until you get taken back the next day. You will have great stories to tell your friends while arriving home just in time for your Sunday roast!”
Johns, with a background in event organising, and Powell met two years ago and have established a big following. Their mission is to de-mystify art by allowing people to engage in the art-making process.
“We want people to feel that they are creative beings,” says Johns. “Our objective is to make art more appealing and to get people more involved and make the arts more accessible.
“It’s very exciting for us as organisers too because we don’t know what to expect. We have an idea of what is going to take place, but don’t know exactly what is going to happen. It’s just going to be really fun, and no-one is judging as everyone’s discovering the exhibitions together.”
The pair are hoping to see a range of people attending LOST, all of who are ready to take on an adventure. ‘We want to see a mixture, from art lovers to people who want to express themselves and try something different while creating art and dancing to the music.
“We want people who are life explorers and are up to taking charge and getting involved.
“We’ve been holding teaser events to help communicate the festival and allow people to get a sense of what LOST will be like. It will give them a sense of what to expect and see the things we can do and think ‘yeah, I can imagine myself going there.'”
The duo are hoping to develop the LOST festival year on year while keeping the installations safe in a warehouse and re-introducing them the following summer to allow people to reinvent the pieces, making the art created ever-evolving.
“The idea is to exhibit the installations at some point in an environment that would allow people to party around them while engaging with the arts.” Johns concludes.
LOST takes place on August 22. Tickets start from £41, including a camping pitch and 24-hour access to the LOST woodlands.
All images provided by PDNNT & LOST.