It’s here, finally! Festival season has begun after months of cold, rain and Storm Emma leaving us knee deep in snow. Our season began in Malta, as Annie Mac presented her 4th edition of Lost & Found. The 4 day event has continued to build on it’s previous instalments, with the addition of pool parties, castle raves and most recently a brand new beach party to cater to thousands of budding ravers.
The Maltese islands have become one of the many sought after overseas festival hotspots in recent years, with various events and pop-up festivals opting to use the historic landmarks available. After visiting the country for L&F, we can see just why brands and ravers are flooding here every year.
Kicking off the festival saw Malta’s National Aquarium terrace transformed into a rave venue, anticipating the arrival of many eager ravers, ready and raring for a 4 day party. The large open plan terrace is an ideal venue space, acting as a blank canvas with a seafront setting; perfect for an opening party. Across the venue found two large areas for toilet facilities, as well as two sizeable bars either side of the terrace. VIP ticket holders were also granted access to an indoor area of the Aquarium, containing a separate bar, toilets and seating area. The unfortunate high winds made the initial show slightly cooler than expected, but no weather was going to stop the party.
The payment system at Lost & Found was via a top-up wristband. Drink prices mirrored that of a standard UK festival, with water costing €3 and a beer/cider at €5.50. A single spirit and mixer would set you back €6 and a double €8.50.
Throughout the many venues staff were friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. Knowledgable of the sites and surrounding areas, happy to answer questions and keeping people informed of the remaining balance on their wristbands.
Largely dominated by the UK and Maltese locals, with variety of ages and backgrounds but all sharing the same passion for music. A happy and positive crowd, with no trouble throughout the event.
Production & Sound
The Aquarium terrace was kitted out with lighting and a festival grade soundsystem. Two large square rigs formed an industrial structure which held various rotating beams, along with rows of flashing bulb lights overarching the structure. The stage featured a medium sized LED frontdrop and further lighting in the form of strobes, lamps and par lights shooting funky colours into the crowd. Despite being on a large terrace battling 30mph winds, the high sound quality kept viewers immersed throughout. Line arrays either side of the stage provided thumping bass, which reached the length and width of the venue. Topping off the night was a firework display which added that extra little wow factor to the opening show!
DJ Sets –
Setting the pace for the night saw the main woman herself; Annie Mac behind the decks, alongside Josey Rebelle and Denis Sulta. An unfortunate cancellation from The Martinez Brothers meant an extended set from the host, who has more than enough tracks in her locker to get the party started. Picking up the tempo from Josey Rebelle’s deeper hitting set saw Annie spinning an eclectic selection of tracks, to get the festival started on a high. “Deep Dip” by Detlef certainly got the mood flowing, with it’s thumping drop bursting out of the line arrays. Further into the extended set saw Waze & Odyssey’s wacky new number “To The Beat”, which has been a frequent weapon of choice in Annie’s Radio 1 shows. Towards the end of her performance saw the introduction of fireworks shooting into the sky, creating a spectacular scene to open the festival.
How many of us can say we’ve raved in a castle? Well, thankfully we can now, but hear it from us – You NEED to do it. On the Saturday we headed across the island to Valetta, where the new castle site was due to be unveiled for 2018. Like many of the venues used by Lost & Found, this was a large open air space perfect for a daytime party. Within the castle found two pop up bars, which were rushed off their feet throughout the day, a third or longer bar would’ve been useful here. At the back of the venue were food vendors serving up hot grub for the hungry punters – of which we were one. One addition worth considering in future years, would be providing some sheltered areas away from the hot beating sun – us fair skin peeps can’t always handle the heat. Nonetheless the castle rave was a highlight of the festival for us, the historic setting combined with rays of sunshine and upbeat tracks was just what the doctor ordered.
Production & Sound
Stripped back and kept to a minimum, production was light at the venue, given the one of a kind castle setting. A small sized decorative AMP branded stage was present within the historic landmark, which we’d love to see scaled up in future years. Two speaker stacks either side of the stage boomed the day’s audio, rocking the castle walls and filling the venue with sound.
DJ Sets –
After solid opening sets from Paradox City and DJ Haus, stepping up to the castle stage on a sweltering day was Jackathon queen; Heidi, ready to show the thousands of ravers in attendance just why she’s one of the industry’s most colourful artists. With the day beginning to reach it’s climax, Heidi opted for her usual explosive pace, taking things up a notch with “Counting Tool” by Latmun thudding into the crowd, sending them into a frenzy. Heidi’s enthusiasm for her track selection is clear to see from her body language; this is a DJ who bleeds charisma, which is reflected in the crowd’s reactions. Steve Lawler’s 2015 anthem “House Record” kept the crowd dancing into the early evening, with it’s snappy tech beat and looping vocals. A top draw performance from Heidi, leaving the atmosphere at an all time high for the closing act.
Rounding off the castle rave was man of the moment; Patrick Topping. As well as being an established producer, Patrick’s high calibre sets have made him one of the biggest names in the underground scene, with thousands of fans travelling around the world to witness the Newcastle born artist. The high in demand Geordie star opened in classic Topping style, selecting his latest trademark track; the EAcapella remix of Mall Grab’s “Feel Good House”. The lively crowd instantly took to his set, with the summery dance anthem proving to be the perfect soundtrack to the day. Maintaining the high tempo was Erik Hagleton’s remix of “Jump N Shout”, leaving the crowd’s feet burning holes in the castle grounds! The finale track came from one of Patrick’s own early productions. “Boxed Off” released in 2014 on Hot Creations closed the castle rave leaving us all lost in the moment, what a day!
Based within the picturesque Mediterranean sea-front setting of Cafe Del Mar, the pool parties added that extra bit of class and summer vibe. The venue really is a hidden gem, giving an Ocean Beach esque feel to the daytime shenanigans. No stranger to holding an event, the club has with a weekly session by the name of CDM Sundays along with various one off shows on the books (including a Toolroom takeover in June – BIG!).
Production & Sound
With such an impressive scenic offering, minimal production was needed to get the atmosphere flowing during the daily shows. The L&F pool party venue of choice does however pack a punch where sound is concerned. A powerful Funktion-One sound system is dotted throughout the large venue, you literally couldn’t escape the rhythms. Whether you were chilling on a sunbed, or right in the thick of the crowd, the party atmosphere was everywhere.
DJ Sets –
One of the many surprise b2b sets saw Denis Sulta jump in with Mella Dee, Moxie, Mall Grab and Annie Mac during the daytime pool party. As you could probably guess, this extended showcase was popping with character and flair. Delving into some feel-good classics such as Soulsearcher’s “Can’t Get Enough” and Mella Dee’s latest disco release “Donny’s Groove” had the packed out terrace in high spirits, as the sun was beating down on the buoyant crowd. With such a mesmerising setting to match the music on display, you couldn’t really ask for much more.
The main venue used during the nights of the festival was Uno Village, located in Ta’Qali. Within the site found three open air arenas named The Palace, Pyramid and The Tropicana, with one enclosed club room dubbed The Factory. Throughout the venue were a total of 14 bars – it’s safe to say if you needed to quench your thirst, you didn’t have to wait long. Bigger toilet facilities however wouldn’t go amiss, with peak festival times leaving long queues to the facilities. Food vendors were also available at Uno, ranging from crepes to pizza – take it from us, the Nutella crepe is to die for.
Production & Sound
Between the stages available at the main site saw some hefty production in play – The Palace being our pick of the bunch. Intelligent projectors provided vibrant and colourful visuals, some even giving a 3D effect to the stage. Each DJ saw the introduction of different variations which set the scene, perfectly mapped onto the shape of The Palace stage. Without knowing, you could easily think it was one giant LED box! Just when you thought the stage couldn’t pull out any more tricks, two large hidden Co2 cannons blasted their way into the crowd. Beam lights, heavy hitting strobes and the fan favourite; confetti also featured during peak parts of the night. The Palace featured a strong sound set up, with additional speakers in all corners of the venue to ensure no space was left without adequate audio.
The Pyramid stage also offered it’s fare share of thrills, two large LED martini glasses were a firm standout, along with some strong spot lights, which sent colour throughout the crowd along with a bad boy Funktion-One system at the helm of sound duties.
The Amsterdam based DJ stepped up to the Pyramid stage off the back of what some might deem to be his breakthrough year in 2017, with no signs of slowing down. Known for his heavy drums and distinct synthesisers that add a touch of class to his sets, the former Printworks resident has since become a member of the LWE family, who were quick on their feet to make the upcoming artist their own brand resident. Straight from the word go, William was blasting drum heavy beats through the Funktion-One system, enticing the crowd into his set. Mathias Kaden’s powerful track “Nova” thumped through the hefty speakers, giving a glimpse into Djoko’s heavy track arsenal. The remainder of the performance followed this upbeat, stomping rhythm, pumping energy into the crowd.
Taking over the reins from William Djoko was Paul Woolford. The Leeds bred DJ has over 10 years of experience in the music industry, not to mention separate aliases under Bobby Peru & Special Request. Paul picked up from where William Djoko left off; with hard hitting techno sounds erupting through the venue. Keeping the pace high and the bass heavy, he progressed into his stride continuing to leave the crowd in awe. Errorsmith & Fiedel’s “Nous sommes MMM” featuring a distinct heavy bassline ensured the Pyramid stage stayed at full capacity. The real highlight however was yet to come, as Paul dropped his unreleased “Hang Up Your Hang Ups”. A track that oozes class, and we’re sure will be played around the world in coming months.
Mella Dee b2b Mall Grab b2b Denis Sulta
The penultimate day had come, but not without it’s surprises, as an impromptu b2b2b was on the cards from Mella Dee, Mall Grab and Denis Sulta. Three young and exciting DJ, bursting at the seams with energy, ready to give the festival a memorable ending. Spanning across a mass of tempos and sub-genres within the house and techno spectrum, we were taken on a journey of disco infused groovers, classic dance anthems and bass-ridden techno. You honestly couldn’t predict what was going to come next. SLAM’s monstrous remix of “Bang The Box” by Jackmaster was met by blasts from the Co2 cannons, whilst Mella Dee’s trademark “Techno Disco Tool” lightened the mood with it’s upbeat vocals. The feel-good drop was met perfectly by a shower of confetti into the crowd. Denis Sulta then added an electro twist with Felix Da House Cat’s “Silver Screen Shower Scene” (try saying that fast five times), an exhilarating track to keep the crowd motivated during the final stretch of the 4 day party. A highly polished performance from the trio, which had our musical taste buds tingling!
Drawing the festival to it’s final moments saw Belfast duo Bicep providing a kaleidoscope of minimal and melodic sound. The powerhouse double act left the crowd in constant applause, with their heavy artillery of tracks. Toying with our emotions, they dipped into harder hitting basslines and uplifting melodies. Closing with the magical Four Tet remix of their very own track “Opal”, was a moment none of us will be forgetting anytime soon!
Another successful year in Malta for Annie Mac’s Lost & Found, having found their feet with a later date, the festival is continuing to make ground and deliver a perfect kickstart to the festival season. The introduction of new venues and parties are keeping the festival fresh and alive, and whilst new venues will always breed improvements, we’re confident this is a festival on the up. 8/10
Fancy it next year? Lost & Found returns 2nd-5th May 2019, limited early bird tickets on sale now.