Simon Daly started the Falls Festival when he was just 21, after leaving University, without his commerce or education degree, and moving back to the family farm in Lorne. His Dad advised that the Falls Festival would come in peaks and troughs and not to expect more than 5 years out of it. 20 years later and Daly had built an iconic festival that spread across two states on consecutive days over New Years – in Lorne and Marion Bay, Tasmania – with an added location of Byron Bay imminent.


After having his first two kids Lyla (7) and Oscar (3), and 20 years in the festival game, priorities shifted for Daly whose mum, dad, sister and wife were all heavily involved in the running of the business.  Now with a third child, Bowie (5 months), and three years post-Falls retirement, Daly is reenergised with fresh passion and a spark of enthusiasm that comes with bringing another revolution to the Aussie festival landscape. Bringing back a place that time forgot, a lost era, a time where screens were not, comes The Lost Lands.  Inspired by a special spot along The Great Ocean Road in the flats by a river with no phone reception, where Daly and a few hundred of his mates and families have retreated to over the past couple of years, came the seedling of The Lost Lands Festival.


Further to your special camping spot and family, where has inspiration for The Lost Lands come from?

In Europe there have been festivals that have been going on for decades more than here and families have been a real and intrinsic part of that. I think that has contributed to a really strong culture in Europe which I think is only positive with kids being exposed to music and arts and its just a real natural kind
of progression.

Richard Moffatt (former Falls Festival Programmer) told me the vision I had for Lost Lands was closely aligned to a festival in the UK called Camp Bestival. So I took the whole family and camped there for 4 days and nights with 16,000 adults and 15,000 children. The kids were thoroughly engaged. It was complete sensory overload in the first few hours and then you settled in. They also have a castle, and although we don’t have castles in Australia, Werribee Mansion is pretty close! And the gardens are really beautiful. But also we’ve got a zoo as our neighbour (free entry for the kids over the festival weekend)! The Camp Bestival trip validated the ideas of what The Lost Lands could become.

There’s so many exciting elements to the festival, tell us about one unique act in the program.

We’re flying in Emiliano Matesanz who’s a Spanish/Argentinian who I met when I was traveling through Northern Spain. He makes all these incredible sculptural artistic children’s games and they’re all made from recycled metals, mostly old car parts and general scrap metal, the springs from old bed frames He has over 40 games prepared for the kids.

There’s going to be many zones. The main stage is mainly for the parents, but it’s also music that you’d be proud to have your kids share and then so much of the other programing is geared towards the kids and once they get to the Lost Lands its then that they’ll realise how big that is. But also the programming of the arts, theatre and comedy is very much for the kids but its also very engaging for the adults.

How do you secure the line-up and get that mix of programming right?

This came together reasonably smoothly. Trying to get that feel right of things that kids would really love but stuff that goes back to your old days. Like the Waifs.

A lot of the acts we approached have got kids themselves so from that side they just loved the concept right from the beginning. So it was a really easy process to get them involved. Miriachi Al Bronx, Missy Higgins, The Waifs, Ozomatli, Ali Barter and Architecture in Helsinki are all in the lineup, but we also want the festival to be showcasing new talent as well. Uncovering new talents Like Tash Sultana and Alex Lahey. It’s really catering for all.


What stands out, over all those years at Falls? Favourite moments/acts?

There is so many. Harking back to my day and the times, the first Tassie Falls was really special. It was a real historical moment in terms of my ‘Event Life’. And of course the very first Falls Festy. Performance wise, at the time Iggy Pop was the most stand-out performance of the whole duration of Falls. His energy just being on show. Also The Hives first show in Australia was in Falls, maybe 2001, and they were just such jaw-dropping performances. Just a really special show. They stand out for live performances.

Where do you see the festival headed in the next few years?

Ultimately my vision for it within the next 2 or 3 years is for not only having Lyla (daughter) but a bunch of other kids from different ages, from 4 years through to say 14 years, involved in feedback post events and getting a lot of input from the kids. But more importantly during the festival, getting the kids to run really good chunks of the event as little event organisers themselves. They’re so switched on and there’s no doubt when they’re given that responsibility that they’ll embrace it maybe even better than any of us. For example that might be wrist banding, down the track and once the systems are in place it’d be really good to see kids checking kids. And there might be an outpost where maybe an adult is driving a buggy and a kid in the front with the list making sure that everybody gets fed every 4 hours.

Between October 29 – 30 Werribee Park will play host to an exciting and carefully curated music and arts program that will cater for the tastes of an estimated 3,000 people aged 2-62 years! With an abundance of activities, theatre, comedy, acts and workshops geared towards the kids, but equally appealing to the adults, the Lost Lands is sure to delight a wide array of new and old festival goers.

You can download the full program here.

This festival may not be as big as Falls, but it promises to be a festival of great wonder and charm.