St Paul's Bay, Malta
3 - 6 May
If aliens crash-landed onto the Mediterranean island of Malta over the bank holiday weekend, they’d think Annie Mac was a god. Here, innumerable ravers wear merch featuring the DJ’s iconic head of curly hair and, forgive the blasphemy, across the four days of her incredibly curated AMP Lost & Found festival, the Radio One stalwart felt worthy of the worship.
Lost & Found is the essential pre-summer party, a warmup for the hotter months, spread across the island. By day there were pool parties, boat parties and castle raves. By night, four festival stages. The shuttle buses ferrying you from party to party also serve as sightseeing tours, taking in the incredible sights of ancient churches, poplar trees and yachts mooring in the Mediterranean Sea.
Cafe Del Mar was the setting for a pool party on the first day of festivities with Shola Ama, The Heatwave and Ms Banks on the bill. Against a backdrop of golden coastline, Mike Skinner cut up an array of genres for his set, from funky house and grime to trap and old school garage. Cafe Del Mar’s infinity pool created an optical illusion that was pure Instagram bait for party-goers.
When the sun went down Jamie xx, The Black Madonna and Four Tet owned the main stage. To the crowd’s delight, Four Tet took everyone on a nostalgic trip, spinning out melodies like nursery rhymes and even dropping Bippity Boppity Boo from the classic 1950 Disney animation Cinderella.
Diplo’s set was also diverse, going from thumping bass to unashamed pop and dropping in a few unexpected gems along the way like Soulja Boy’s Crank That and Spice Girls’ Wannabe. Things mellowed out when he took a moment to pay tribute to long-time friend Avicii who recently passed away at the age of 28 – Diplo recently described the late DJ as “a real groundbreaker and influencer” in a heartfelt homage.
You set the precedent for the rest of us producers/ opened doors and set the trends . A real groundbreaker and influencer to all your peers . You should have lived to be 150.. but your music is gonna live forever . I’m not just saying that.. but you are the only one to always make timeless songs. You were the gold standard . You made me want try and make dance music when i first heard “seek bromance” . And then u kept making feel like shit cause you kept gettin better and i couldn’t even mix a snare right .. you were the best of this generation . A real superstar 🌟 I know you had your demons and maybe this wasn’t the right place for you sometimes , but we need to protect true artists like you at all costs because there are not enough left and we are losing too many .. be good Tim
But it was J Hus who proved a major highlight, bounding about the stage shirtless with tons of energy. At one point Hus even leapt into the crowd, driving the girls at the front into a state of frenzy. Restricted from performing live because of various legal issues and the notorious Form 696, it seems the Afrobeats star is adamant on making up for lost time, giving the audience a night to remember with the best from his critically acclaimed album Common Sense.
At the castle rave, DJ Heidi had the crowd bouncing under the intense rays of the Maltese sun. At one point she had everyone in a frenzy with their hands in the air as the DJ dashed out free beers from her own rider to the crowd.
Notably, there was a strong female presence across the line-up with women like Clara Amfo, Mabel, Peggy Gou and Stefflon Don all performing across the festival. Annie Mac has famously critiqued majority-male line-ups saying “music festivals have always been heinously lacking in women. I have been DJing for 12 years, starting out as the lone woman on all-male line-ups”. It was great to see her address the issue, and one of the reasons Lost & Found felt so refreshing. We’re already looking forward to next year.