Lost Village is a festival that likes to keep the mystery alive. For starters, as you attempt to find your way, it’s hard to know in which exact part of the Lincolnshire countryside the village in question has been lost. When you do find your way, the questions keep coming. Most of the stages are submerged in the woods, shrouded behind treetops and at the end of half-covered pathways. Revellers here will spend most of their weekend discovering new corners of the village late at night, only to barely remember them in the morning and make each discovery all over again the following night. The mood of the weekend is one that is hungry for the night time, keen to devour the impeccable, Resident Advisor-assisted line up of progressive beats and electronica.

Thursday night is but the warm-up, although nobody treats The Black Madonna as anything less than a fourth headliner. Garnering what transpires to be one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, Marea Stamper’s set rides the line between crowd-pleasing and boundary testing. There are few more coveted moments in a festival than the DJ whose blessing it is to break the ice, and when that set hits the crowd in the right spot there is a release of energy and joy that is priceless. Under The Black Madonna’s spell, the Lost Village becomes one mass of movement, and when she opts to close things out with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, she gets the grandest, cheesiest singalong that she could have hoped for.

Friday sees the entire festival awaken, the hidden areas opening their imaginary gates, the non-music areas blossoming into life. Alongside the Lost Theatre, the Institute of Curious Minds plays home all weekend to an array of talks and debates on all manner of contemporary topics. A standout talk comes from Dan Hancox, in conversation with stage curator Kate Hutchinson, on the subject of his recent book on the history of grime, ‘Inner City Pressure’. Hancox has enough first-hand insight into the provenance of the styles that originally converged to form what is now the dominant force in British music, with great anecdotes involving Shystie and Wiley, that I would wager he sold more than a handful of copies of the book on site.

One artist that is at the forefront of the music that Hancox discusses is Kojey Radical, the London MC and free-thinking one-man movement that for a few years now has been conjuring new developments at will. His enthusiasm is infectious enough that an initially modest crowd builds steadily – passers by finding Kojey’s intensity an irresistible allure. The set is admittedly at the populist end of his spectrum, but that comes with festival experience, and Kojey proves that he understands the primal directness of his music. More than anybody else all weekend, he seems genuinely taken by the appreciation of the crowd, and more than anybody else, he worked hard to earn it.

The crowd that Kojey builds stays and grows yet more for the arrival of Maribou State, the British duo that are set to release their third album in two weeks’ time. Traditionally, festival sets that come in advance of the release of the new record can come unstuck, but the crowd is more than willing to swim in Maribou State’s direction. They drop their single of the year contender ‘Feel Good’ early on to ensure that the crowd are fully catalysed, before bouncing around their back catalogue from banger to banger. From their early days in the murky UK garage scene to their dayglo years in leftfield house and warped R&B, it hits all the spots for the Lost Village, whose taste in dance music is impressively broad.

Bringing the main stage to a close on Friday is the returning Friendly Fires. After some six years away, they’ve re-emerged into the light in 2018 and their hybrid of live alternative rock and dance music culture makes them an easy fir for Lost Village. With their new album not yet announced, they wisely stick to nostalgic goods for tonight, and for those of us that have let the Friendly Fires part of their subconscious lay dormant for a while, there seem to be audible gasps of remembrance when their big hitters kick in. Their line-up of two drummers and mini brass section makes them extra easy to fall for, a danceable concoction that ten years ago seemed to predict the world we live in now. ‘Hawaiian Air’ and ‘Jump in the Pool’ are saved for the climax, and Lost Village sends them off with the satisfaction that one gets when one rediscovers a lost treasure.

Any sore heads on Saturday afternoon may not have had time to recover before the pulverising arrival of Hamburg techno queen Helena Hauff. If anyone’s suffering, they’re not letting it show. Hauff’s album ‘Qualm’ is one of the year’s best and her set is pure, righteous communication. You can have a one-on-one conversation with someone and communicate less than Hauff does with her music, a firecracking explosion where ‘Anarchy in the UK’ meets cutting-edge technological prowess, displaying a level of proficiency, of course, that any punk band couldn’t be seen dead with. Laser clean beats dealt out at rocket power intensity from the first second until the last, it refuses to be forgotten.

When Four Tet arrives on the main stage, it’s like the adults have arrived. He has held an elevated status amongst electronic music culture for nearly as long as he’s been professional, a craftsmen in an ocean of identikits. Every beat that emerges from his hand is manicured, architected and user-focused, but more than that it slots into a story. The set tells a tale, its early passages intricate and detailed, requiring the audience to lean into its complexity. Beats are frilled and rippled, but they move too quickly for every kink to be fully explored. As Kieran Hebden starts moving through the gears, the shifts in mood are seamless. Rhythms expand and the audience’s attention pays off in surprising and unpredictable ways. Glimpses of pop recognition leap from the soundsystem, as if to honeytrap the crowd ever more tightly into Hebden’s grip. His place at the top of the table, on this evidence, is under very little threat at all.

Sunday begins, appropriately, with a moral debate. Russell Kane, Jordan Stephens and journalist Martin Robinson convene at the Institute of Curious Minds for a spirited, thoughtful discussion on the subject of masculinity. Kane, who headlines the stage with his comedy set later in the day, is animated on the subject, his frustration with the old order physically evident. Questions from the audience are equally stimulating, impressively so for this stage of a festival.

Over at the Junkyard, the festival’s number two stage, one of the weekend’s great hidden gem performances is taking place. Hannah Faith, the London music selector and DJ, channels the deep groove in her set. Unbound by one genre, she explores jazz and the freedom that it permits, not fleetingly as many others will do this weekend, but in detail and with curiosity. Her 90 minute set takes the time that its ingredients require, the crowd knowledgeable and appreciative. Faith deftly incorporates pop music more and more as the set unfurls itself, shards of Destiny’s Child infiltrating this most musically dense and impressive of sets. Gilles Peterson, the godfather of jazz-inflected DJing in the UK, follows Faith across on the Abandoned Chapel stage, the hottest spot of the weekend. He takes a dive into his eye-watering record collection, visibly salivating as he fondles each slab of vinyl, and serves up a cornucopia of sounds from every place and time.

By the time that Sunday night arrives, there might have been some question in the air as to whether headliners Everything Everything were the right choice to round out such a dance-heavy weekend. The Manchester indie quartet make their people dance and no mistake, but would their live set click into these surroundings? Well, by the rapturous reception their early tracks get, no such question should ever have arisen. The crowds know every word, as the Everythings select from all four of their studio albums, ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Distant Past’ amongst the lights-in-the-air moments. They save early favourite ‘My Kz, Ur Bf’ for the end of the main set, a pleasing throwback to their early days, but it is the encore hit of ‘No Reptiles’ that has throats getting sore in Lincolnshire.

This is only the third instalment of Lost Village Festival, but already its reputation as a boutique, elevated experience is growing fast. The calibre of the food on offer far outstrips the vast majority of its competitors, the music line-up is exceedingly well selected and the presentation of the festival is that of an impeccably maintained mystery. If the organisers can continue to maintain the things that have made Lost Village pop out from the pack in the future, then there is no reason that this new name in the UK calendar shouldn’t hit even greater heights in the future.