The Rubens.

The Rubens will be playing at Lost Picnic. Photo: Supplied

You've got to wonder why it hasn't happened before. From midday on Sunday until sunset, an upmarket music festival fuelled by gourmet food, respectable wines and boutique beer will be held at Centennial Park.

The Lost Picnic, which is expected to draw up to 3500 fans, is the brainchild of English expat Simon Beckingham, who previously ran boutique electronica events.

Chefs carry the same weight as musicians, especially in Sydney. Food is such a big thing that chefs are the new rock stars. 

What makes it different is the co-headline billing given to big name musicians and well-known Sydney chefs.

Sons of the East band members Dan Wallage and Nick Johnston, who will be playing at The Lost Picnic, with chef Martin Boetz, centre.

Sons of the East band members Dan Wallage and Nick Johnston, who will be playing at Lost Picnic, with chef Martin Boetz, centre. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

Megan Washington, an alternative pop star, and The Rubens, who supported Bruce Springsteen on his recent tour, are the main musical drawcards, while the food is "curated" by Icebergs chef Maurice Terzini and former Longrain, now Rushcutters chef, Martin Boetz.

Festivalgoers, who pay about $100 a ticket, won't have to deal with standard food and drink offerings like sausage in a roll, chicken curry, mid-strength beer and cheap plonk.

Instead they can purchase one of 500 hampers designed by Boetz and Terzini, which include posh nosh like polpettone (Italian meatloaf), bresaola involtini (rolled air-dried salted beef), potted trout confit, cheeses, local olives and chocolate torte.

"Chefs carry the same weight as musicians, especially in Sydney," Beckingham says. "Food is such a big thing that chefs are the new rock stars."

Wine is from Heathcote's Italian range, Montevecchio, or the Spanish sparkling Jane Ventura (sold by the bottle), while beers are Little Creatures and White Rabbit. There will also be two cocktails and a mocktail for non-drinkers.

Beckingham, 41, says he's travelled to music festivals all over the world and Lost Picnic "is just where my own head is at this point in my life".

The Rubens' lead singer Sam Margin admits he thought "it sounded cool" but did have some early concerns.

"The word 'picnic'; it makes me think of everyone lying down and I still want to be in a rock band. But by the time we come on, everyone will have had enough wine so we should be able to make them dance.

"It's definitely different to anything we've done before, where the food is almost as important as the music."

Beckingham's strategy was to target a specific demographic – music fans who appreciate good food and wine - because he believed it was a safer bet in these tough times for festivals.

While many long-established festivals struggled in 2013, those that targeted a clearly-defined demographic avoided the same big drops in crowd numbers that the Big Day Out suffered.

Those included St Jerome's Laneway Festival (18-30-year-old fans), and Golden Plains and Meredith, both of which cater to "serious" music fans aged between 25-40.

Laneway in particular sold out in every city and won praise for having a 57 per cent female crowd, partly due to a lineup with high profile female acts and a strong representation of women in senior roles.

Beckingham doesn't expect to make money in The Lost Picnic's first year, but expects it to go well enough to repeat the event in 2015 and export it to Melbourne.

He also plans to base a new camping festival on the idea, "Lost Paradise", on the site of the defunct Peats Ridge Festival. But it would be "more sophisticated than Peats Ridge" and include pre-ordered table sittings for a fine dining restaurant on site.