Review: Secret Garden Party is magic
Nestled within the serene countryside of quaint Cambridgeshire, Secret Garden Party sits comfortably upon a hilly landscape spotted with green lakes. Taking advantage of the sunny afternoon of the Friday, and with a forecast of rain all weekend, we took a couple of hours to explore the Festival.
Showered with vibrant colour from flags, tents, food stalls and attractions, it’s hard to run out of ways to have fun. Secret Garden excels itself, not only through being sponsor free and independent, but through its ongoing listed activities, including face painting, mask making, hula hooping, Q+As with the ‘head gardener’ and many others.
There’s a great sense of community with ‘mumsy’ touches such as free tea tents and relaxation lounges, perfect for a hangover. As the first night commences alongside the downpour of rain, gatherings of people are found seeking shelter chatting under sodden tents.
Saturday, free of rain, was the highlight of the four-day frenzy. The sun illuminated the beauty of the set, with troopers in their thousands swamping the mud heaped fields, playing outdoor Jenga, drinking on the hills and enjoying the chilled vibes of the Saturday sounds. With this years theme as ‘Childish Things’ I found myself surrounded by swarms of My Little Ponies, Aladdins and Bananas in Pajamas. Unfortunately for me my mood was slightly hindered by a wasp sting, and I found myself to be the freak natural attraction of the day.
As the sun set the fireworks commenced, an unbeatable set up of hundreds of sparks and explosions above the main stage. The finale of the show was the paragliding glitter sprinklers, the crowd gazing up as a sheet of glitter was sprayed, lighting up the sky. The perfect follow-up was led on the Main Stage by Cat Empire, with a happy cohort boogying to the uplifting jive.
This evening, widely recognized for its drum and bass and special guests did not disappoint. The Collosiyium, a castle-like structure filled with the golden glow of body heat was filled to capacity. With Drum and Bass DJ Danny Byrd headlining and impressing, the crowd was alive with the fast energy of Byrd’s selection.
Sunday drifted by with the lazy sounds of snoozing campers and aromas of fajitas and fry ups. Early evening was filled by the legendary David Rodigan, a relaxed reggae set accompanied by tales of his companionship with Bob Marley, and ending with upbeat dub reggae. Rodigan’s set was enhanced by the shining sunset, creating the perfect last night.
Whilst the eclectic music suits the festival entirely, the creativity and aesthetics will forever be at the forefront of this festival. It is hard to describe the beauty and magic of SGP, and as the numbers increase each year it will be a hard secret to keep for next year.
Words by Emilia Gill.