Secret Garden Party
Secret Garden Party, Mill Hill Fields, Abbots Ripton, 23-26 July 2015:
The first thing that should be established about Secret Garden Party is that it is not merely a music festival, nor actually is it that much of a secret with tickets already sold out… The festival strives to offer a plethora of activities to compliment and perhaps even outshine the music that is on offer. Amongst the eclectic assortment of hedonistic fun on offer are hot-dog eating contests, paint fights, parades and dance-offs. The premise here is pretty much an 8 year olds birthday party for adults. What’s not to like?
Following on from the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ theme last year, Secret Garden Party have established this year’s theme as ‘Childish Things’. Nostalgia is a bloody great feeling and if Secret Garden Party nail their metaphor of a “100-acre toy box, complete with jelly, ice cream and sprinkles” then you’re in for a treat, albeit a messy one. Luxury camping is available though if you’re that way inclined. Perhaps the most alluring aspect of the festival is what seems to be a collective desire to create an inviting and hospitable environment to suit all manner of tastes; from the Great Lake, where you can swim or boat to the ‘Little Gay Brother’ section that looks like the physical manifestation of the gay bar mentioned by Electric Six. Plus there is an established green initiative, and as we all know, saving the planet is the coolest thing of all yeah?
The festival appears to be built upon an ethos that yells out screams of quirkiness and diversity. The musical line-up at Secret Garden Party seems well in line with that. The Great Stage boasts some top acts, from London duo Public Service Broadcasting, who distinctively mash electronica with archaic public information films, to the poignant and articulate musings of Kate Tempest. Also if you’re wanting a proper pogo, the ska-stylings of The Cat Empire have you covered.
On the other stage, which is affectionately named ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ and genuinely looks like an acid trip in the forest, there is the effervescent Darwin Deez, Leeds 5-Piece Menace Beach and up & coming, angsty-as-hell Black Honey who sound like a lovechild bred by shoegazing and post-punk. Rest assured there will be something for everyone and with a bunch of innovative and emerging artists you might even find your new favourite band…
Why Should I Go?
Wake up in the morning, go for a swim, have a few beers, eat to your hearts content, throw some paint in the face of people you’ve never met, listen to Darwin Deez on a stage inspired by Maurice Sendack, make friends with a man dressed as a giant rabbit then go for drinks with him in a 24-hour bar. Sounds fun doesn’t it?
Ford Maddox Brown