Secret Garden Party is an enigma. You hear about it, you know it's there but if you do not actually go, it's just a small figment of your imagination. Then you go and your world is turned upside down.
Love is in the air
The place is full of romance. Special things come from special places and many babies have been conceived over the years at SGP. That's straight from the head gardener himself.
The yearly SGP paint fight started with a proposal. Festival photographers, Danny and Jenna who met at the festival a year earlier celebrated their anniversary with the whole crowd as Jenna proposed to Danny. Congratulations guys!
Music is in the air
This festival is the first we have been to that the music just does not stop. Completely perfect for when sleep is something for another universe.
On Friday night we started at Chai Wallah, the stage in the woods, if you know about CHai Wallah, then you know you will never know who you will find rocking the stage. This year was blessed by Lazy Habbits, Mickey Finn, Hot 8 Brass Band and so many more. The vibes in the woods were just perfect right through the weekend. When we say through we mean through with Chay Honey, Spinx & Sould Cheeba all taking turns keeping it popping at 2am on Monday morning.
The Drop was always going off! Over the weekend The Drop saw Hot Since 82, Jackmaster, Skream, Eats Everything, Bicep and way too many artists to mention. The set up is sick, a party ampitheatre buried in nature! The DJ stands in front of a mirrored box with mad visuals, looking like a silhouette to a crowd of happy revellers.
The Great Stage lives up to its name. Friday's headliners, Maribou State created a magical vibe offset by the glittering lights across the lake. Submotion Orchestra warmed up on Saturday with a spectacular show (and another successful proposal) and Caribou was electric with a collection of all their biggest tunes and crowd pleasers.
The paint fight on Sunday was rounded out in a way only David Rodigan can. He smashed it. Starting with party vibes, dropping in some old school jungle and closing out with mellow classics that had the whole crowd singing along.
This is BASS Mecca. Roni Size rolled out big time on Saturday night. 2 Bad Mice were off the chain, then Stanton warriors mashed up Sunday night.
Positioned direclty on the lake, The Pagoda, looks amazing. No matter what time of day, there's always a party vibe and the stage was graced with some killer acts with Jonas Rathsman, Bodhi, Fleetmac Wood and Detroit Swindle as well as the Head Gardener himself.
Fred The Head Gardener
On Saturday we spent an hour listening to a cool talk by Freddie the head gardener, where we found out more about the land, the humble beginnings of the festival and found out what his dad (who is pretty cool!) thought.
We hit up the dance off too, where amateurs busted some very professional looking moves in a boxing ring. The crew running the stage always kept it lively with a great selection of UK rave culture.
Your imagination couldn't come up with the naked trampolining, fire walking, mud wrestling, hot tubs and tasting great whisky from Goa. There was a glitter machine which – you guessed it – coated you in glitter, a giant treehouse, and a stage devoted to taking the piss out of religion.
Punt Tube might have been the weirdest and most wonderful that Secret Garden had to offer, with a punting service across the tranquillity of the lake to a remote secret cinema which you watch from the boat, showing mind-bending arthouse, Chinese psychedelia.
An unforgettable and moving moment was watching fireworks wearing Love Specs, to the tune of Starman by David Bowie.
Perhaps most incredibly, this year’s Secret Garden Party hosted the UK’s first ever drug-testing service, the Loop, making this SGP a historical and revolutionary moment. The Loop took small samples of people’s drugs, revealing many to be snorting concrete, anti-malarials and ammonium sulphate sold as ketamine and MDMA. Life-saving? We think so.
What makes Secret Garden Party so special and very possibly THE most magical festival isn’t just the music, although the acts selected, much like the crowd, have a near perfect balance, but the smooth, professional journey of the event, the general helpfulness and friendliness of the staff, both combined with the sheer variety of the people you can spend time with on a very open and friendly drug and drink fuelled level. These are the factors that help form its reputation as one of if not the most funtabulous long running festivals.
Young city-bred fellas and old hippies sharing a smoke, travellers and city boys sharing a hip-flask of rum, all are welcom to join the SGP party family with open arms. SGP should be recognised for their very special vibe.
Along with this, the fact that the festival has been kept to a relatively restricted size makes for a more manageable festival, both in terms of security and logistics.
Early bird tickets to a journey to what life is made for. Where yesterdays weirdness becomes tomorrows reasons why are available here on this website.