The moment you arrive at the gates of The Secret Garden Party you are welcomed into a world of creativity and unadulterated imagination. “Find a penny pick it up – all day long you’ll have good luck!” the girl manning the gate said to me as she took a penny from her costume and it landed by my feet, reminding me that the theme for 2013 was Superstition.
The Secret Garden Party is set in the scenic Cambridgeshire countryside in Abbott’s Ripon. Located in the grounds of a Georgian House this landscape is a beautiful and enchanting setting for a festival. By day you can head to the lake which offers a cool place to swim, giving welcome respite to the midday sun, row a boat or check out the huge piece of art constructed in the centre. By night explore Artful Badger Woods or take a walk into the Labyrinth to discover a hidden party packed with disco balls and lasers.
The site itself is big enough to keep you well entertained for the four day festival, yet small enough to move from one stage to the next to catch the next act, or to pop back to the campsite to pick up more booze, tissues, jumper or to change your costume.
Audience participation is at the heart of this festival, and you quickly notice there is something on offer for everyone. Whilst fancy dress is a fundamental part of the festival for many people, it’s not for everyone and there are many other ways you can get involved in the revelry.
Throughout the weekend there is plenty going on to see and do from live music at one of the various stages, poetry, games or getting mixed up in the multi coloured paint fight on Sunday afternoon.
It’s been said that this festival is about the community and the experience rather than the line up. However, there were a few acts I wanted to check out including Rodigan, Goldie, Load Star and David Icke!
Loadstar kicked off the weekend by playing a banging set at the Temple of Boom on Friday night; they had the crowd jumping and well and truly set us up for the rest of the weekend.
On Saturday afternoon we wandered over to The Secret Forum to listen to the infamous David Icke lecture about his views on the world. That night at The Great Stage we saw Faithless DJ set headlining, accompanied by a truly impressive fireworks display and “The Big Burn” which involves the burning of the art sculpture in the middle of the lake. Although the rain made the experience a little damp it will still go down as one of my favourite parts of the weekend.
On Sunday afternoon while the sun was blazing down on us we headed back to The Great Stage for Rodigans set. With his infectious enthusiasm he had everybody dancing to the sounds of dancehall, reggae and even dropping tunes such as ‘Ring of Fire’ and “My boy Lollipop” to mix it up. Sunday night we were back at The Temple of Boom to hear Goldie close the festival with a heavy drum n’ bass set ending with a twist of “Smells like teen spirit”.
Overall I would rate this year’s Secret Garden Party a great success and I walked away with lots of happy memories……..and covered in glitter.
* Becks Hutton (UK Review Team)