The yearly Secret Garden Party festival is not just a festival, it’s a way of life. It’s a community of like-minded, happy people all ready to embrace the lighter side of life, make fun-loving new friends, discover unique new pleasures and do crazy things like wrestle leopard print legging clad men in glittery water-filled paddling pools.
The humble roots of this eclectic event started out in a glorious landscaped garden in lush Huntington seven years ago, where 1000 elaborately adorned revellers got together for music, merriment and slightly saucy social shenanigans. Now a world famous music festival frequented by over 26,000 achingly cool party people in the know, it boasts over 15 stages, a plethora of international musical talent, spa experiences, vintage clothes stalls, tempting world food, fairground rides, art installations – and the chance to fondle a live chameleon whilst donning a pair of sparkly batty riders. As you do.
From the 21st to the 24th July this year, 26,000 achingly cool, bejewelled revellers (including my beloved brother Martin and I) minced about the scenic banks of an massive lake – surrounded by acres of sun-drenched green land covered with various exciting installations, activities and acts. Headliners included Air, Caribou and Primal Scream – which caused mass euphoria in the heaving crowds.
Sassy singer Shura stirred a few emotions with her moving songs about love and heartbreak, Amber Shells caused merry mayhem with their jungle set in the 24 hour bar, whilst DJ Shadow naughtily teased an awe-struck crowd with his spine tingling set, refusing to drop the base for an excruciatingly long time. It was all worth it when it happened though. Oh yeeeeeah.
Weary, hungover souls found solace in the form of the Secret Garden Party woodland hot tubs and the Coyote Moon spa – a ethereal haven offering hot showers, a wood burning sauna and antioxidant-loaded smoothies to help frazzled folk rejuvenate and revive after the previous night’s debauchery.
Festival fashion and beauty was even more fabulous this year, with experimental beauty brand In your Dreams offering gorgeous glittery face art makeovers and Ash Claydon Flowers making bespoke fresh flower headdresses for frolicking sprites and pixie wannabes.
This year’s creative theme was ‘The Gardeners Guide to the Galaxy’ – and with the help of Guerrilla Science’s neuroscientists, extra-terrestrial experts and astrophysicists, everybody was given the chance to partake in an array of zany activities such as space yoga, booking holidays to space and a drugs assault course.
Forget scarves, its all about the live snakes this season darling...
As always there was a pleasing variety of food stalls on hand offering fine wares to help soak up all the booze – including bacon baps courtesy of The Breakfast Club, flavoursome vegan lentil stews by Exotic Tagine and even hearty French dishes such as confit beef and chicken provincial by the fabulous Madam Gautier.
Exotic Tagine - So very noms
Gorgeous glittery face art by In Your Dreams
All in all, this year’s Secret Garden Party (or SGP as it’s endearingly now known) was an epic success. The Saturday night fireworks display over the lake was mind-blowing, the music was on point, the people were beautiful inside and out – all united by their desire to shun bedtime and celebrate life.
Forget New York. Secret Garden Party is the festival that never sleeps.