So I was sitting there at 5.20pm on Friday afternoon thinking what am I doing here? Whilst Josh (my boyfriend) was taking a nap I sat listening to the faint music and nearby conversations thinking "lets go out!". This is the 10th anniversary of Secret Garden Party, it's a fancy dress, all dancing festival with loads of tents filled with comedy, conspiracy, science, yoga, painting, and pretty much anything you're not expecting. This festival really doesn't revolve around it's live music.
After 2 trains, an hour queue and a bag search we entered the site on Thursday. Sadly it had been raining for the past 2 days which meant the ground was soft and soggy. We set up our tent in east camp, making a makeshift roof cover with our new friend from the queue, Aaron. After setting up camp, we headed out to check out the talent. At 6pm we saw our friend Chris's band Tom Williams and the Boat at 'Where the wild things are', the festival's second stage made entirely from branches. They played a great set (as usual) and afterwards we headed for some dinner and drinks followed by some karaoke, dancing & plenty of cider consumption.
I woke around 4.30am to find our tent was soaked from the inside! It had rained heavily all night and our sleeping bag & clothes were soaking! We managed another couple of hours sleep but had to get up as we were freezing cold and needed to do something.
We put a few bin liners down but there wasn't really anymore we could do so we headed out for breakfast with Aaron. I found some lovely soya porridge & jam and also found myself with a running nose from the night in the tent. We spent the afternoon watching various comedy, poetry, singing & talks in the secret forum and the Guerilla science tent. SGP has a carnival of colours, fancy dress and quirky little stages everywhere, you just never know what you might stumble upon.
That night we watched little dragon at 9pm on The Great Stage and it was so beautiful, everyone was dancing, singing & having fun. I've never experienced such a nice vibe at a festival, complete happiness all around. After Little Dragon's incredible performance we went and watched some stand up comedy in the Secret forum followed by Scroobious Pip taking us into the night with a live band.
We woke on Saturday morning and headed out again to a little veggie bus for breakfast and had some porridge made with coconut milk & banana, it was delicious! We watched various comedy, a few things in the revolution bunker about the monetary system, maintaining a healthy diet and the truth about squatting. At around 4pm we saw KT Tunstall and I was surprised how much I loved it, she was really funny & used lots of clever improvisation in her performance.
Later on that evening we headed back to The Great Stage to watch Lamb who I hadn't heard much of, but really enjoyed their dancing dream pop vibe. Straight after Lamb it was the famous firework show and the burning down of the floating stage in the lake. This was the best fireworks I have ever seen and was the perfect introduction to Orbital, who headlined the festival.
Sunday morning was pretty warm and sunny (the mud was still everywhere but drying out) and we headed out in the heat and had a much needed cooked vegan breakfast from a small veggie joint. As the day went on the weather turned out to be superb. We sat out in the beaming sunshine and enjoyed the rays for a while just watching people go by in their creative fancy dress costumes. At the Colosillyum, we saw some small shows including mud wrestling & had a smoothie before it was time to pack up. After Josh watched a talk about a pyramid in Bosnia we packed up our tent which was still muddy before making the long walk out of the site to make our way home. We got a taxi to Huntingdon station with a couple of girls from London and managed to catch the 6pm train back to King's Cross to get a connecting train back home to Tunbridge Wells.
It was my first Secret Garden Party, but after spending four days of dancing, singing, watching performances and never failing to be surprised at my surroundings, I can safely say that it wont be my last! It's hard to pick a highlight in such a great weekend but if I had to choose my most memorable moment it would be the fireworks display. I'm sitting here writing this blog already missing the fun, excitement and the good vibes of this beautiful festival and I'm definitely reserving that weekend for next year's SGP.
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This week, I want to know what your favourite British musical festival is?
The Best of Secret Garden Party 2012