Secret Garden Party
Thurs 20 – Sun 23 July
Sadly this year we must say goodbye to the bohemian phenomenon that is Secret Garden Party. With its origins rooted in the summer of 2004, SGP quickly made a name for itself. However, Head Gardener Freddie Fellowes has now announced the decision to “commit an act of senseless beauty” and call an end to the festival after its highly successful 14-year run. Exploiting the infamous cliché he posted online that “all good things must come to an end,” before continuing to say “after all, you can’t be avant-garde from within an institution.”
With commercialisation rife and major companies moving closer and closer, SGP stands the risk of not standing out from its competitors in the distinct and unique way it once did – but in so many ways it still does and forever will. It’s unlikely that anything can ever match the pioneering stature that SGP possesses, though it’s certain many will try. After all, imitation does remain the sincerest form of flattery.
Hailing from a land set in a time before social media, the theme chosen for the festival’s grand finale is ‘Sweet dreams. Are made of these? And who are we to disagree…’ It’s an apt way to say a sad goodnight and goodbye to the behemoth of weekend parties.
With promises to be “the biggest VIP LOL-off that you’ve ever seen”, this is sure to be an impressive celebration unlike that which the country, nay, the world has ever seen, championing everything from the festival to you – the gardeners, as well as society’s new found religion of fame, celebrity and media obsession.
A festival with a modest origin of just 500 friends partying at the bottom of a garden, SGP has since become the trailblazing leader for independent festivals (and larger ones for that matter). Just last year, it piloted a model for impartial drug safety testing in partnership with The Loop. This year, taking it one step further and fortifying SGP’s place as a legend, you can even forget about hangovers thanks to the new doctor-assisted recovery being offered in the form of an IV supplement known as a ‘Banana Bag’.
Famous for providing an immersive environment of grandeur, eccentricity and hedonism to its patrons, the event has successfully remained true to its founding principles, even now with daily capacities reaching 32,000. This is a place of strong community and participation that encourages you to let go of any inhibitions, offering everything from swimming to fire-walking to Astronaut Survival School. Even with impressive headliners this year such as Metronomy and Crystal Fighters, the music almost remains a secondary feature to the overall festival experience.
Set in the Cambridgeshire countryside, the site boasts, for the very last time, stages that have either been lost in the woods or are floating on top of the lake (not far from Mermaid School, in case you were wondering…), plus everything in between. There is still hope for the fate of the event, however. At the end of his statement, Fellowes suggests this may not yet be the last we see of Secret Garden Party. He concludes mysteriously, “watch this space for the phoenix rising from the ashes.”
By Kieran Graves