Secret Garden Party 2015
I'm no festival aficionado, that's for sure, and despite only attending two festivals this summer, I thought it would be nice to look back at the one I attended more recently; Secret Garden Party. Now, I've never been to a UK festival, believe it or not; I mean, I've attended day events and the like but never actually camped at a festival site, but Adrian's band was invited to play at SGP and this meant a guest list ticket for me, so I was really excited to go!
Secret Garden Party is tucked away in the rural backwaters of Cambridgeshire. Piling into the band's van, we set off in the pouring rain; not a great start. My feet were already soaked and Adrian didn't have any wellies, so there was a bit of trepidation but we thought that the monsoon would have passed by the time we reached the festival site.
The band was scheduled to play in Rochester on the Friday night so we drove all the way there, the rain didn't let up once and the indicator on the van failed so we were unable to move out of the slow lane on the motorway. I'd picked the seat next to the window which was leaking; slowly at first, but soon picking up to a steady stream, pouring down the pane and into the seat in rivulets which refused to let up. It was also unseasonably cold; an hour or so in and the novelty had truly worn off, so you can imagine a further seven hours later on arrival in Rochester it was with relief that we met the promoter of the night who had supplied an amazing rider with lots of food and drink.
After playing, it was back into the soggy old van again and on for another three hours or so to Cambridgeshire; getting stuck at the Dartford tunnel was a low point bested only by driving aimlessly around the festival site for over an hour before we found where we were able to park. By this point it was nearing 5am, the rain was still sheeting down and now we had to pitch our tents. I find it almost impossible to sleep when travelling so I (like everyone) was absolutely exhausted, soaked through and about ready to have a little weep. This was only compounded when I went to find the toilets, which were pretty indescribable at 5am on the third day of a festival!
We all fell into our sleeping bags and managed to snatch a couple of hours slumber before waking up to a sunshiny Saturday morning. Thankfully I'd thought to bring my wellies as, despite the sunshine, the torrential rain of the previous day had turned the site into a mudbath. A spot of exploring first thing uncovered a 'calm zone' tent which saw friendly individuals dishing out free tea and biscuits; just what I was looking for to revitalise me a little bit!
Unlike Primavera there weren't that many artists or bands that I had wanted to see, although I did watch Adrian's band Spectres and another band who I've seen before. Different also, though, were the amount of other things to do; there was so much art, sculptures everywhere, different tents with little craft clubs and art workshops going on, and plenty of places to explore. My friends and I pottered about the site and took in the general atmosphere which was of enjoyment and fun. Despite the awful weather most people seemed to be quite cheerful and enjoying themselves. I tried to embrace the experience and not be too put off by the rain and mud, although the mud got over everything and my feet always felt chilly and soggy!
On the Saturday night there was a fireworks spectacular with confetti and glitter raining down from the sky after a beautiful fireworks display and this was just brilliant. There was also a 'drunken Shakepeare' play and earlier in the day, some hula-hooping workshops and dancehall displays. There really was so much to see and do, and in this regard it was a really fun and interesting experience. I do think I would have enjoyed it so much more had it not been raining, but I guess that's the UK for you!
On the Sunday morning we awoke to more torrential rain, so we quickly packed down our tents and chucked the lot in the back of the van and headed home. It didn't seem to take as long to get back as it had to drive there, but it was still a long haul and it was definitely a festival I needed a couple of days to recover from! I was so pleased to be back in my own warm and dry bed again!
Have you been to Secret Garden Party before, or did you go this year? What do you think of it?