Report by Cristina Boydell
Are you afraid of breaking a mirror and risking 10 years of bad luck? Do you avoid walking under a ladder? Or crossing a black cat’s path? The theme of this year’s Secret Garden Party was superstition: the set-up, art, activities and games revolved around the unknown, inexplicable, irrational and supernatural.
An escape from everyday life
A four-day party unlike any other, SGP is always one of the most magical festivals in England. Set across a landscaped garden — Mill Hill Field in the Huntingdon countryside — spread out over two sides of a lake, every July, the scene is filled with art, music, creativity and fun.
The event is an excuse to escape the conformities of society: here nudity, colour, adventure and getting messy (with mud, paint and water) are expected. SGP is all about getting involved in the “silliness” and participating in forms of expression that make this event truly unique.
In addition to performances by Faithless and 2manydjs, an array of entertainment was available from art installations to action camps and food and drink stalls. For the more adventurous, there were competitions, including dance-offs, mud wrestling and diving.
I love seeing the outrageous outfits and costumes everyone wears to the festival. From full onesies and animal get-ups to pirates, angels and hippies… anything goes at SGP! Accessories, such as wigs, hats and flowered headpieces, were popular among the Gardeners. I spotted groups of guys who chose the SGP as their Stag & Doe weekend dressed as brides, doctors or even in green St. Patrick’s Day gear.
Of course, if you wanted to opt for something a little less “out there,” the typical festival look was also popular among a sea of sunglasses, face paint, fringe, feathers, sequins, cut-off denim shorts, maxi dresses and Hunter Wellington boots.
Painting the landscape — and each other
A highlight for me was getting involved in the infamous paint fight. Virgin and veteran Gardeners received colourful dry paint to take part in one massive battle against each other, resulting in a colourful display in the Huntingdon sky. The Saturday night fireworks that day were also a spectacular must-see!
Experiencing the Secret Garden Party