The Secret Garden Party celebrates it's 10th anniversary in style

The Secret Garden Party 2012 review

published: Tue 31st Jul 2012


Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd July 2012
Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2PH, England MAP
£195 adult weekend, teen (13 - 17) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 26000
last updated: Fri 1st Jun 2012

The Saturday of Secret Garden Party can be described in one word as, well, sticky. Luckily the rain that had pounded the grounds in the previous week had now stopped (well apart from a few short, sharp spurts during the day) and the sun was blaring down but this also meant that the wet mud had baked into a treacle like substance that had people struggling around the site.

It was also the day that people traditionally went for it in terms of fancy dress and there was a great display of animal costumes, face paint, and general quirky clothing on show with some people really making the effort.

KT Tunstall
KT Tunstall was a bundle of energy on the Great Stage complete with glittering trousers and a surprisingly rock and roll attitude. Having never seen her live and not being a fan I was pleasantly surprised.

She had a huge gathering come to see her and she really interacted with them playfully attempting to get them to beatbox and sing at various points, and teasing them when they got it wrong.

The crowd danced happily about in the sunshine to her melodies and after she finished her hit 'Suddenly I See', she declared "Thank you Secret Garden Party! Now go and get lashed!"

Baxter Dury
A grey suited Baxter Dury followed with his band and sadly the Great Stage crowd almost completely dispersed for the start of his set. Wandering on casually you would have thought that he was merely a stagehand if it weren't for the suit and him stopping in front of the mic.

His style is definitely quirky and I've seen him go down a storm before but in this setting with so much going on, his funny ramblings only drew a small crowd, which didn't put him off, as he referred to them as his "little group of lovelies"; it is fair to say that the group that was watching him really enjoyed his set.

With the last of the sunshine beaming down the main arena was filling up with all sorts of costumed characters and swimsuit clad folk ambling in to see Jamaican reggae star Little Roy.

The weather was so well suited as he jammed his way through tunes that had the front of the audience bouncing along and others dreamily swaying or listening in between chatting to friends.

My comrades and myself found ourselves starting a mass impromptu skipping session at the back of the crowd with bits of costume, which random strangers were jumping in and out of and others shouting encouragement from the sides. It was exactly that type of vibe with Little Roy providing the backing sounds and I really enjoyed his set; highlights included his reggae versions of Nirvana songs such as 'Come As You Are'.

Electronic duo Lamb provided a serene performance as the first of the two strobe lighting performances that night with lead singer Lou Rhodes filling the whole main stage area with her silky vocals.

Lots of people had come down to see them perform and whilst they performed classics such as 'Gabriel' the audience threw their arms in the air and waved along; there was even a guy next to me practising Tai Chi along to the music; their light show was especially beautiful.

After they finished all eyes turned towards the lake for the annual fireworks display and the burning of the stages in the middle of the lake and well, WOW. There was a solid ten minutes or so of what I can only describe as the most perfectly and incredibly orchestrated fireworks display I have ever seen. It began with fire dancers spread out on the edge of the river swinging rings of fire around leading into a fireworks display that came from about 4 different points around the river perfectly timed with the backing music booming out around the festival site.

around the festival site (Saturday 0)
The whole festival sky became alive with explosions of dazzle and colour backed by the sounds of Queen amongst many other tunes that had the crowd in awe, dancing about excitedly or actually crying in joy as I saw from some people. When it was all over they set the incredible 3 faced stage alight in the centre of the lake as a voiceover thanked the crowd and declared the joy at it being the festival's tenth anniversary.

No sooner had it all settled and the crowd was still trembling with sheer adrenaline and excitement, Orbital appeared on the Great Stage with multicoloured lasers and strobe lighting blazing, and launched into some of their well-known hits keeping the audience on a high.

They played their set with such vigour themselves as well as injecting energy into the crowd, and had people dancing into the night air providing a stellar ending to the main night's proceedings.

review by: Fiona Madden

photos by: Lawrence Wheeler

Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd July 2012
Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2PH, England MAP
£195 adult weekend, teen (13 - 17) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 26000
last updated: Fri 1st Jun 2012

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