upon arrival The Secret Garden Party is already in full swing

The Secret Garden Party 2014 review

published: Mon 4th Aug 2014

around the festival site

Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th July 2014
Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2PH, England MAP
£175 adult weekend (+booking fee) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 32000
last updated: Mon 23rd Jun 2014

On the Friday we sit in Kings Cross station waiting to take us to SGP before thunder and lightning along with one hell of a shower comes down. Not the ideal start to proceedings but by the time we get to Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire there is barely a cloud in the sky and the sun is scorching. As we make our way through the campsite, the festival is in full swing and had been from the night before. The thing that instantly strikes you is this crowd doesn't seem your normal festival crowd; there is something here inherently more collegial.

As we head towards the music we see such sights as a space hopper obstacle course race and in 'The Bearded Kitten's Colo-Silly-Um' we have two men hoisted into the air to play an aerial game with the object to get the opponents sock. This was obviously followed by a dance off, as was each proceeding game.

As we get moving into the festival, the sheer amount of people in fancy dress is impressive.  At the 'Where The Wild Things Are' there is a 20 strong crowd dressed in furry animals costumes. You can judge whether a group of people in this garb in 30 degree plus weather is wise or not, but some iota of respect must be bestowed here.

Fat White Family rock up 20 minutes later and this could be a simple scheduling fuck up, but most likely it's their doing, the one band currently gaining any traction with a real two fingers 'take it or leave it we couldn't give a fuck 'tude.' That comes across in the performance too, its visceral, its enigmatic, its loud as fuck and an absolute triumph of a set even if it barely lasted 20 minutes itself. Tracks like 'Is it Raining in Your Mouth' and 'Touch the Leather' are darkly melodic treats that chip away into your subconscious for better or for worse.

We stick around for Superfood who are up next, the crowds a little less engaged and a little sparser by the time they come on and I can't blame them. There is a market for this for sure, but its not landing for me even if its is affable 90s influenced indie pop. It's been done better before and will be done better in the future, but the majority of those who are there seem to enjoy it.

There seems to be a large crowd gathered over by 'The Drop' the ravers designated venue of choice for the weekend's proceedings. Friday night is brought to you by Skreamizm vs. Purp N Soul who treat us to a large doze of house, techno and bass from Waze & Odyssey before continuing to the Great Stage for Hercules And Love Affair.

The New York based house outfit are a proper live electronica act, countless percussion, a cavalcade of singers and the impetus to throw the ideal party for the nine o clock party time set of the festival. They nail it and set things up perfectly for Little Dragon who by all accounts took it from there and smashed it. But there is a whole host of places to see, explore and I get distracted with the Colo-Silly-Um yet again and it turns out after a while that we get our second doze of Hercules and Love Affair this time with a DJ set which packs the place out and signals the night of for us. But for many others this party keeps kicking until 6am in the morning and beyond.


review by: Paul Mullin

Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th July 2014
Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2PH, England MAP
£175 adult weekend (+booking fee) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 32000
last updated: Mon 23rd Jun 2014


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