Abbots Ripton, Cambridge
added: 29 Jul 2014
// gig date: 29 Jul 2014
reviewer: Alex Butler
Last weekend we headed to Abbots Ripton for the festival full of bohemian free-loving, where glitter (and lots of it) is a must on entry... we are of course talking about Secret Garden Party!
SGP's founder Freddie Fellowes explains that SGP is a place full of "professional party-goers." Fellowes who founded the festival in Cambridge 12 years ago goes on to say, "They’re people who aren’t there just to be spectators, that’s why we call ourselves a party, not a festival: we’re trying to do something different, [not just] seeing how much production you can pile on to Arcade Fire’s headline performance.” This was certainly a reality at this year's festival, as organisers did not fail to deliver an exceptional amount of fun and festivities across the four days.
Arriving at the festival, we set up camp amongst the other revellers and the first thing we noticed was the amount of colourful and wonderful people strutting around in the most bizarre outfits. Anything goes at SGP - thong bikini's, full warrior outfits or going topless with glitter on your nipples - however you want to look, you can and no one's judging!
Adding to the general bohemian feel of the festival was this year's particular theme...'Goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road'. On entry each 'gardener' received an SGP festival guide and the first page described exactly what this year's theme was all about:
With this in our minds, we were ready for a weekend of feeling free as we morphed into kids again sprinkling brightly coloured glitter on ourselves from head to toe! Heading out into the garden, everywhere we looked, there were art installations decorating the vast space. Every nook and cranny of the festival site was decorated with something amazing - from signs on tree's with quotes like 'The problem with trouble is it starts out as fun' to pathways lit up with colourful fairy lights. It was these small details that helped make you feel like you'd entered a different, magical world with a community of fun people!
Boasting fourteen epic stages and a whole host of tents and chill-out spaces, there was so much to see and do that you could honestly be there for about two weeks and still miss something! One of the thing's we were really disappointed to have missed out on was the sunflower field. Entering through a portaloo and into a tunnel, you arrive at a sea of bright yellow sunflowers, with a big ball pool to mess about in!
What would 'Goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road' be without the Emerald City?! The incredible structure was not just there to look pretty, it was also a fully functioning stage! Surrounded a the huge lake, revellers were able to swim across or get a boat over to catch the music in the home of the wizard!
On Saturday, we were told to gather around the edge of the lake and look out towards the Emerald City to catch 'a spectacle'. At just gone 10pm, the spectacle began with what we can only describe as the best fireworks show we've ever seen, as the whole sky lit up with bright colours and even rained glitter!
Saturday night held even more surprises as Chase & Status came out as the surprise guests on the Colo-silly-um stage, much to the crowd's excitment! With the partying going on to 6am, there is no reason to sleep - you can head into the woods to party at Artful Badger Woods, party in the Temple of Boom or head over to the main stage to catch acts like Public Enemy.
Sunday saw the huge paint explosion that happens every year at The Great Stage as the crowd got involved in the countdown to the moment where an array of brightly coloured paint erupted into the sky creating a beautiful sight. Covered in paint, the crowd was then treated to an incredible set from David Rodigan, blasting out his reggae vibes in the sunshine.
A final took place at The Dance Off stage,which was packed out with people as we watched a host of dance talent impressing the crowd in the ring in the centre. This stage was continuously packed out all weekend and all the fun was created entirely by the crowd themselves!
Sunday night saw one of the biggest highlight's of the whole weekend - the Big Burn. Since we are supposed to say goodbye to the yellow brick road and all it stands for, what better way to say goodbye than to burn down Emerald City! A truly awesome sight that had revellers holding one another in front of the burning city, as the fun of the weekend started to settle into everyone's minds.
Finally, to end an epic weekend, Fat Freddy's Drop headlined The Great Stage, perfectly bringing to an end Secret Garden Party 2014. As we trekked back into work and transformed back into adults again, there was still the odd glint of a piece of glitter somewhere on our bodies that reminded us of the magical, wondrous playground that is Secret Garden Party!
Check out all the picture's from Secret Garden Party 2014 here: Secretgardenparty.com/Gallery
SGP 2015 tickets are on sale now - don't miss out, grab your tickets here: Secretgardenparty.com/Tickets
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