REVIEW festival Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Secret Garden Party; Poppers, Partying & Food Partisans (Part 2)

Amy Vickery continues her review of Secret Garden Party and all the goings on that took place last weekend.

Saturday morning starts with a real coup, a session in the Bathing in the Sky area - beautiful Swedish outdoor hot tubs and delicious hot saunas. In the coolness of the morning (before another day in the high twenties that sees many take to the lake), it is the most wonderful way of having a wash and brush up complete with a glass of bubbly. It was hard to prise us out of the delectable warmth and remind us we have a festival to see. I love you Bathing in the Sky, you should be at all festivals.

 While not the biggest names, SGP’s bands are well chosen and mean constant exploration and discovery. The wooded Artful Badger provides some shade from the sweltering midday sun with soporific  beats; a very different mood to our later 3am visit where electro reigns supreme as stomping dancing feet chuck up dust to create a haze.

 The Losers play the Where the Wild Things Are stage with a heavy, verging on metal electro sound from their Berlin beats, front man clad in a yellow brick onesie, guitarist’s torso smeared with gold glitter. The Temple of Boom hosted by XFM’s Eddie Temple Morris and Wall of Sound’s Mark Jones is the home of the heaviest beats, and Friday night’s crescendo packed set from Mike Swaine plays host to acrobatic ‘flying monkeys’ suspended from the ceiling doing their part for the Yellow Brick Road theme.

 However it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of what you ‘meant’ to see by getting distracted by something else. We pop over to catch Hercules and Love Affair and Swedish Little Dragon, but the pull back to Temple of Boom’s beats is irresistible.

 This year’s MacGuffin sits proudly on the lake, embracing the Yellow Brick Road theme – a huge geometric Emerald City which will make a bonfire high into the sky on Sunday night. However on Saturday it’s the focal point for fireworks which are spectacular at a Disney level; including an Elton John floating across the lake, flame twirlers, projections onto fountains and a flying microlight distributing tiny floating LEDs to magical effect over our heads. The party skips off into the night to enjoy yet more dancing.

 Sunday tries to be chilled and fortunately the modern festival scene is a foodie delight. We develop a heavy milkshake habit, sample black pudding sausage rolls, discovers the best ribs EVER from Meatcure (sadly based only in Manchester), delectable lamb, balls in a bap from an Italian booth and frozen bananas – we’re nearly too full to move and need a lot of naps to compensate.

 We catch a thoughtful acoustic set from Northerner Bethany Elen over at The Dandy Lion before heading to the Lake Stage. A paint fight unfolds around the Lake Stage after The Correspondents fresh, bouncy set – electronic with an injections of drum and bass, reggae and jungle. The paint balls of powder explode into the air covering the front third of the audience with powder puffs of colour before David Rodigan’s reggae set smattered with remixes.

 The one thing the festival still suffers from is the endless lack of toilets, to such an extent that men are lining up to pee by the loos, such is the queue for the cubicles. But the irritations are minor, such as the irrational, consistent queue for the Pagoda Stage despite it being consistently two-thirds full. It’s a festival for beautiful people, for eclecticism and magic, for people who want to party all night.

 That’s what we should do.
Click here to read Part 1... Written by Amy Vickery Photos by Cat Ross and Matt Bundy