To rack it up in yet another untidy, optimistic, line – and we’ve ambidextrous, post-grad fluency in both – there are parties, there are parties and then there’s the kind of inimitably riotous assembly that we call SGP. THIS IS A SERIOUS PARTY, its organisers warned and for many of the people you love, and those you’re about to love, come July 20-24th, none will be quite as life-affirming or vital as this particular brand of homespun, British fun.
Over the course of the last thirteen years, Secret Garden Party has played host to some of the best names in music and positioned itself as an unreasonably gorgeous, violently naughty, gregarious state of play. It’s a forthright seriousness that has always been underpinned, paradoxically by the kind of childish silliness that Early Learning Centre’s P.R can only (wet) dream of. An inimitable brand of English, riotous, eccentric-cum-truly-fucking-crazy, heavy, FUN. A celebration of music, hedonism, of creativity, art and above all, the kind of freedom that accompanies a notion of the way things could be, if only we could remain in that particular field, the other 360 days of the year.
Talk to veterans and they’ll tell you that they re-learned the basics of innocent play, because silliness and fun were legitimised, even prioritised, for a generation out in those fields. This is the stuff of the party-world-proper. The magic, of Tolkien-esque proportion and scale.
SGP’s success remains a glistening accolade to the family – as well as the al-desko 20-hour-a-day lawyers in panty hose and top-hats – who have nurtured, built and maintained it. It is a festival conjured from an irreverent yet prolific love. One founded on apparently infinite, creative possibility. Sadly this year, that magic comes to an end.
From the high-jinks world of Bearded Kitten’s Colosillyum, where we wrestled naked in mud, to the sexed up squalor of the Sweaty Lingerie crew party, where world-record volumes of boys – and Seth Troxler – are down to their knickers. The limbs on writhing display, worthy of Vogue.
SGP is a place where emergent young DJs casually upstage headliners, because it’s like Arsenal trying to play third-league Caersws on home turf. A place where giant vaginas rest in parents doorways. Where you’ll find Grace Jones pulling fans from an unsuspecting crowd, for a quickie-on-stage grind.
It is the place where ‘front left’ got invented. Where friends build stages of Olympian proportions out of nothing more than love, ambition and straw bales. It’s also the only place in the world where you’ll find organisers signing off health and safety reports on a human catapult after guiding a 6.5 tonne lorry through the middle of the site at a reeling 9am.
I defy anyones toes not to curl at the memory of Jackmaster closing The Drop stage as the red-arrows pelt through the sky squirting aerial hearts over fireworks and yet another halcyon day. Or the oxytocin not to flood at the thought of the annual paint-fight. There we emerge smattered in technicolour, new friends on each arm ready to dive into the lake, past the giant taps floating apparently mid-air, mid lake, to swim to the dragonfly stage and hear disco-wizards spin the perfect sunset-set.
I wish we had more memories to report on but like many, EG left the majority of their frontal lobe, along with a very big part of an increasingly heavy heart somewhere between the pagoda stage and Dufs secret bar circa 2006-16.
So this is a thank you, from the bottom of those heavy hearts for all the magic, all the memories that this formidably imaginative team have somehow forever planted in our lives.
This may be the last Garden Party but those memories, like the friendships, the lovers, the nostalgia, the STD’s ( and the babies!) that were created along the way – most of those we suspect, will live on and refuse to grow up, together.
*Note: Electronic Groove takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the details contained within this article. We remain confident that our grandchildren and our employers will be proud.