Hailed as the fancy dress festival (‘fancy dresstival’?), the majority of punters were draped in garments reflecting the rather indistinct theme of Standing on Ceremony. Amongst all of the rough DnB and Dubstep (High Rankin, Brookes Brothers and Adam F were also on top form), the occasional diamond jolted everyone out of their ravey-haze: a live set from the inimitable Scroobius Pip proved an absolute weekend highlight.
The only act able to surpass Pip in terms of pure enjoyment was Caravan Palace, headlining the main stage on Sunday evening. Being its proud tenth birthday, the spectacle on display towards the end of the weekend was nothing short of sublime. Ten glorious years young, The Secret Garden Party has grown from a one-stage, 1,000-visitor gathering, into a 15-stage, 26,000-strong, singing, dancing, paint-splattered behemoth.
Visit > THE ASPIRING MUMBLER for more of Andys amazingly, astounding, exuberant verbosity. As we slopped and slurped our way around the festival, it became apparent that we were going to leave on Monday with thighs of steel.
Realistic animals playing follow the leader, human disco balls, leather-clad fetish nightmares, pirates, fairies, plenty of naked people, geishas, terrifying clowns, terrifying rabbits, friendly rabbits, silent movie stars, burlesque dancers, and plenty more naked people. On account of the increasingly sticky mud, traipsing between the different stages became something of a drag. Truth be told, a great deal of the time spent in this giant bass drum of a venue one spends in a whirl of rhythms, melodies and beats, smiling at happy faces and letting substances take influence, meaning that it becomes quite a task recognising and recalling specific artists.
Performing with a live band songs from his debut solo album Distraction Pieces, Pip combines a punk attitude with his spoken word style, hip-hop swagger and biting satirical intellect into an astonishing set. Magically, the likes of electro swing has managed to evade the fun-sponge that is mainstream recognition and market saturation, meaning that this kind of music still feels as fresh as can be. Taking place on another physical plane than the likes of Leeds, Reading and those crass T4 creations, SGP is all about freedom, expression and non-conformity, all in the least pretentious sense.

The 60a€™s had taken hold on Wildcat and his growing number of friends, and band members had little problem finding all kinds of gigs throughout other parts of southeastern Michigan. As one sprightly festival-goer elegantly put it, “When I get these legs back on concrete, I’m going to tear that shit up!” We’re sure he did. On top of all this, SGP offers free tickets to creative minds who can offer something unique to add to the atmosphere, be that the creepy Follow-You Bunnies, the Human Pit Stop guys, or the Festival Mail Service who give it their all to track down the desired recipients of your post based on vague descriptions. Wearing a plethora of hats that made their way to him through the crowd, he zipped about the stage preaching his thoughts and agitations to the hungry masses, without ever appearing haughty or self-righteous.
And it cannot be denied; there is nothing better to dance to at a festival than electro swing.
Running on very little food, no sleep and a steady flow of alcohol, it was difficult to choke back the tears.
Shunning sponsorship, offering an eclectic mixture of acts and a lustrously decadent atmosphere, the party draws a diverse assortment of gardeners and it is they who make this festival such an exceptional experience.
After the breakup of the Motives in 69, in 1970, John met and became collaborators with a 17 year old bass player from Hazel Park named Bill Kapenekas. Settling on the outskirts of the South Campsite – choosing a patch that wasn’t prone to footfall and the subsequent mud-puddle black holes – we were a mere stone’s throw from the thrum of the party.
On venturing into all of the nooks, crannies and more nooks and more crannies that are nestled into the Abbots Ripton site, the true eclecticism of the place became apparent. All of this culminates in a pick and mix bag of treats that will have you wandering around agape for the long weekend, your jaw collecting mud. Hospital Records boy hero Mistabushi brought everyone together with his infectious love for the rave, playing a solid drum and bass set early Friday evening, bleeding in enough liquid funk to ease the crowds in. Bill had moved down the street from John and they found they had a lot in common like music, girls, and vices.

The bass thumped through the ground beneath us and rippled in the puddles; the bright lights flickered through the dripping trees. Like a cross between Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, an episode of The Mighty Boosh, a Fear and Loathing trip and a childhood jaunt to the playground, The Garden is the music festival as ‘sensory experience’ and we were ready to dive in. Having been gloriously sunny since Saturday afternoon, the Wellingtons had been replaced with dancing shoes and every superbly orchestrated piece of music had waves of smiling individuals shuffling and grooving to the beats. Along with Ferndale drummer Bob Stienmetz, they forged a sound that tugged away at what Wildcat had evolved into post Motives.
The new band was called Katmandu, who in their own basement, level of jamming and recording melded into a brotherhood that carried them into a lot of gigs like with SRC the Fruit, and Frigid Pink. In the 5 years they were together they shared all manner of emotional meanderings involving the many satellite people who revolved around them.
Kapanekas would lay the bottom with his stereo pickup Rickenbacker bass driving a 30 inch speaker giving the kind of ballsy distorted sound that could really be felt directly down the spine. John Wildcat leads the way with a collection of original tunes mixed in with a few covers that audiences from all around are applauding. With fellow band mates John Hayes and Dave Hengstebeck, Wildcat taps the electric creative energy that sets The Motives of Existence apart from anything else.

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