Secret Garden Party is a festival for those who like to say goodbye to the yellow brick road, those who relish the journey, not the emerald city at the end.
Secret Garden Party’s emerald city wasn’t found at the end of the yellow brick road, instead it sat in the middle of the Great Lake – the centrepiece of the party – which came burning down on the last night.
Dance music was heralded by the Temple of Boom, a large space age barn that most of the time couldn’t hold its audience. The Beaded Space Pioneers journeyed back from the year 2017 to give us the weirdest and gravity defying games the universe has to offer at the Collosillyum. Festivals are known to be a place to loose yourself, your inhibitions and sometimes even your mind. This year’s Secret Garden Party may have been the biggest and most popular to date, but that didn’t detract from the whimsical andfantastical nature that it’s renowned for. While all the music stages have their own redeeming features and are vastly more creative than the majority of festivals, East London collective Road To Nowhere’s Labyrinth had a special place in our hearts this year. While Secret Garden Party isn’t necessarily concerned with cramming as many big names into a lineup as possible, the eclectic rabble of headliners this year were definitely worth a watch. As well as the music and visual excitement, there were also some more relaxing activities to attend.
If a member of the Royal Family is in attendance, especially one coined the ‘Party Prince’, then it has to make this list. Wonderland chats to Saturday, Monday as we premiere the moving new video from Swedish production wizard. As you can watch below the visuals demonstrate just how rabid a Secret Garden Party can be. This festival is uptight, not in its approach to having fun, but in its aim to put on an environmentally friendly and first class unique event that you won’t get anywhere else in the world. If that’s there official mantra than Secret Garden Party more than lives up to the ideals it advertises.
This is the type of independent arts and music festival where punters don’t just engage with one feature more than the other. It is a garden party after all and with some of the stages defined by outlining tree trunks, a lake and a man made island, it demonstrates why this is fields apart from other mainstream British festivals.
With 15 stages and 26,000 revellers in 2013 this event continues to grow in size from the one stage and 1000 punters of its inaugural 2004 edition. While acts like Lily Allen, Florence & The Machine, Lykke Li, The xx, Emiliana Torrini, Mystery Jets, Gorrilaz and Regina Spektor have undoubtedly contributed to its growing popularity the music has never been the main draw card here.
Headlining The Great Stage of this 2014 event is Sweden’s Little Dragon who will almost certainly play cuts from their forthcoming Nabuma Rubberband album.
However the main stage will be filled with new music from Denmark’s MO and Britian’s Foxes with both releasing their debut albums in 2014.
Our very own Jagwar Ma will headline the Where The Wild Things Are stage, while Sub Focus will close out the Temple Of Boom with a DJ set. Other must see sets will come from the likes of Deap Valley, The Amazing Snakeheads and Kyla la Grange to name just a few. This exclusive forest excursion will take pace from the 24th to the 27th of July in the East Anglia countryside near Huntingdon. With the festival site just 70 miles outside of central London your flight destination is set for the British capital.
You can fly to London with just about any major airline and the following are a list of estimated return airfares that were available at the time of writing.
Adelaide: One-stop journeys are worth upwards of $2600, while two-stop flights will set you back around $2500. Brisbane: One-stop journeys are worth upwards of $2500, while two-stop flights will set you back around $2000.
Melbourne: One-stop journeys are worth upwards of $2100, while two-stop flights will set you back around $2000. Perth: One-stop journeys are worth upwards of $2100, while two-stop flights will set you back around $2000.
Sydney: One-stop journeys are worth upwards of $2100, while two-stop flights will set you back around $2100. From London the festival offers the following directions if you happen to have a car handy. If you’re driving or looking for a ride down consider registering with gocarshare to hitch a ride or offer a lift to fill up your car. Alternatively we’d encourage you to book a ticket with the Big Green Coach company (they depart from various cities across England) with buses departing for the festival on Thursday 24th and leaving for home on Monday the 28th of July.
If you purchase a boutique camping option you will not only get access to “luxury” toilets and showers, you will also have “bellboys and barrow girls” to take your luggage to your bed. Access to the boutique camping area is sold separately to your accommodation to make it fair on those who are staying with less people.  The boutique camping wristband is valued at ?40 per person.

The Extravagant Yurts (pictured) come in at the slightly cheaper price of ?1500 and sleep up to four people. The Lotus Belle Tents are valued at ?1000 for up to four people and include lighting, chairs and table, mineral water and baby wipes and a handmade velvet eye mask to stop the early sunrise from waking you. The above are just some of the most luxurious options, but there are quite a few more that cater for varying budgets and needs. The festival has its own Colosseum as well – or as they call it, Colosillyum – and you can fight it out in everything from hot dog eating contests to mud wrestling and dance-offs. At The Forum you can take a seat and engage in intellectual debates and philosophical questions. Among the festival grounds punters will also be able to witness parades and a variety of art installations, while you can even stop by for a show at the event’s own theatre. While you will obviously bring your own food we recommend you splurge on brunch or dinner at the Soul Fire Restaurant.
Hot tubs, spas and saunas are all located at the festival site, while The Secret Sanctuary holds yoga teachers, massage therapists and healers by the lake. Get the latest music news, opinion, interviews, freebies, tracks, videos and more delivered straight to your inbox at lunchtime every weekday. The kids table had personalised chalkboard easels with their names and a favour bag for each child. The best part of my day was later that night, as I was having my nightly snuggles with Alea, she held me tight and looked me in my eye to say, “I’m a lucky girl!” We talked about how she enjoyed her party and had fun with her friends, how she loved her beautiful cake and that it was very very delicious.
From heart shaped raindrops to playful elephants with umbrellas, mom-to-be is sure to feel the LOVE with this theme! Create a truly enchanted baby shower celebration with our whimsical Fairytale Forest Party Collection! Mill Hill Field in Abbots Ripton was full of sights to behold, decorated with comedic artworks, glory-hole boxes for hugs, large art installations made from hay, plus many many more. Little Dragon, Public Enemy, Clean Bandit and Martha Reeves and the Vandella’s all brought the crowds to The Great Stage. When Kidnap Kid took to the stage, everyone spilled out over the hills and far far away, dancing like there was no tomorrow. As the party’s best kept secret, this hidden gem of a dancefloor was a magical yet eerie setting. It was here that Chase & Status played their secret special guest performance and also where we discovered the ET Phone Homo bar, with out of this world cabaret, Chewbacca in a bikini and dancing girls with more than just two breasts. However, the garden gave us the chance to find them again, by providing us with an exciting array of intriguing talks and debates from the rarest of renegade academics. Still managing to retain its appealing boutique feel with well over 20,000 revelers in attendanceis no mean feat, but we’re happy to say they pulled it off. Every year no expense is spared in order to bring life tocountless visual treats for Gardeners to see, touch and interact with.From bronze statues hanging in trees to hammocks made entirely ofcling film, the bar was raised high. Hidden in the forest and containing a secret Speakeasy, a glitter station, and sets from the likes of Ben Pearce and Richy Ahmed, if you managed to find it then you’ll understand.
We managed to bag a prime viewing spot by the lake to witness a fireworks display that would make even New Year’s Eve jealous.
There aren’t many other festivals where you can see Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Public Enemy and Fat Freddy’s Drop in one place, but they were all pretty great. Hidden behind the door of a seemingly normal portaloo, if you were lucky enough to choose it then you were greeted by a large field of tall sunflowers as well as a ball pit and DJ booth.
While a few members of our group were convinced they saw Harry at the time, we put it down to too much glitter in their eyes. But when they say “serious party” they don’t mean it in the Gatsby fashion that some might be confused with.
They become enveloped in an experience that is soundtracked by incredible DJs and musicians, while the visual aspect of the weekend encompasses the eccentric, the inspiring and the beautiful. Kiwi seven-piece Fat Freddy’s Drop are just one tier below with the act playing in support of last year’s Blackbird. Fares start from ?34 and you can purchase them as an add on to your festival ticket when you’re at the online check out.
The travel time from London Kings Cross is estimated at about an hour with trains departing every half hour.
It’s camping of course and the basic option is there for the taking, but before you settle just takes a quick look at the indulgent boutique camping options the festival has to offer.
Among the beautiful decor you also get a mirror, clothes hooks, electric lighting, charging stations and a festival goodie basket. The price varies depending on your bedding requirements, but it ranges from ?1200 to ?1320 and sleeps up to four people. But at a festival when the whole weekend builds to this explosion of colour it becomes all the more special and a particularly Instagram worthy moment at that.

This is a place for discussion so head on down and who knows what interesting chit chat could take place? It “brings you fine dining with an Italian twist” with delicious food served on wooden tables by candlelight. Wansze’s daughter is a tutu fanatic, so she made sure to include lots of tulle & ballet slippers, while also adding some lovely wild flowers to keep things feeling organic and graceful — just like a ballet! She wakes up wanting to wear a tutu, goes to sleep wanting to wear her tutu, twirls and does splits in the middle of the shopping aisle and loves watching ballerinas. The dessert table was set up to resemble a secret garden with the cake as the main stage with a ballerina (made to resemble my daughter) twirling on top. This year’s party was a kaleidoscope of entertainment, with almost too much to choose from. Take the Orgasmatree for example, artist Thomas Sale provided us a place to reflect and find shelter from festival life (and the sweltering heat) during the day, but at night, the playful installation became a social spot for gardeners to congregate. Public Enemy’s headline performance on Saturday night took us back to the 80’s and the spectacular fireworks display was the cherry on top of a retro-tastic night. Tucked away in the corner of the lake stood The Pagoda Stage – a place to dance to some of the finest DJ’s around while stomping your feet inches above the water. Only here would you find the musical delights of Maxxi Soundsystem, a photo-booth for those ultimate festival selfies and the best place to play hide and seek. The voguing, dance routines and of course the drag queens, all brought an intergalactic feeling to the term gay bar.
The Forum hosted talks and workshops such as The Misfits’ Create Your Own Pop-Up Cult, Charlie Morley’s How Lucid Dreaming Can Change The World and Danny Kushlick’s What Will The World Look Like When We Legalise Drugs. Many went to bathe under the sky, including a certain Prince Harry you might know, and spent two blissful hours relaxing in luxury hot tubs.
Wonderland was there to check out one of the worst kept secrets this year, and here are the things we enjoyed the most. However this year’s star was undoubtedly the floating Emerald City, which was the subject of the annual Big Burn on closing night. Also joining in the fun were glitter cannons, holographic displays, aerial acrobats and skywriters, along with an impressive ticket drop to finish it off. There was also a super secret afterparty there once everything else had closed, which we were very glad to have stumbled upon.
Here you can witness a mad scientist undertake experiments and play with fire among many other science related things. I told my daughter a special ballerina was coming to teach everyone how to dance ballet and there would be games and story telling too, so she had been looking forward to it for a few weeks. Emerging talent was presented at the Where The Wild Things Are, the stage that in years past gave us the likes of Florence & The Machine, The XX and Lykke Li, so if history is to repeat itself take note of acts such as Mausi, Kate Boy and Beech. For lovers of Science, the Guerila Science tent taught us that riotous rebellion is something to be championed.
The affordable experience began with a glass of sparkling wine and ended with either a Finnish sauna or extra hot shower, and of course in true Secret Garden style, no swimwear or clothes were allowed. It was a fantastic decision to hire Chantelle as the kids were amazed and entertained for an hour. Mausi, an electronic pop group had the crowd moving and shaking in front of the wooden vine clad stage, so much so that everyone who walked by, us included, had to stop and join in the party. Williams, Richy Ahmed and Citizen dropped were pumping and had many a passer by head-bopping along. The other wooded bash happened in the Artful Badger Woods, set in the darkest corner of the garden.
Zoe Cormier’s Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll talk drew in the crowds, learning about the hedonism of science and the science of hedonism. For those who weren’t into some R&R in a hot tub, jumping into the lake was the other alternative. Hosted by the Horned God of nature, Pan and his minion the Badger Shaman, we danced to electro disco funk, swing and psychedelic grooves. It was here that we were shown proof that the vagina really is a force to be reckoned with. Set in a natural hollow, DJ’s such as Waifs & Strays, Route 94, Ben Pearce and Skream set the beats and had us dancing till sunrise, stumbling back to camp just as the rest of the festivalgoers woke for breakfast. It was here, nestled between the trees, that we discovered the Green Fairy and her delicious Pernod Absinthe Bar.

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