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.
The Secret Garden Party always seems to leave me feeling so inspired and so eager to create.
This year words don’t seem to be doing the festival justice so I have decided to present my Secret Garden Party 2012 review in the form of 12 photos and an illustration. The image above was just one of the striking scenes that have been etched into my mind from this weekend. The photos below were taken over the course of the festival and show some of the wonderful art installations that meet you at every corner as well as some of the happy, smiley people that despite the rain and mud put their whole hearts into creating and enjoying this spectacular celebration of life and the arts. This entry was posted in CREATURE AT FESTIVALS, CREATURE NEWS and tagged matt witt, Secret Garden, secret garden party, SGP review 2012. Rhythm Circus once again attended the party of the year in the sleepy farm town of Huntingdon, Cambridge. The Arts & Expression theme for next year's The Secret Garden Party 2012 has been announced as "Standing On Ceremony". In 2012 the Arts & Expression theme comes as the festival celebrates its 10th Birthday, and uses that starting point to explore those ceremonies, rituals, initiations, anniversaries and carnivals that bind us together, that emphasize matter over mind, that emphasise our true gifts as humans: social existence. Next year also offers inspirational themes including the Olympics, the phenomena of the 2012 prophecies, the arrival of the seventh billion human, and our social history is full of 'mass collective moments' and ceremonial occasions that have bound men together across the ages, that have reinforced and reinvented that most remarkable of our achievements: society. There are no acts confirmed yet for The Secret Garden Party 2012 held from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd July 2012.

The Secret Garden Party held at Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton, in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire is a garden-party-gone-crazy.
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. Following the festival I like to take a couple of days out to bath in the memories and properly soak up the experience then see what manifests in illustrated or written form. From it’s small beginnings of a one-stage, 1000-punter back-yard weekender, to a fifteen-stage 26,000-strong, singing, dancing, paint-splattered behemoth.
Last year saw a record number of festival goers interacting with on site installations, artworks, performances and absurd happenings. This allows a reserved ticket for a deposit of ?50; the balance to be paid by 13 June 2012. As well as music there's loads of activities for kids and adults alike, and it is more of a party experience than a live music festival.
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. There were over 50 art installations, over 30 participatory action camps, and countless performances, all woven between the 17 arenas & stages showcasing over 350 bands across 4 days. Tier one and Tier two have already sold out so gardeners are encouraged to buy now at Tier Three Price. 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.
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.

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