The Secret Garden Party 2007
Glastonbury, the Carling Weekend, V Festival... yawn. Well, maybe not to the first one. Still, if you fancy something a little different in your choice of summer festival, why not opt for the Secret Garden Party 2007? Taking place at a 'secret' location in the East Anglian countryside, near Huntingdon and 70 miles out of central London, Secret Garden aims to destroy existing preconceptions about what your average music festival entails. Forget big brand sponsorship, uninspired music choices, and overpriced beer; none of that here. Since its first summer in 2004, the festival has aimed to keep it intimate (6,000 this year) without sacrificing, in terms of the eclectic entertainment and activities on offer, sheer bold ambition.
There's still music, of course! Tonnes of it, in fact. The Great Stage will play host to Echo and The Bunnymen, Alabama 3, Horsebox, The New York Fund, Noisettes, Little Barrie, Frank Turner, Candie Payne, Hot Puppies, Hafdis Huld, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Drive By Argument, Fujiya & Miyagi, New Young Pony Club, Sunshine Underground, Rinôçérôse, Hush The Many (Heed the Few), Moonbabies, Tallulah Rendall, Radio LXMBRG, I’m From Barcelona, Isobel Campbell & The Mark Lanegan Band, Keren Ann, Of Montreal, Terry Reid, Rilo Kiley, and Prince Buster. Phew!
If you fancy some beats, then the Remix Arena will offer Goose, EddyTM, Utah Saints, Shakes, South Central, The Officers, Headland, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, GoHomeProductions, Moneyshot & Parker, The Head Gardener, and Coburn. No matter what your taste, though, you're sure to find something that suits, the festival offering TEN stages (including one that floats!) of music (full lineups yet to be announced), theatre, comedy, and 'public eccentricity'. Hmm. Oh, and the festival's 6am weekend music license means you'll be able to party until dawn.
Alternatively, you can avoid the stages all weekend and explore the other options the festival offers. As the press release puts it, the folk behind Secret Garden 'believe festivals offer a unique environment for individuals to come together and live as they would like'. That includes becoming your favourite superhero, taking part in a kissing workshop (ooh la la!) or, if you're a brave 'un, participating in Nearly Naked Twister. In fact, 'brave' is a key word in 2007, as 'Brave New Worlds' is the theme the festival is looking to explore. You'll be able to demonstrate your courage by visiting the various 'Action Camps', themed areas which explore surreal and engaging ideas. The organisers are inviting festival-goers to come up with ideas for further action camps but, so far, the existing options are:
Action Figure Camp - superhero capes provided!
Emotional Baggage - drop off that emotional luggage, honey.
Camp Orange - no orange, no entry.
Fig Leaf Camp - featuring the aforementioned variant on Twister.
Science Camp - string theory - oo-er!
Kissing Workshop - saucy, eh?
Bad Advice Bear(s) - visit the Bears who promise 'perfectly bad advice'.
New Days Eve - make new day resolutions and join in the celebrations at midnight.
Record Breakers - the place where you can lay down your (however bonkers) record and defend it at all costs.
Open Music Camp - bring your instrument of choice and prepare to jam until dawn with fellow musically-inclined revellers.
Fire Camp - pretty pretty fireworks!
Lots and lots to do, then. The creativity doesn't stop there, though, with the installation of large scale, interactive 'Art Works' (created by Serena de la Hey and Eudemonic) for all to explore. If you fancy a break from all the excitement, renew your spirits at The Sanctuary. It offers massage, healing, dance classes, saunas, yoga teachers and hot tubs, all hidden in the beautiful parkland behind the festival's centrepiece lake.
So... what are you waiting for?! Tickets are £110 (4 days of camping, parking and swimming included) but if you need any more info than that, head on over to the marvellously designed official website. Hope to see you there!