Secret Garden Party 2010

Secret Garden Party
is not like our other UK festivals. With its complete lack of commercial branding and its incessant demand for silliness from all (everyone is in fancy dress at all times), it is an absolute treat compared to the majority of our other festivals that come sans atmosphere. That said, Secret Garden Party (SGP) does not get off to a good start. Rivmixx arrives on Thursday to see the most mammoth sized, sprawling queue to get into the site. Whilst sheepishly skipping passed to enter the empty press queue, we stop to ask a few punters how long they had been in line for – about ten downbeat attendees fiercely cry out in unison “four hours!” That’s pretty bloody poor crowd management when you consider the SGP capacity is just 25 000. Once at the gates we realize why. There are police, security and sniffer dogs everywhere, searching every single person and bag, one at a time. This level of security is to do with the heartbreaking state of affairs that caused Glade 2010 to be cancelled. Whereas Glade refused to adhere to all the police restrictions and precautions that were imposed on them to control festival drug use etc, it’s clear that SGP – an independent festivals itself – complied completely to ensure its survival.

Day 1 – 23/07/10

After a quick explore Rivmixx comes to realize that this is truly one of the more memorable site locations currently on the festival circuit. All the music tents, fair ground theatrics and art/drama workshops are situated around a huge and picturesque lake, and the attention to detail is unlike anything we have seen before. First stop is Fionn Regan’s Mercury Prize-nominated Irish folk-rock over The Great Stage (i.e. main stage), which goes down like a lead balloon taking itself too seriously. Rivmixx then peeks in the S & Mpathy tent before turning and running a mile to the Remix Bubble – an impressive little stage run by Eddie Temple Morris featuring lasers, projectors and even acrobats, and upon which Fenech Soler stomp through a surprisingly impressive set of electro-rock. Its then over to The Great Stage for Marina and the Diamonds headlining slot, and she’s well aware of how fortunate she is to have such a slot so early on in her career. She belts through the hits ‘I Am Not A Robot,’ ‘Oh No’ and ‘Hollywood’ with conviction, charisma and very, very sexy legs. The night is only just beginning though. We head back over the Remix Bubble to catch the end of Losers, a captivating mini-super group featuring Eddie Temple Morris, one to two members of The Cooper Temple Clause and that little feisty MC Envy, who swigs at a bottle of whisky twice her size throughout the set. Doorly then pops on for an hour of blissful dubstep, so pleasing most of the crowd spend most the time on the floor. Next up is Example, who bounds on stage for a run through his hits and other floor-fillers in a dubstep-heavy collaboration with DJ Wire – the dubstep remix of ‘Kickstarts’ suitably makes everyone in attendance lose the plot.

Day 2 – 24/07/10

We start this sun-filled day sitting on the bank at the back of the Great Stage for Australia’s big hit Sarah Blasko. It maybe 2pm, but most of the ‘gardners are yet to wake up, meaning her lovely blend of Fiona Apple and Angus & Julia Stone goes fairly unnoticed. The day truly begins with the arrival of Sting’s daughters I Blame Coco, who’s electro-pop-rock and smiley, energetic performance gets people up and about. Rivmixx then takes a time-out from all the music for a quick jolly around the lake and over the wobbly bridge in order to don some inspiring fancy dress, and then straight back to the Great Stage for the fireworks, Chinese lanterns and burning of the ‘Blimp’ (they literally set fire to a pirate ship in the middle of the lake). Then comes the headliner’s set by Gorillaz Sound System. Now, this project sounded very intriguing on paper – the Gorillaz hit’s remixed by a DJ, accompanied by a live drummer and percussionist (who all appear as silhouettes behind a giant screen), and featuring visuals from Gorillaz’ own cartoonist Jamie Hewlett (which are stunning). However, upon learning that the DJ overseeing this whole affair is DJ Kofi, we realize that Damon Albarn is not at all present. So although this set maybe a whole lot more fun that the actual Gorillaz headline slot at Glastonbury, because Albarn is the Gorillaz (at least the musical side of them) it seems a bit of a cop out to bill this as a Gorillaz show at all. Rivmixx leaves even more confused when the encore is actually Eliza Doolittle’s recent hit ‘Pack Up’ (featuring Eliza herself) rather than a Gorillaz track!

Day 3 – 25/07/10

Rivmixx begins the final day by chilling out to Belleruche’s Zero 7-esque vocals, guitar and beats – a perfect start, we look forward to hearing the new LP. We then wander over to the Where The Wild Things Are stage – a stage that’s built into the side of a tree and overlooks the gorgeous lake – for a snippet of some downbeat indie-folk with Pandu Su. After a quick glance at the debaucherous antics of the Collo-silly-um and the hilarious antics of the Dance Off mini-arena, its back to Where The Wild Things Are for that “Michael Jackson of indie” Darwin Deez, a moustached man so uncool he’s become considered incredibly cool. His light indie-pop hits come with intervals of rib-tickling, choreographed dance-moves and half way through the set he opens up the crowd so he can come down and play a quick game of spin-the-bottle (where he lucks out and smooches two ladies). Its then over to the Remix Bubble for some bass-heavy dubstep with big player Jakwob before catching girl-of-the-moment Lissie’s bluesy pop set back at Where The Wild Things Are. She is as likeable as ever and her incredible voice makes her live show truly memorable – shame her album’s production polished away any sparkle of individuality. Rivmixx ends the night with the ever-great Freestylers, who bring along a couple MCs, some great visuals and a perfect blend of breaks, dubstep and garage over to the Remix Bubble. And on that high, Rivmixx packs up its tent, takes off the silly hats and masks, and heads home with a beaming Cheshire cat grin. See you next year Secret Garden Party.

Originally published by Rivmixx here...


~ by cliveparisrozario on July 28, 2010.

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