Secret Garden Party 2012: Mud Mud Glorious Mud!
Tim Clark23 July 2012
Last weekend’s Secret Garden Party kept up the typical British festival tradition (currently vacated by Glastonbury) of being a particularly sticky mud-bath of mirth.
The sun may be beating down on the UK like a sheepish summer late-comer making up for lost time, but with fields still sodden Alex Parsonage tries his best to keep hold of his wellies in the countryside carnivale….
If the was one thing that summed up this years Secret Garden Party it's mud.
And not just in quantity either - but more types of mud than I even knew existed. Ranging from the merely soft underfoot to full on ankle deep sludge that seams to suck at your every step desperate to deprive you of your wellingtons.
However even though a viscous gluey mass sucked at you with every step did this affect the quality of the festive atmosphere?. Hell no! Secret Garden Party was marking ten years of creating carnivale chaos in 2012 and had every ounce of eclectic, wacky, creative and down right bizarre content that we've grown to love and expect.
Moments that stick out this year included being greeted by an American Style college marching band all paying the kazoo, seeing a pony-trap being pulled around the festival by a naked man in a gimp mask courtesy of the S&M tent, and watching two hundred people on a band stand dancing to the twisted brass, gypsie stylings of the Perhaps Contraption - Who are well worth checking out if you haven't had the pleasure yet!
The performance highlight of the festival was the absolutely beautiful one taste cabaret programmed and hosted by the fantastic Lotan Sapir. Sapir managed to weave together a line-up of cabaret stalwarts, including the likes of Such Small Portions favourite surrealist comedian Dr Brown, the beguiling burlesque storyteller Bella Fable and Schtefan Gaphausen's Ze Hoff Und Me.
The genius of the night was coupling these undoubtably A-list performers with a full band who provided the musical accompaniment. This pulled the night together as a coherent and creatively satisfying whole, that really was more than the sum of it's considerable parts. Sapir's hosting style is self avowedly feminine - preferring to seduce the audience in rather than harangue them in the more traditional homage to P. T. Barnum and his showman ilk. The result was an intimate, artistically satisfying and genuinely beautiful night.
As always the Burn formed the climax of the festival. The Saturday night tradition which sees the water born centre piece of the festival go up in flames certainly didn't disappoint. In celebration of SGP's 10th birthday the burn was billed as their biggest pyrotechnic show yet. And I can believe it. I'm not usually one for fireworks displays but the 15 minute display - choreographed to an amazing soundtrack pumped out across the whole festival sight was nothing less than mind blowing.
As the count down to the burn got closer and the fireworks built to a crescendo we were treated to a sky which appeared to be on fire, before a final huge explosion left a ball of glittering stars which stayed suspended in the air for an unfeasibly long time. It was quite frankly breath taking.
The fireworks also provided me with one of my most surreal moments of SGP 2012. Wading through a particularly dense muddy section of the site as the display started, I saw the muddy pock marked terrain illuminated by a succession of explosions.
The mud glistened while struggling figures were momentarily caught in the light, it looked for all the world like footage of the trenches in the First World War . There's no getting away from it. The thing that will be most remembered from SGP 2012 will be the mud!
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