It's Just Nice

A lifestyle blog bringing you fashion, music, food, and everything else that's just nice about Bristol and beyond!

Secret Garden Party 2014…..

I’ve finally recovered! Took a good few days and a fair few hardcore gym sessions to sweat out that messy weekend, but happily I can see the good in the world again. As this year’s SGP seemed bigger than ever, I thought you lovely people might like to hear how it was so you can decide whether you want to head up to East Anglia next year. Tickets are already on sale and seen as they’ve already sold out of early bird tickets for 2015, the love for this on trend festival seems to only be growing. So, before you shell out the £190.00 for a ticket, have a little read of the below….

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The epitome of SGP

The Site

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The Emerald City

The site itself is great. Not too small or too big. There’s The Sanctuary which is the hippy, relaxing area, food and bars are scattered around the main site with the Colo-silly-um stage, the Games Field, Gay Bar and a few other mini-stages with bars attached thrown in for good measure. There’s certainly enough room for everyone to have a good boogie. The main stage is a decent size for the acts playing and as it’s next to the Temple of Boom, The Drop and The Dance Off arena, a whole host of night-time partying is in the same area which makes life easy when trying to avoid strobe lights, or find some.

My favourite stage was the Artful Badger. Nestled in the woods, this mini-stage lives among the trees and was playing some cracking music to skank to throughout the weekend. The sunflower field is stunning and there were a few other SGP essentials like the stage in the middle of the lake (modelled this year on the Wizard of OZ’s ‘Emerald City’), the Pagoda and the giant fox to keep you feeling festive, but I was a little disappointed on the general lack of magical ‘vibez’. I think I was expecting to be transported to another world and sadly, I couldn’t find the magical haven I was promised.

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Omg, THE HEAT

I generally expect UK festivals to have sunny spells, probably a bit of rain and get pretty damn cold at night. But East Anglia is a hell of a lot hotter and less rainy than the South West and bloomin’ heck the heat was incessant! The sunshine made for a totally beautiful festival of course and lots of miniature clothing from the revellers, but BE PREPARED! Sleep during the day (when you really needed it) was a massive no go, so if you’re thinking of going in 2015, get your best 24hr party head on, pack your swimmers and get into the lake!

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Music. The whole point of a festival right?

Clean Bandit

Hmm, me thinks not. Yes, SGP had a pretty jampacked lineup with a big array of DJ’s and bands playing all day and all night. But when we sat down to see who we wanted to check out, there was a seriously limited list, pretty much all of whom I’d seen before. That’s not denying there’s a lot of good music going on over the weekend and I particularly loved Clean Bandit, who totally redeemed themselves from a nightmare set at Love Saves the Day a few years ago, bringing the crowd up, sounding stunning and making everyone love life. Other highlights were Little Dragon, Foxes, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Dub Pistols. Thing is, myself, my friends and most of the people around us were so battered I don’t think we would’ve cared who or what was playing as long as we could dance. And maybe that’s the point of SGP, it’s not about discovering new music or listening to the best bands of this year, but having a bloody good party, and that my friends was had.

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Anna Mae’s Mac n’ Cheese

The eats are YUMMY!

The Fabulous Fish Finger Company

So, I’m totally not one of those people who’s like, ‘Oh, I never eat at festivals…blah blah blah’, no, I eat and I loooovvveeee it. Checking out the food is great fun for me and SGP definately hit the spot. The food was pretty much a more upmarket version of the standard, noodles, mexican, sausages and chips but with a few hidden gems. The great and the grand, Biblos were there and a fair few cake shops, bakeries, alcoholic ice lollies, BBQs, smoothie sellers and roast dinners filled up the site. But my foodie highlights were definitely Anna Mae’s Southern Street Food and the Fabulous Fish Finger Company. That’s right, when I was barely able to move on Saturday day, I managed to drag myself out of the hottest tent in the history of the world to get some of the most delicious and mouthwatering Mac n’ Cheese with bacon bits on I could ever have imagined. Literal life saver. And on Sunday, after about an hour of searching, we found the sneakily tucked away Fish Fingers sandwiches we’d been searching for, YUM.

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The beautiful ‘Lys’ loving life

That Festival Look

Yep, SGP is the place to be if you’re super hot, uber cool and in your 20’s these days. Nicely, you really did have that festival feel with a multitude of flowery headbands, native indian headdresses, sparkly onesies, top hats, animal ears and my favourite, GLITTER. I’m going to sound like a complete old fogie now but, there was a total lack of clothing going on. Any male’s heaven, but the number of girls wearing basically pants and a crop top was insane. For me, it got beyond the point of festival fashion and into the realms of how little can I get away with wearing. Everyone at this giant party looked super hot, but for me, festivals are about more than showing off, they’re about dressing up and having fun. Festival fashion here? I’d say people need to wear clothes before it’s considered fashion.

Glastonbury it is not

Ok, ok this is obvious so I’ll make it quick. Glastonbury knows how to deal with hundreds of thousands of people, small festivals struggle to deal with even a few thousand. The entrance queue to SGP took us 4 hours to move about 500m by which point we’d had 6 cans and a half a bottle of wine (most of our weekend alcohol allowance).  Next up (told you it would be quick), toilets. Come on guys, we all know festival toilets suck and only a minimal numbers of porter loos is bad enough, but not emptying them for over 30 hours, not cool. See, like a plaster!

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Saturday night Spectacular

Wow, wow and wow again! There was an enormous effort put into this by the SGP crew and it was totally stunning. Blew my little drunken socks off and I think made my whole weekend. This year, the lake stage burning was saved until the Sunday night, but in no way did that deter from the spectacular. The fireworks were the best I have ever seen! At one point, the whole sky filled with glitter and I just about exploded with excitement. Topped off with some incredible skyward stunts performed by old skool Spitfires including, hearts, willies, more fireworks and sparkles flying from the planes themselves and some awesome flips and dives, the show literally was SPECTACULAR. The best bit though? Without a doubt, the shower of red and blue sparkles which fell in the form of swirling lights over the crowd; completely breathtaking, original and beautiful.

SIMPLY STUNNING

SIMPLY STUNNING

The long and short of it

So, the big question…would I recommend it or go again myself? Well, let’s just say, if a big group of my friends were heading there, I would definately go. Be sure, you would have a bloody good weekend of all night partying, getting glitter in every place imaginable and feeling like you were in the heart of what’s fun in the 2010’s. But for me, festivals are about a little more than getting mashed and looking good. They’re about mind-boggling crowds, beautiful new music and that feeling you get of being part of something so hedonistic you feel like you’re on top of the world. Even though I got flashes of those feelings at SGP this year, for me, there was a certain lack of soul, lack of purpose which I couldn’t shake, ultimately it’s less of a festival and more of a sparkly night out and that’s why next year, my eggs are going firmly back in the king of all festival’s baskets, Glasto.

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Having a good old boogie at SGP

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