For four enchanting days of the year, Mill Hill Farm in Cambridgeshire undergoes a breathtaking transformation, blossoming into a realm of vivid colors and celestial melodies. Secret Garden Party, one of the UK’s most beloved festivals, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in all its ethereal splendor. Renowned for its welcoming, wonderful, and wonderfully weird atmosphere, this boutique event returns with a meticulously crafted lineup, spanning from tech-house to folk, across 20 enchanting sites and stages.
As festival-goers arrive, they are offered a choice between regular camping and a unique, quieter glamping experience in Tipis or Yurts, courtesy of Glastonbury’s Hearthwork’s service. While this year’s campsites may have been slightly less crowded than before, the extra space only added to the magical experience as sun-kissed and paint-splattered campers twirled and danced through the daffodil-filled greenery of Huntington’s meadows, exuding gleeful exuberance.
The festivities commence on Thursday (July 20) with the intimate and woodland-shrouded “Secret FM” stage, setting the tone for the festival’s community-oriented spirit by hosting a “bookable open deck” from 11 AM to 6 PM, where budding artists share their tunes. Meanwhile, at the main festival area, Mixer Truck’s resident DJ Santero treats the crowd to a slew of crowd-pleasers.
The festival’s otherworldly woodland area houses three immersive stages. The inclusive and multi-genre Noirganica stage begins its celebrations with DJ Lady G’s funked-out, soulful melodies, which are followed by equally groove-riddled sets from May Rose, Gonebrook, and Azire.
The fan-favorite Lost Woods Stage delivers a stellar closing back-to-back set from club beacon Hodge and industry heavyweight Peverelist, with rising star Danielle warming up the performance with a mesmerizing 90-minute set. Nearby, the Where The Wild Things Are stage closes with a forty-five minute set from Bristol-based synth-laden post-punk meets techno outfit Scalping, demonstrating SGP’s commitment to musical diversity.
The water-borne Pagoda stage, another beloved destination, kicks off with a shell-out performance from rapidly rising underground talent and Reprezent radio resident Cardinal, who christens the CDJs with a jungle and hardcore set infused with dancehall and reggae influences. Cooling things down with deep house cuts are label owner Erol Alkan and fabric London resident Hutch.
Notable appearances include the legendary event series, label, and fashion brand He.She.They, who captivate early arrivals at Circus Maximus with their futuristic soundscapes and energetic performances. The b2b set between Berlin-based label owner Cinthie and Rinse FM resident Anna Wall is a standout moment.
Friday sees a poetic, psychedelia-influenced performance from the mesmerizing Lava La Rue. This headline slot feels particularly significant for the artist, as their emotionally-tinged lyrics resonate under the beaming sunshine, connecting with a supportive audience of like-minded progressives. Another unforgettable performance comes from the boundary-pushing Canadian feminist electro punk icon Peaches, whose yonic-themed spectacle leaves the crowd awestruck.
Heads bop in time to electrifying sounds at Lost Woods, with Chloe Robinson’s b2b with DJ ADHD and Jamz Supernova uplifting crowds at Circus Maximus. The legendary British drum and bass heavyweight duo, Fabio and Grooverider, take the stage with support from German hardcore techno and drum ‘n’ bass duo MC Rage.
Saturday arrives with aggressive rain, but Leftfield and Underworld’s dynamic, headline performances remind the audience to keep dancing. Over at the HE.SHE.THEY stage, Horse Meat Disco delivers a fusion of Italo disco and punk funk, immersing audiences in a performance full of spirit. Ravemaker Samurai Breaks provides an unforgettable display of innovative techno and bassline, fused with 170bpm footwork and breaks.
The sun reappears on Sunday, and Grandmaster Flash fills the great stage with much-loved old school bangers. Newcomer Eaves Wilder enchants with her shoegazey-neo-punk performance at the Where The Wild Things Are stage, and DJ Santero continues to pump out beloved bangers from the Mixer Truck.
The HE.SHE.THEY. stage closes with an incredible back-to-back performance between I.JORDAN and Sherelle, inviting audience members to join them on stage in a boogie to their fusion of donk, footwork cuts, and rave-ready techno. Hip hop pioneers De La Soul grace the Great Stage before being followed by the much-loved Fat Freddy’s Drop.
Secret Garden Party lives up to its ethereal reputation, providing an enchanting and captivating experience for all who enter its magical realm.
Written by: Artificial Intelligence Technology