I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this.
We were lucky enough to go to the Secret Garden Party festival this year. I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Although I was excited I had done a bit of research and just had an unfamiliar image in my head. Wealthy middle class teenagers in Polo shirts and Ray-Bans drinking overpriced champagne. Girls in mock-boho designer frocks and Hunter wellies.
After a ridiculous journey we arrived to find thousands of hot ravers scorching in the afternoon sun trying to negotiate the heavy security presence and intimidating prison-like perimeter fence. No one looked happy. Not a child in site, in fact no one over 30. None of the stewards had heard of family camping and eventually we worked out we had driven in the wrong entrance. Refusing to get the van stuck in traffic again I decided it was easier to drive round the perimeter fence. So, sunglasses on, stretching out my arms, I parted the angry crowds in a move that Moses would have been proud of. Sorry people. We made it.
Turns out that Secret Garden Party was an absolute blast. It’s billed as ‘a serious PARTY’ and it really is. You can’t help but enjoy yourself in such a brilliant and gorgeous environment and all my fears of it being full of complete numpties soon faded when we got stuck in. Yes, there is an obvious air of young adults spending their parents money, and yes our camper was the oldest in the field surrounded by expensive winnebagos, but everyone we came across was lovely.
If you still have partying in you then this is a great place to go. Most of the 30k visitors are under 40 and there are only a few hundred kids there (bonus), but it felt really safe. Security seemed well organised and only 21 arrests all weekend (less than a average Saturday night in Brighton). Mind you, the only police we saw looked about 12. Surely they were just kids in fancy dress?
Did I feel old?
No. Not until we got a night out on Saturday (thanks aunty C and uncle B for having the kids!).
This place is fabulous in the day. And if you are worried if it’s suitable for little ones then we had an 8 year old, 4 year old and and 12 week old with us who all loved it. Yes, the place does let a little crazy and the down side is all the litter, but generally to anyway asking should I be taking kids to Secret Garden Party, we say ABSOLUTELY! Loads to explore and enjoy from dusk till dawn and at night the place goes BONKERS.
We had a child free night out and saw a big crowd round one of the dance venues so decided to make our way in to the fortress across some very high hay bales. A bit of gin soaked, stealth like wriggling and climbing and we were in. Soon discovered that all the crowded fuss outside had been about a mystery guest which we arrived just in time for. A blast from the past.
‘Excellent, I can remember dancing to these guys 20 years ago’.
‘Oh my god!’ said the guy next to me. ‘Are you real ravers?’
He was serious.
Realising he was about 18 and I was old enough to be his mother he started introducing us to all his grinning friends.
We were famous.
Can’t really say I am proud of it. I still feel 18 when we go out out. Just smiling at the thought of all those teenagers now having a picture of Rob and I on their phone as ‘the oldest ravers at Secret Garden Party’.
Surely 40 is still acceptable?
Just hope we are still going when we are as old as this guy!
Read our ‘top tips on taking kids to festivals‘.