The Secret Garden Party, often colloquially shortened to SGP, is an annual independent arts and music festival which takes place in Abbots Ripton near Huntingdon in England. This location is on part of the grounds of a Georgian farm house and has its own lake, river and landscaped gardens. The festival was launched by Fred Fellowes in 2004 as an alternative to the established mainstream music festivals.
Since its inception the festival has increased in popularity and size, and has grown from one stage and 1,000 visitors in 2004, to more than 15 stages and 26,000 revellers in 2011.
In March 2017, it was announced that the 2017 edition will be the last.
The Secret Garden Party supports The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which aims to prevent male suicide in the United Kingdom.
This isn’t a festival it’s a party.
* Note from the Head Gardener *
My dearest Gardeners,
Whilst I have always known I was going to have to write this, it still feels strange. We have been on a long journey but I concede to the infamous phrase that ‘All good things must come to an end’, and so it is, I announce today that this summer will host the last Secret Garden Party as we all know it.
I know some of you will be questioning, why now? And more importantly , why tell us now? I hope you don’t find the timing Machiavellian, however there is never the perfect time to drop this bombshell, too early or too late and people are going to miss out and be disappointed. Hopefully we have struck the middle ground here. Secondly I’m sure you will have, by now, spotted that this is the punchline to this year’s theme as it is ultimately going to be a huge celebration of the people who make the garden party: you.
15 years ago I started out with a set of ideas as to what makes a good party and the most perfect venue for it. But with no set idea of what the destination was for this venture the ‘festival’ was, at that time, the perfect medium through which to explore these ideas.
Much has changed since that first Garden Party, when there was nothing else like it in the UK: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had yet to be invented and no one knew what a boutique festival was, let alone Glamping.
Since then, with you always at the heart of it, The Garden Party has defined and redefined outdoor events in the UK; we have all done this together as a collective of truly independent outsiders.
I have never compromised our principles and I never will. SGP has always been a beacon of what you can do within those terms and, as imitation (being the sincerest form of flattery) proves, it has set the bar for everyone else going forward.
But it is exactly because of those principles, and the love for all of you who have made The Garden Party what it is, that I am committing this senseless act of beauty.
What better way to honour the love that has been given to this project and wholly demonstrate this principle, than going out with a bang.
This isn’t some principled self-immolation: this is opening it up for new forms in the future. So this summer will be the almighty send-off that The Garden Party deserves and whilst that is going to cause some tears to be shed, think of it more as ‘Dylan goes electric’ than our Altamont.
So watch this space for the phoenix rising from the ashes…
Because after all you can’t be avant-garde from within an institution and lest we forget: the frontier always moves.
Come join us for the finale! Tickets are on sale HERE
As ever with Peace, Love and Tree Hugging Hippy Shit,
Your Head Gardener