Top Secret: Secret Garden Party 2012 preview

Pssst! We let you in on what's going on at SGP this weekend

Photographer: Joel KnightChris Eustace on 18 July 2012

“Standing On Ceremony” is the theme for Secret Garden Party 2012, but this isn’t some lame, half-arsed Olympic tie-in: “Create gatherings and parties that breakdown the walls of inhibition, shyness, the other, the stranger. We are already naked, so use your freedom to unite with your fellow Gardener. 2012 is not the end of it all – it is merely a rallying call to unite, to come together, to reinforce the ties that bind” implored the organisers when the theme was announced. That’s the kind of event we’re dealing with here.

It’s not that Secret in the grand scheme of things, with only a handful of resale tickets remaining after it sold out, and the event set to celebrate its tenth anniversary when it takes place this weekend near Huntingdon in Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton.

It’s a real Alice through the looking glass-style affair, and the “Secret” bit really comes into its own with the labyrinth of different stages and areas to locate and explore. There’s not a festival to be found with an air of mystery as profound as this one, so who you the hell are you going to see?

If you can manage to find where they’re playing (and we've put which stage they'll be playing on), here are our tips:

Orbital – The Great Stage


They shouldn’t be too hard to find as they’re one of the big-hitters on the Great Stage, plus they’ll be wearing those little lights round their heads, so the brothers Hartnoll and their legendary Dance stylings are a nice easy one to start with. Plus, latest album ‘Wonky’ proves they’re still as good as ever, so why wouldn’t you go and see them? 

Palma Violets – Where The Wild Things Are

The UK’s next big indie band? The hype is beginning to build for the London quartet as they venture out from putting on their own tiny shows round at their place to the festival stage. There’s elements of 50’s rock n’ roll balladeering, The Doors, Echo & The Bunnymen and Joy Division, and if you’re fan of the last two Horrors albums, this should be right up your street.

Niki & The Dove – The Temple Of Boom


The Swedish electropop duo make big dramatic 80’s-tinged statements, with choruses to die for and in Malin Dahlstrom, they have the voice and stage presence to complete it all. Tipped in the BBC Sound Of 2012 poll at the start of the year, such other-worldly pop is a perfect fit for this festival.

Disclosure – Colo-Silly-Um

The Lawrence brothers grabbed the dance world’s attention with their superb remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Running’, and the duo’s own tunes are just as big, with ‘Control’ taking flight on a simple but incredibly effective hook. There’s elements of Chicago house and old-skool garage, but don’t go expecting the womp to kick in any second – these boys are all about the melody.

Stealing Sheep - Wormfood’s Valley Of The Antics


Not just another folk act, the Liverpool trio mix in psychedelic flashes of harmonies, synths and beats, with 60’s pop, post-punk, funk and electronica thrown in to create a mesmerising sound that draws you in and doesn’t let go. If you can’t wait for a new Warpaint album, or you’re loving Alt-J’s debut, make sure you catch them.

Want more? Check out the VF Secret Garden Party Spotify Playlist – one thing you definitely don’t have to keep to yourself.

Secret Garden Party 2012 takes place from 19-22 July in Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton. The last few resale tickets are available now, priced at £195 (plus booking fee).

Click here to buy Secret Garden Party tickets

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