Happy Birthday to us

By Steve Jenner on 26 July 2009

We had some very kind offers from festivals this year who wanted to throw parties in our honour for VF's 10th birthday celebrations...

Secret Garden Party, for instance, had offered us use of a tower on an island in the middle of a lake in the middle of the festival, on the opening night - two days before it was due to be blown up. That was the offer we went with, naturally.

Our 'Tower of Babel' could only be reached by gondola or rowing boat - both of which were available for free to anyone brave or adventurous enough to try.

We chose gondola, 'punted' by a very "skillful and hot" (according to one female member of VF staff) blonde lady.

If you've ever read 'The Beach', 'Lord of the Flies' or 'Castaway' and thought 'sod fighting, you're in paradise - enjoy yourselves!', you'd have loved our party.

With our editor Dan, aka Prince Partridge, on the decks, Annabelle pole dancing and packs of party people  arriving by the boat-load, it was an amazing place to be. The only thing missing was any booze. Oops.

Like Clark Kent into the nearest phone booth, I leapt into a tiny, unstable rowing boat with no thought for my own safety. Somehow I made it back to the 'mainland' and procured two cases of Red Stripe (thanks, Peppermint bars). Miraculously, the cargo and I made it back to the island. Stepping off the little boat with my prize held aloft, feeling all heroic, doh! I lost my grip and watched in slow motion horror as one of the cases plunged into the watery depths, all blurry red stripes sinking cruelly out of view. The thirsty reception committee's cheers faded into despairing gasps. And then, we all learned something amazing... Beer floats! The party was back on, invigorated by Jamaican lager.

It was a magical start to a truly wonderful festival. I can't rave enough about Secret Garden Party. You have to experience it to understand it. As one of my friends remarked, "This should be compulsory for every youth in Britain". Might be a logistical challenge, mind, but if we can get to the moon...

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