Phew! I’m finally recovered from the Secret Garden Party, and have almost caught up on my sleep. I can report back that the SGP is a brilliant little festival – such a great vibe, friendly people, fab music and lucky with the weather – and that 5 gigs in 3 days is about the limit of my endurance.
This is how it panned out..
Arrive on site on Friday morning. Faff around for ages trying to get our kit to the stage. Play first gig with Shadow Orchestra – a 2 hour set (allegedly) at 12.30pm on the Gaia Stage.
In the end, after playing practically everything we’ve ever written, we only had an hour and a half of material. But it all went down well, though slightly spoiled by the constant soundclashes from neighbouring stages. The inadvertent Dizzee Rascal remix of the sensual, delicate cello duel at the beginning of Folkstep was particularly “special”.
Here’s the crowd before:
Then it was time to head back to camp and chill out, enjoying the ripple of cheering that spread across the festival site as the sun finally came out from behind the day’s solid wall of cloud:
We stuffed our faces with delicious rotisserie-cooked chicken and promptly all passed out for a couple of hours (a chicken coma?) prior to our next gig at 1.30am. So far so good.
Then it was time to wait… and wait… and watch a couple of bands (including the amazing Jessie Rose Trip, and a bit of Marina and the Diamonds (aka Tesco value Regina Spektor)… and wait… and stay sober… and wait… and watch a fire circus… and wait… and get cold, tired and fractious… and wait… and stare blankly in poorly concealed agony as it became clear that our stage was running nearly 2 hours late… and wait…
Finally we got on stage at Centre Camp just after 3am – exhausted, grumpy and freezing cold. I may have sworn at the band on before us. I’m not proud of it. Luckily, we then proceeded to play an absolute blinder of a gig to a totally up-for-it crowd. New song No Other/FWNF went down really well, and we ended up with some cowbell-related audience participation.
And then, of course, we were on such a high we couldn’t sleep. So we sat around for ages having a few drinks and banging on to anyone who would listen about how brilliant we were. Finally, we crawled back to our tents well after dawn:
… only to be boiled alive by the morning sun a mere two hours later. Gnnnnnh.
The rest of saturday was a bit of a write-off for me as I flailed around with a blanket and a pair of earplugs in search of quiet, shady spots to snooze in. I felt rubbish, frankly – crotchety, bone-achingly tired with RSI-afflicted wrists, and willing to kill for a comfy bed. The rest of the band felt pretty much the same.
Two gigs down and I was wondering how on earth I was going to get through gig number 3, let alone numbers 4 and 5 (as well as providing moral support for Ricky’s two gigs with Belleruche). Stay tuned for part 2 to find out how I got on…