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Inside Secret Garden Party 2023 and what to expect

Since 2004, with a brief hiatus from 2017-2021, Secret Garden Party has been one of the most talked about and highly-anticipated festivals on the UK summer calendar.

By Jack Pengelly

Secret Garden Party (Picture: Press)

Since 2004, with a brief hiatus from 2017-2021, Secret Garden Party has been one of the most talked about and highly-anticipated festivals on the UK summer calendar.

With a commitment to uplifting and enriching emerging arts and sub-cultures, SGP has always pushed forward an ethos of partying with purpose: facilitating an immersive escape from the tribulations of the real world and engineering a space that champions thought diversity and boundary-pushing creativity.

This year SGP continues to flip the script on competitors, with the announcement of its evolution into a Social Enterprise, with 65% of all profits going towards music-based charities that work to provide access to underprivileged groups and individuals. SGP’s continued efforts to provide a truly inclusive haven will now include working with charities that directly affect disparities in the music industry and the arts. Speaking on the announcement, ‘Head Gardener’ and SGP Founder Freddie Fellowes said: “Recently much has been noted regarding how inclusive the music industry is (or isn’t) and this set us thinking about how much more we could go with our core principles of being progressive, inclusive, and relevant.

“Rich kids being able to do art for a living may be a reflection of their privilege, but it seems to me like a reflection of the fact that a human who doesn’t have to worry about money will often choose art. Everyone is an artist until rent is due. I wish we all had that right.”

A NEW HOPE: “Not just some pithy reference to our pledge to have better loos this year.”

The theme for this year’s venture is A New Hope which not only represents an acknowledgement of some of the issues of last year’s outing (which we won’t dwell on) but also reflects the entirely new direction of SGP as a force for positive change.

SGP virgins and veterans alike will be left awestruck by the effort and craftsmanship of the team that has pulled together the immersive elements of this year’s celebration, once again setting new standards for the role of art in festivals. There will be Alien artefacts carved into seating;

Spacebug escape pod Tuk Tuks; extraterrestrial mirror ball eyes are just at the top of the list of what’s been created this year. And towering above the entire festival will be an enormous, 12.5-metre-tall steel framed Robot’s head that will stand guard over the Lake Stage.

And the creativity doesn’t stop there, over the four-day duration a team of artists, designers, metalworkers, set designers and more will be creating artwork in real-time, ensuring a totally unique experience for attendees.

Secret Garden Party (Picture: Press)

Who’s playing Secret Garden Party 2023: “Without a doubt the best lineup we have ever been lucky enough to pull together”

SGP is known for their unique blend of both emerging and established acts, and 2023 is no different. Underworld, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Roisin Murphy, 2manyDJs (live), Leftfield, The Libertines, De La Soul, Leftfield, Peaches, Lava La Rue and more, Secret Garden Party recently announced their complete festival programme, featuring one of the best combinations of live and electronic acts on the 2023 UK festival circuit.

Absolute, DJ Paulette, Gerd Janson, Elkka, Jamz Supernova, Blond:ish, Mathew Jonson, Faithless (DJ set), Chloe Robinson, DJ ADHD, Batu, Nikki Nair, SHERELLE, I. Jordan, Meg Ward, Feelings, Jasper Tygner, Haus Of Don, Danielle, Hodge, Balamii, Mella Dee, Heidi, Pangea, Fabio & Grooverider, and Horsemeat Disco are just a selection of the DJs and party crews confirmed across several stages, including The Drop, Lost Woods, Lake Stage, HE.SHE.THEY., Pagoda, Skulloon, Khapha, Noirganica, and Avant Garden.

Stage spotlight: HE.SHE.THEY

Across 5-years, HE.SHE.THEY. have taken over dancefloors everywhere from New York and London to Sydney and Paris, and become an authentic part of the queer community, at a much-needed time when many queer-owned spaces faced closure and long-established queer venues slowly vanished from the scene.

HE.SHE.THEY. are currently celebrating their 5th anniversary, with a global tour that has already seen stops in NY, LA, Miami and Barcelona. They have been involved with Secret Garden Party for years, but it wasn’t until last year that they took over an entire stage.

This year the HST stage will be in the newly named Circus Maximus area, which is bigger than ever and will play host to the best local and international talent, with the likes of BBC 6 Music’s Jamz Supernova, Chloe Robinson b2b DJ ADHD, Heidi, Anna Wall and Tygapaw sure to raise the temperature. Fresh from their recent collaborative work, SHERELLE and I. Jordan’s big room heaters look set to tear up the dancefloor, while another genre-bending artist on board is Absolute, the electric icon who’s built a reputation as a dynamic and fun selector. Faithless icon Sister Bliss will be joining the party for an epic Faithless DJ set, while rave legends Fabio & Grooverider will be bringing their immense back catalogues to the stage.

HST is a hugely important part of THE SGP family, and through their label/event, founders Steven and Sophia do amazing work around diversity and inclusion. And while the collective operates in a multitude of different spaces, the ethos of the brand is very much entrenched in inclusion across the board – whether that be race, sexuality, gender identity, size, age or more.

Secret Garden Party (Picture: Press)

Secret Garden Party 2023 will be one for the books

Forget what you may have heard about Secret Garden Party, in 2023 they return to no doubt and triumphantly reclaim their position as one of the best festivals in the UK. As with everything Secret Garden Party, it has to be seen to be believed and one article can only hope to scratch the surface of the myriad experiences on offer to attendees over the four-day party.

The last few remaining tickets are available here, we’ll see you there.