Live Music Reviews

Secret Garden Party 2009: Day 3 @ Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon

25 July 2009

Secret Garden Party 2009: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Secret Garden’s last day was overcast, but the grass around the main stage was dotted with people too shattered from Saturday’s antics to contemplate moving a muscle, even when the drizzle started.

Young folk singer-songwriter Emma-Lee Moss, aka Emmy the Great, starred with her famed Indie-folk out across the lake at the scorched foundations of the Tower Of Babel. While her moniker is a brave stage name, her pleasing voice (angelic compared to Soko’s warblings on Saturday afternoon) drew a large crowd – an amazing feat considering miserable weather.
Hexstatic was a welcome late addition to the Sunday afternoon line-up. Robin Brunson (minus partner in crime Stuart Warren Hill) thoroughly entertained with a mix of drum and bass and hip hop, ending his set with crowd pleasing remixes of Daft Punk‘s Around The World and The Prodigy‘s Smack My Bitch Up. The sweating, smiling crowd clearly revelled in the fact they were dancing so hard on a Sunday, and also sheltering from the drizzle.

Beckoned inside the Valley Of The Antics stage by a gangly, long-armed MC called Elian, an unsuspecting crowd were introduced to live band the Gentle Mystics, who played an insanely eclectic mix of dub, folk, hip hop and gypsy circus music (‘gyp-hop’). Punters who stumbled upon this gem of a band should count themselves lucky. Not so lucky were those who went to catch erstwhile Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green at the sodden Main Stage. While it was heartening to see one of the best guitarists of his generation in such an intimate festival, Green’s well-documented problems with mental illness have left him non-communicative and it was difficult to engage with his set, even with a performance of Mac’s Albatross thrown in.

Grammy Award-nominated duo Zero 7 packed out the disappointingly small Where the Wild Things Are tent. It was so overcrowded that people had to leave, finding it impossible to listen to their relaxing chill out vibes while squeezed in like sardines. Those who left might have found solace in RnB legend Geno Washington on the main stage; his whose joyous set, played to a disappointingly small crowd, included hits Knock On Wood and Give It Up Or Turn It Loose.

Following a call of trumpets many retreated into the tiny Come & Play tent, fittingly decorated with glittering fabric and colourful stars. Luckily Los Albertos, another stomp-inducing band from Brighton, were only just starting their set. These self-professed “fun lovin’ skaminals” are the perfect festival band, singing songs about wreck-heads in fields – with lyrics such as “My socks have run off and I’ve lost my brain.” Los Albertos proved impossible not to dance to, despite the inevitable Sunday evening leg ache that creeps up on every festival-goer. The chorus to the band’s last song suggested “On Monday morning let’s all call in sick” as the crowd piled out of the tent into the chilly night.

That was the last of the music and revellers wandered around desperately searching for amplified sounds. Having no luck, a small crowd found themselves in what has to be the most impressive tree house ever built – especially as someone had taken the time to cart a piano up there. High up in the trees an intoxicated pianist, saxophonist and accordionist offered to entertain us in return for alcohol and cigarettes. Everyone lay back in the leafy den, contemplating how there could be no better way to end this magical weekend.

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