Top five discoveries we made at Secret Garden 2017

The post Secret Garden Festival depression has well and truly kicked in, after what can only be described as 48 hours of pure magic. Lush greenery, vibrant colour, and rich textures were at the cornerstone of this year’s festival. A short drive south-west of Sydney, Brownlow Hill is transformed into an intimate wonderland. Despite some fairly obvious factors (like an entire stage dedicated to ‘Camp Queen’ drag queens) there’s a something special about Secret Garden that you can’t quite put your finger on. It probably has something to do with the enormous troop of volunteers or ‘Secret Family’ that work together each year, and take art and craft to a whole other level. From hidden rave cubes, to dial a joke booths, and marshmallow meadows, every detail that went into Secret Garden Festival made the journey of discovery that bit more exciting as it unfolded. We had a fab time at the festival, and we’ve come back with a few lessons learned from our time in the forest.

Girls to the front – literally

Okay, so this probably isn’t new information, but WOMEN SHOULD CURATE MORE FESTIVAL STAGES!! One of the absolute standouts of the festival was the fruity, Australiana themed stage, Carmen Verandah. Curated by MATKA and AMRITA, it boasted a tasty “Femme Movement” focussed lineup, and was absolutely cranking from start to finish. Artists like FLEXMAMI, BABY MAMA, KIMCHI PRINCI x SLIM SETHABITS DJsMIMI, ARIANE and SEZZO SNOT transformed the D-Floor into a heaving RnB and hip-hop haven with their fierce anthems and expertly crafted sets.

Size doesn’t matter…when it comes to festivals.

Secret Garden Festival may be small, but the intimacy of the festival really worked to its advantage. Despite having six stages, there was a strong focus on keeping things intimate. An added bonus was that it didn’t take a zillion years to walk from stage to stage, so plenty of time for random adventures between sets.

Festivals are better with queens!

Easily one of the most outrageous and fun stages at the festival was the Camp Queen stage. Laid out like the set of a run down motel, and dressed with glittering pink tinsel, Camp Queen was far from washed up. Arguably some of the best sets of the festival (e.g. SET MO’s classic house set and STEREOGAMOUS) were elevated greatly by the fierceness of the queens that were dominating the stage. Aside from the incredible aesthetic, the Camp Queen stage definitely added to the feeling of inclusivity overall.

You’re never too old to play dress up.

As far as festival get ups go, Secret Garden festival goers take costumes to a whole new level. Some put weeks or even months into elaborate outfits. There were rave wizards, human disco balls, neon tinsel tassel jackets, glowing outfits, light up cloud costumes and colourful wigs a plenty. Both days offered up fresh looks, and the theme ‘Royal Rave’ was taken to the extreme.

Love is the answer

Secret Garden Festival is a total love fest, and it may just hold the secret to marital bliss. While last year’s wedding was more symbolic than literal, this year an ACTUAL WEDDING went down, mid festival, and we want to know where to sign up! What a totally unique and incredible setting?

If you haven’t yet experienced the magic of Secret Garden Festival yet, we recommend you get on board in 2018!

Image: James Simpson for Stoney Roads.

Words by ROSIE RAE

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About:

You may have caught some of my awkward banter on air at FBi or Bondi Beach Radio radio; however I work work behind the scenes mostly, developing content and formatting programs. Equally passionate about social issues, the arts and raving on weekends. Rose and repartee are my forte.