It starts as an adventure. For most, it’s a car packed with camping supplies stuffed in between friends. You drive down a dirt road that you’re not sure will ever end when all of a sudden it appears: The Secret Garden.
The Secret Garden festival is a homely 48-hour camping festival. The festival is held on Downes Family Farm. It’s a festival of music, food, art and weirdness. People are encouraged to dress up, be themselves and be positive. The festival gives part of their earnings to Oxfam, Girls and Boys Brigade, Sarah Hilt foundation and Cobbity Public School.
The theme for the festival on the Friday was ‘Royal Rave’ and Saturday was a ‘Free for all”. People took their creativity to the next level; coming dressed as various types of festival deities and music royalty, such as Elvis and Prince. Honourable mentions the Donut King and Queen, and the Royal Gala Apples.
Within the festival there are plenty of nooks and crannies to find new friends providing new adventures. The main stage, “The Royal Court’ is an expansive green lined with a range of food trucks from the pasta bar, to bao buns and tacos. Deeper in to the festival you’ll find parallel universes like Dave’s House Party, and Carmen’s Veranda, a colourful dance fest.
Away from the festival the village of tents are being set up in their own little communes, tightly packed. This is where the heart of the festival really is.
Jackson, from Marrickville is a returning patron who was ready for two days of positivity. “The festival is just really great because everybody dresses up, everybody has something to talk to each other about.”
Monique, who was wearing a golden laurel crown explained, “The festival is a lot more social than other festivals I have been to in the past. It really seems to be about just being together, with your friends, and with other people who want to have a good time.”
The festival is not filled with strangers, but rather friends that you haven’t met yet. The spectacle of the festival is really the people attending. They are the people who are letting their weird out in a communal sigh of relief. The staging, art, the farm and music are really just the backdrop for this secret festival of community.