Secret Garden Party Review

The Lumsden Club finally let us in on their secrets at this year’s triumphant Secret Garden Party.

lumsden club review secret garden party

Last year, the Lumsden Club hosted their first iteration of the Secret Garden Party. Held at the Craigsanquhar Estate, the festival suffered from a lack of entertainment options, a rather drably decorated venue, and a poor sense of direction – the event felt unsure of itself, as though it had not quite decided what it wanted to be. This year’s Secret Garden Party rectified these issues on all accounts.

By the time we got to the Cambo Estate following a twenty minute bus ride from Madras College, guests were craning their necks in anticipation of a glimpse of the venue. We were not disappointed: Exclamations of admiration were abound as we made our way down a woodland path aglow with fairy lights. Glancing backwards once I reached its end, I saw that most guests hadn’t been able to resist such a perfect photo op. The path now resembled a red carpet, with pockets of people paused along it to pose for pictures in the soft evening light. Fortunately, the staggered bus system (first one leaving at 6:45, the last at 8:15) prevented a bottleneck from forming, allowing guests to enter at their own leisure.

After a quick stop at the photobooth, I began to explore the venue. The Lumsden girls had spent the entire day decorating, and their efforts showed. Treehouse-like tents had been erected throughout the winding grounds, each one containing a different treat for the guests. In one, picnic tables and complimentary crisps and a fully stocked bar. In another, thistly cross pong, which quickly became vodka pong, rum pong, and the classic beer pong as guests purchased their own drinks to fill the plastic cups. Garden party games such as limbo could also be found, providing ample opportunity for guests to amuse themselves in between bites of bratwurst or assembling their (£2) flower crowns.

As those of you who attended the biannual rugby match in Edinburgh know, a significant portion of the St Andrews student body sought to sell their tickets in the days, or even hours, leading up to the Secret Garden Party. This sudden exodus led to a miracle: throughout the entire four hour evening, I did not queue once, be it for the bar, the food, or the toilets. The cozy venue felt utterly uncrowded. While the garden party aspect of SGP certainly benefited from this, the music festival vibe did not. Even as late as 10:30, the dance floor felt less like Coachella and more like a concert two hours before the opening act is set to go on. The live bands and the DJs easily matched the pace of the small crowd’s energy, however, and not once did we feel as though we were dancing in an empty room.

Held in support of Fife Women’s Aid and The Dolam House in Namibia, SGP accomplished its aim of uniting day and night with a combination of alcohol, crisps, and music. The Lumsden Club’s excellent choice of venue appeared both busy and exclusive, an intimate yet mainstream event. Between reasonably-priced booze and some wonderful live bands, I would consider the evening a well-executed success. The girls have proven that they are willing to learn from their past mistakes and allow their parties to evolve into far better events than in previous years. With this in mind, I look forward to next year’s SGP.