“You Would Have To Be Half Mad To Dream Me Up.”

Words and Photographs by Jacob Perlmutter

1. bubbles

It’s the promise of mystery, the predictable unpredictability, the certainty of uncertainty that draws people back to music festivals each summer. And although this was my Secret Garden Party initiation, I felt sure that I knew exactly what kind of unexpectedness lay ahead.

2. dancing

3. man with beer

4. paint fight

From the get-go magical fields swept me off my feet into a profusion of curious habitats and whirling worlds. Exploring the vast yet oh-so-intimate site I zoned into the attitudes, sounds and decor of each celestial space, from the woodland Badger Field to the all-seeing Psychedelic Lighthouse, flapping majestically in the wind. There really is something for everyone here. And if you have the mental capacity, you can become just about anyone during different periods of the festival, finding different part-selves in each territory. Indeed, if you qualify as a human being rather than a human doing, this lair is for you.

5. max

6. mud wrestling

To momentarily curb the unbridled praise: the line-up was not quite up to scratch this time out, with the exception of a few left-field revelations from Bombay Royale, The Correspondents and a  wind-down performance from London Grammar, set in the mouth of the enchanted Where The Wild Things Are stage. But this place is not about the music. It’s about coming together, dancing, eating and flying; it’s about magic and self-discovery, exercising the mind and being open to whatever comes your way; for this garden party is secret, so whatever happens here, stays here.

7. dec and cat

8. merrygoround