Mud was the order of the day at Secret Garden Party

IF you weren’t covered in mud then you didn’t have fun at this year’s Secret Garden Party.

The unseasonably hard rain created a mudbath at Lord de Ramsey’s Abbots Ripton Hall estate in time for Thursday’s opening of the 10th four-day festival, which is organised by his son Freddie Fellowes.

By the time the summer sun arrived on Saturday, the grass had already been churned up and the 32,000 people on site – the largest crowd in the event’s history – found themselves wading through mud up to six inches deep.

That didn’t stop the guests, many wearing fancy dress, from enjoying the headline acts – Orbital, KT Tunstall, Tim Minchin and Utah Saints – as well as the hundreds more who entertained on 19 stages.

But while the mud was a problem to be endured – and enjoyed if you like getting dirty – the SGP did once again suffer from some petty crime – thieves stealing from people’s tents while the occupants slept.

In total there were 40 offences recorded by police, compared to 38 last year. Officers also arrested 12 people for drugs offences, two for affray, two for assault, two for theft (who were dealt with by restorative justice) and one for drink driving.

One festival-goer was wanted by another force and another was on prison recall.

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Away from the music, there was the weird and the wonderful with tents for poetry and speeches, the chance to experience your own funeral, speed dating in the woods and many chose to clean up and cool off in the lake.

Even further away from the music, it seems the SGP was a good neighbour.

For the second year running there were no noise complaints from nearby Abbots Ripton.

Geoff Richardson, chairman of the parish council, said: “I think it has passed pretty well. Organisers had more security in the village, preventing cars from parking where they shouldn’t, and there were no sound complaints either. There was just this one hiccup in moving traffic onto the site because of the rain and the difficulties of getting people parked, so the roads were quite bad.”

Michael Toates, chairman of King’s Ripton Parish Council, agreed: “I haven’t heard of any problems yet. Although the roads were pretty bad late on Thursday afternoon, and there were times I couldn’t get out onto the road, that was all.”

However, over at Monks Wood – three miles from the site – David Tester complained the noise left him and his wife with sleepless nights.