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Secret Garden Party to be a ‘force for good’

Secret Garden Party (SGP), a pioneer of what became known as ‘boutique’ festivals, is now set to evolve into a social enterprise-based music festival.

SGP, inspired by an emerging trend towards a more socially committed business model, has decided to go further, and commit 65 per cent of profits to being a force for good.

Basement Orchestra. Picture: Andrew Whitton
Basement Orchestra. Picture: Andrew Whitton

The mission of this form of business for SGP is to help in the “rehabilitation of at-risk and disenfranchised individuals via the arts”. In accordance with the rules of being a social enterprise, at least 65 per cent of profit will go to frontline organisations in these sectors.

The charities will be chosen by the artists playing and the people coming, and the remainder will go toward in-house partnerships and apprenticeship schemes, such as Bridges For Music.

Launched back in 2004, the festival is back this year after relaunching in 2021 after a five-year hiatus. Founder and ‘head gardener’ Freddie Fellowes feels social enterprise is the logical way forward for him now.

He said: “SGP has always been founded on a principle of inclusivity. This is a word that’s meaning has evolved and grown up along with us. As a result, we deeply understand how much work and effort is involved in ensuring that a party is truly inclusive.

“Recently, much has been noted regarding how inclusive the music industry is (or isn’t) and this set us thinking about how much more we could go with our core principles of being progressive, inclusive, and relevant.

“Rich kids being able to do art for a living may be a reflection of their privilege, but it seems to me like a reflection of the fact that a human that doesn’t have to worry about money will often choose art. Everyone is an artist until rent is due. I wish we all had that right….

“Our theme for 2023 ‘a new hope’ is not just some pithy reference to our pledge to have better loos this year. It is a real Declaration of Independence as we are ensuring that Secret Garden Party (Version 2.0) is a force for good by officially becoming a social enterprise.”

[Read more: Dance duo The Correspondents to play Secret Dance Party in Huntingdon, US ‘outsider’ Annie Dressner to play adopted hometown of Cambridge]

Secret Garden Party. Picture: Andrew Whitton
Secret Garden Party. Picture: Andrew Whitton

Secret Garden Party. Picture: Andrew Whitton
Secret Garden Party. Picture: Andrew Whitton

The lineup for this year’s festival, which takes place near Huntingdon from July 20-23, includes Underworld, The Libertines and Leftfield. For more information, visit secretgardenparty.com.

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