Whether it was the mystery in the title, or the fact that this was my first society event in St Andrews this year, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the Lumsden Club’s Secret Garden Party.The event, largely shrouded in mystery, had me intrigued – a replacement for the established Pimm’s party, the event surely had to be ground-breaking.
The logistics were well planned out – buses rented to commute the party goers from St Andrews to the picturesque Craigsanquhar Hotel and Country Estate. After the ‘long’ bus ride through the sprawling and endless countryside, we were welcomed to the event with cups of Bulmer ’s cider (the red mixed fruit flavour was definitely the more popular of the two on offer), a token of the journey we braved.
The Belles formed a semi-circle near the entrance to the main building, producing an array of tunes, casually outfitted in wellies and summer dresses. I was torn between embracing the so called ‘music festival look’ worn by the likes of those at Glastonbury or Coachella, and the classical ‘garden party look’, which entailed a summery dress bidding adieu to the summer long departed .
Upon arriving, there was an eclectic mix of polka dots, florals and the stereotypical St Andrean look of Hunters and Barbour jackets. Gents were outfitted in shirts and jackets, contributing to the atmosphere of a society garden party.
The vibe throughout the party was festive and very chilled – seats were made of hay and everyone donned flower crowns, myself included.
Best of all was the fact that all proceeds went to charity, in this case to Parkinson’s UK’s Fife branch and Malawi Underprivileged Mothers (MUM), the Lumsden Club’s chosen organisations.
One of my favourite things during the Secret Garden Party was the array of free food and drinks on offer to partygoers. If Janetta’s on a Saturday evening with the sound of the various musical acts going on isn’t enough to make your weekend, I don’t know what is.
As if ice cream wasn’t temptation enough to come out on a Saturday afternoon, yet more food awaited the attendees. The Piper ’s crisps were delicious, and the juice provided by the Berry Company was everywhere – in the fountain and on the windowsills, just waiting to be consumed.
Venturing around the gardens of Craigsanquhar, from the tent where there was music and dancing, to the badminton area where a photo booth and face painting had been set up, I noted the delicate balance that had been struck between music festival and garden party. Whether it was the concept of a garden party that tempted you or that of a music festival, £25 for a bit of both was definitely not too much to ask for.
I discovered a great new band, The Carnabys, whose discography I will definitely listen to as they made not only my evening but that of many of my fellow partygoers as well.
Soaking up the last slivers of sunshine while revellers enjoyed the last of the music, donning flower crowns and masks, the Lumsden Club’s Secret Garden Party was most definitely the place to be last Saturday, and a great start to my year of society events at St Andrews.