Secret Garden Party expects 26,000 festival-goers

Colourful festival-goers
Image caption The Secret Garden Party attracts thousands of festival-goers each year

Up to 26,000 people are expected to attend one of Cambridgeshire's largest music festivals, organisers say.

The Secret Garden Party takes place at the weekend in the grounds of a country house at Abbots Ripton near Huntingdon.

Numbers attending the festival have risen steadily over the years. In 2010, 17,000 people attended.

Parish council leader, John Leaver, said residents were in favour of the event which boosted the economy.

The festival has been taking place at Abbots Ripton Hall, the home of Lord de Ramsey, since 2004 when it opened with one stage and an estimated 1,000 visitors.

But Alex Leppingwell, one of the organisers, said this year up to 26,000 people were expected.

In 2005 and 2008 UK Festivals awarded the Secret Garden Party the Best Small Festival accolade for its eclectic mix of live music, art installations, theatre and family-friendly atmosphere.

'Friendly atmosphere'

Despite the rise in numbers attending the four-day event, Mr Lever said local reaction had always been "very, very favourable".

"We thoroughly enjoy it. Many of the villagers go to the festival each year, and we've had no complaints at all in the last few years.

"It's the two 'Ts' that benefit most from the festival - that's the local taxis and Tesco - the nearest supermarket to the site," he said.

He added that the festival was unlikely to grow to the size of Glastonbury or Latitude.

"It's getting more and more popular but there are physical restraints on the number of people you can actually fit into the site.

"That keeps it to a nice, friendly atmosphere and a little bit more select."

Headline acts at the Secret Garden Party 2011 include Leftfield, Blondie, I Am Kloot and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas.

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