The roots of the Garden Party can be traced to the 2006 pan-continental art-clash known as The Graffiti Project. Sao Paolo’s most notorious guerrilla street artists flew to Scotland and painted an ancient castle at the behest of the owners. For a month the country park in which Kelburn Castle is situated had a carnival atmosphere about it, aided by visiting pipe bands and Samba groups, and the spirit of cross-cultural appreciation flourished.
While Largs’ painted pile attracted international media attention, the private parties that followed became a local phenomenon, with bands, DJs and friends descending on the park for a weekend of good music and happy times. In 2008 the generous souls behind these get-togethers took the momentous leap of faith and decided to launch an annual full scale festival to celebrate and nurture the spirit of the Graffiti Project and the notorious parties that followed.
Time lapse video of The Graffiti Project
The Garden Party aims to fill a gap in the Scottish festival market by programming a weekend of music that brings together diverse strands of the local progressive music scene and joins them with hand-picked talent of an international calibre. Guests at the Garden Party in the past will know that we have no qualms about pitching alt. country bands alongside dubstep DJs, or cutting edge live electronica with Balkan/gypsy or folk acts. We want to see techno heads, dub warriors, folk connoisseurs, disco divas and jazz dancers all getting down under the tree-tops. We believe there is no other event that truly represents the wide and exciting young talent working in Scotland today.
The unique site of the Garden Party also sets it aside from more traditional festivals. Rather than focussing on a main stage and different sub stages, we aim to utilise many small parts of Kelburn Country by holding transient performances and pop-up gigs in unexpected places. This could be poetry by the waterfall, a late night jam session in the cosy cafe, cabaret in the Secret Forest (a surreal walk-though trail), or acoustic gigs under the trees in the formal garden. These side-shows are only advertised at the festival itself, and you need to be on your toes to catch them!
So through this philosophy we aim to attract a certain type of festival goer: responsible, musically aware, free-spirited, fun-loving individuals who are looking for a fresh and inspiring musical experience that focusses not on big names but rather celebrates creative spirit from closer to home. By booking such a wide range of underground and up-and-coming acts and working with independent media and production companies, The Garden Party is engendered with a heart and soul that other mainstream festivals can only dream of.