I should probably point out that I accidentally missed all the live acts at this fabulously formal summer blowout, so this will be a review of the event as a whole. To summarise though, as far as I know, there wasn’t a covert performance from a house heavyweight this time around (remember Ben Pearce last year? I don’t), whilst the line-up on the live stage featured several familiar faces from the Exeter circuit. Indeed, by the time I arrived at the live stage, slightly drunk at about 11pm and having spent a good 15 minutes lost in the maze of port-a-loos and outdoor urinals, the last band were finishing their set – I guess we’ll have to talk about something else.
We could start with the tents. Returning due to popular demand was Oopah Brass in the vast Bavarian beer tent, complete with some slightly questionable paedophile jokes early on in their lengthy set. Fortunately, scandal was kept to a minimum, and they delivered an entertaining performance akin to last year. It’s likely they’ll return in the future, and if so they’re well worth seeing, if only to gain the truly unique experience of swaying on a table-top whilst a tuba plays Jackson 5’s I Want You Back.
The dance tents were more generic affairs. The Silent Disco was a nice touch, unfortunately marred by Somme-like conditions (it rained heavily). Still, it is quite amusing watching everyone bellow along to N****s In Paris whilst you’re listening to the Deep House channel. Meanwhile, my experience of the larger tent was mixed; I was confused earlier on in the night by the dancers on stage who just stood there uncomfortably for a bit, before returning to their positions behind the DJ booth. However, by the close of the night, I was in a state of veritable ecstasy. Three Lions was on, and I was certain England were going to win the World Cup. I left the dance tent on a high, which was completely demolished when I discovered England had drawn to Honduras a few hours earlier.
The much maligned queue for coaches passed me by in a blur. The incredible monotony of shuffling forward, stopping, being told to stand back by the bouncers, is not the stuff of fond memories. This repetition was sound-tracked by my housemate ironically singing Oh What A Night by the Four Seasons. Whilst the administration of post-night travel was poor, this shouldn’t define what was overall a decent occasion. Overall, I have few complaints over the Garden Ball as a whole, and I’m certain it will roll on in a similar format in 2015.