Last updated: 12th Jan 2015.
Originally published: 17th Jul 2014
Image: Here & Now
Regardless of where you embark on your quest for unforgettable summer memories, the chances are, you’ll clamber aboard a boat-turned-club. They’re a crucial part of any raver’s holiday, parties on dry land sometimes just won’t cut it when you’re baking in 30°C heat and sailor hats are on sale in pretty much every shop.
The main issue lies with the risk of them all seeming a bit samey. After all, there’s only so much you can do with an open deck with no walls and no ceiling. So, how would The Garden Festival’s boat parties on the Adriatic Sea live up?
The Garden Festival’s boats are classic and charming, unlike other boats used for parties, they look original and authentic. Rather than appearing like partying is their purpose, Argonaughty, and its sister boat Arbiana have all the salient features you would expect from some of the most stylish boats. With only necessities such as sound, decks and of course, booze being added, the boats manage to preserve their underivative characteristics.
There’s something about boat parties, and the anticipation of them, that turn you into your nine year-old self, it’s most likely the sheer excitement of floating around on the waves, in an environment impossible to find back in England (check out the 2014 video below to see what I mean).
The eagerness to get on the boat can be spotted subtly with each person in the queue, the rhythmic foot tapping, the frequent checking of time. It’s the adult version of the frustration-driven strops thrown as you desperately plead your dad to pull you around on a dingy. Yet this time round there’s less rubber chafing and more alcohol.
Argonaughty is the bigger out of the two boats. I was fortunate enough to bag tickets for one of the most popular parties on this boat, Crazy P. After making our way down the rickety boardwalk, crowds positioned themselves on deck, flamboyantly decorated with glitter across their faces, insanely patterned shirts and the occasional Indian headdress. As we set sail, the crowd mingled and prepared themselves for four hours of disco and funk.
Crazy P’s glamorous lead vocalist Danielle Moor purred words of wisdom down the microphone, assuring us that love and having a good time is what this is all about. It left a warm glowing feeling with everyone on board, it was a gentle reminder of how fortunate we all were to be in such a spectacular country, with wonderful people.
As the sun set behind the hills, the tempo picked up and Crazy P worked their magic, churning out tune after tune, revellers smiled and giggled, two-stepping and spinning around on deck without a care in the world. A particular highlight came when they played the LNTG Muscle Mix of Late Night Tuff Guy - Do I Believe In God (have a listen to it above). Arriving back on shore around 10pm, everyone departed the boat with a spring in their step, ready to take on the night ahead with high spirits.
Later on in the week I set sail on Arbiana. The boat looks smaller from afar in comparison to Argonaughty , but the spacious, open plan upper deck results in plenty of room for attendees to dance around. The nautical adventure began at 3pm with KiNK set to play a DJ set. He’s an incredibly engaging and charismatic artist. He holds complete eye contact with the crowd and he takes the time to read them, he tests the water to see what works and then pushes forward with full power and receives howls of approval when a track hits the right spot.
The boat party seemed slightly empty at times on the top deck, which could normally pose an issue, but the crowd were so enthusiastic and up for it that they created more of an atmosphere than that which you’d find on most over-sold boat parties.
My hangover from the night before created some minor complications for me, and I found myself lagging after about three hours. It’s definitely a long stint on a boat but if you pace yourself, it’s just the right amount of time.
The Garden Festival 2015 will be their last ever year, so if you’re going, make sure you grab your tickets for the boat party in good time, they’re not to be missed!
Check out The Garden Festival 2015 line up here.