Macarthur music festival full of magic

Once a year for the past decade the Downes family farm at Brownlow Hill has transformed into a music festival known as Secret Garden.

Tucked away on forest-like farm land, the 48-hour music festival is popular amoungst locals and visitors alike.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event this year’s theme was ‘Year 10 formal’, complete with a mock gymnasium, tuck shop and more.

Friday night’s entertainment included hip hop and rock performer Ecca Vandal, indie rock duo Holy Holy, indie punk band WAAX and Bris 182, the 11-piece Blink 182 cover band.

A festival spokeswoman said the event was “a glitter-drenched 48-hour forest disco with an all-in dress up mindset”.

“Secret Garden is the festival made for patrons that promises the more you put in, the more you get out,” she said.

“Hidden throughout the foliage, ‘Gardeners’ stumble upon stages and instillations of the unexpected including a Reading Corner, Spooky Karaoke and a performance space offering live interactive theatre art and burlesque.”

Plenty of locals made their way to the event which attracted more than 3000 visitors.

Currans Hill resident Stephanie Iles said she enjoyed having a music festival so close to home.

“Everyone is so free and open to dress up, everyone is really chill and it’s just a really fun environment,” she said.

“Why not have a festival here? It’s a lot of open land and it’s so good that the Downes family allow all of us to come.

“It’s great that people on this side of Sydney have a festival to go so we don’t have to go into the city all the time.”

She encouraged other locals to visit the festival.

“You just need to come – at least once,” she said.

“I don’t really know any of the bands playing here but it’s so good to just listen and chill.

“Everyone’s having a good time and you can camp here as well.”

Fellow locals Montahna Forbes-Cowen and Lachlan Day said they liked that the festival supported local charities including Malpa, Camp Out, the NSW Rural Fire Service, Boys and Girls Brigade and more.

“It’s for a good cause and it’s just really amazing,” Mr Day said.

This was the first time the Narellan residents had attended the music extravaganza.

“We thought we just had to go this year,” he said.

“The camping is great – it’s loud and a little rowdy but what can you expect?”

Camden Local Area Command police officers were stationed at the festival throughout the weekend.

A total of 192 people and 55 vehicles were searched.

Twenty-six people were issued court infringement notices for drug offences, while 17 patrons were treated for the effects of drug use including two overdoses.

Highway patrol officers also conducted 56 random drug testsof drivers leaving the event, with 12 returning a positive result.

This included ten who tested positive to methamphetamine and two for cannabis.

Inspector Paul Fryer said police were concerned that despite many warnings during previous years, people continued to bring illegal drugs into the event.

“It’s extremely disappointing that many festival-goers are ignoring our warnings and they think it is okay to risk their lives, and the lives of others, by bringing illegal drugs to the festival,” he said.

“We had a strong police presence there and the results show that if people intend on bringing drugs in, they will be caught, charged and put before the courts.”