This garden party proved fun for allLydia Bunt

From the sticks of rock handed out to eager queuers before speedy entry when doors opened at four, to the strings of shells dangled from leafy branches, attention to detail made this garden party a sand-filled success.

The gardens of Murray Edwards were successfully transformed into something between the ‘lively tropics’ and the ‘sandy beach of Blackpool’ that the committee took as inspiration. Decorative highlights were the artificial beach and coloured lanterns suspended between trees, which blended well with the greenery and made the theme cohesive. Efforts at decoration mingled the showy with the subtle and contributed to the fun yet relaxed atmosphere of the party. While friends who had attended last year’s event suggested that the decorations this time round were not quite as impressive, I enjoyed them as a first-time attendee.

Medwards took a beach party aesthetic as inspirationLydia Bunt

Equally, the entertainment on offer did not fail to impress. Seaside games like a coconut shy, hook-a-duck and the ‘test your strength’ hammer were paired with a surf simulator and volleyball court, which many were queuing to enjoy. The glitter tent was also a must-visit, and shisha under canopies provided a welcome respite from enthusiastic dancing amongst the throng at the main stage. Aside from smaller acts on the Beach Hut stage, Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble put on a typically feel-good and well-received performance. Sam Parker’s saxophone-playing mingled with contemporary beats also went down a storm at sea and provided an exciting, bubble-filled climax to the haze of a beach afternoon. The garden party slid effortlessly between the moods of sandy chill and beach party, meaning there was plenty of variety and something for every guest to enjoy.

Needless to say, there were also plenty of culinary treats on offer, with fish and chips, candy floss and Mr Whippy ice cream tending towards the seaside theme among the well-loved classics of sweet potato fries, burgers and mac ‘n’ cheese. While some food stalls seemed to run out or close fairly early in the evening, the bar was free-flowing with a variety of bottles and beachy cocktails right up until the end of the event, meaning guests could enjoy the building beats and with VK or ‘safe Sex on the Beach’ in hand.

"Efforts at decoration mingled the showy with the subtle"Lydia Bunt

The committee used the beautiful natural setting of the gardens to its advantage, making the garden party perhaps not the only, but certainly one of the best garden-located ‘shellebrations’ of the end of exams. It certainly kicked off my May Week in coastal style.