This was the first Electric Gardens weekend, an event with camping taking place in the grounds of an ancient house in the Kent countryside.

Mount Ephraim is a family owned stately home steeped in over three hundred years of history. The house and landscaped gardens are set amongst eight hundred acres of orchard, fields and woodland, providing more than enough space for a festival with around 10,000 visitors each day.

With the Festival phenomenon at an all time high in the UK, there have been more brand new events appearing this year than ever before. With the big boys like Reading, T in the Park and V all selling out in record time, there is a demand for new and different weekends bringing fresh ideas to the festival circuit. Those of us that are lucky enough to travel to many large and small are in a perfect position to judge how the debutants compare to the old timers, and at the risk of sounding like one of those inspectors who would turn up at school, there are certain important points on which a festival will live or die.

What is the site like?
Is the line-up worth the entrance fee?
How does the food and other facilities compare?
Is the atmosphere one to remember?
Is it easy to find/get to?
All important questions that need to be considered before claiming an event is either a success, failure or somewhere in between. So how did the Electric Gardens fair for it's first time?

In fact most of those questions can be disregarded as mere bonuses if a festival has a kick ass line-up. We all know that although the rain can be a bit of a drag, if you're watching a great band play out of their skin, wet or otherwise, then it doesn't really matter. For the record Electric Gardens was lucky on this front.

I can't imagine this was the easiest event to get to by public transport, in fact the positioning of some of the signs on the motorway being behind trees meant it was easy to get confused if you decided to drive. Strangely the people in the co-op we tried for directions having gone totally the wrong way didn't seem to have a clue the event was even on, but then they were quite old and were probably a little out of touch. That said the pasties they sold us were quite nice. Our magical mystery tour round Kent complete, we arrived with about twenty minutes to spare before the music started.

The site was perfect for a small festival, and with the three stages all close by each other, there was no chance of getting lost or confused and missing the start of a band you wanted to see. The Main Stage was situated at the bottom of a hill which was a nice location in the sunshine, it may have been a challenge in the poring rain however. This meant those who wanted to keep away from the front could still get a good view, that said the sound didn't travel especially well up the slope. The sound quality in the two smaller tents however were perfectly fine, and Mohair for one successfully tried to blow the walls out of the MySpace Stage.

For any event trying to make it's mark, it's crucial to have headliners with grab factor. Electric Gardens was split into dance on Saturday, and rock on Sunday. In Audio Bullies they landed one of the best live acts around for dance music, DJ's like Armand Van Heldon and Layo and Bushwacka were also great crowd pullers. We at Room Thirteen were more interested in what Sunday had to offer, for individual reviews
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The organizers can be rightly proud of themselves for landing a band with such history and quality as the Charlatans to top Sunday. Brakes were one of the smaller stage headliners and are always a great band to watch.

The Main Stage featured Morning Runner one down from the top, a band who seem to get better each time I see them. When the first acts were announced, The Automatic were still making a name for themselves, Electric Gardens bosses must have watched with an ever growing smile on their faces as 'Monster' became the indie hit of the summer.

Further down the line-up, and across the other two stages, most of the band's playing were either emerging acts or those who the press have got very excited about over the last few months. Young Knives, Fratellis, Larrikin Love, Absentee, Boy Least Likely To and Archie Bronson Outfit all fall into both categories.

Sunday's list of performers had the look of the Carling Stage or the lower end of the Radio 1 Stage at Reading and Leeds. Electric Gardens was an opportunity for many to get their first taste of Main Stage action, or evening time slots on the other stages, and gave punters the chance to see many of alternative music's new talent before they graduate to bigger things.

Fantastic though this is, it did mean for many bands, certainly early on in the day, the atmosphere was a bit flat, as people observed rather than participated. The lack of bands with crowd pleasing anthems was also noticeable, many only had a handful of singles to their names. The Main Stage was properly woken up by Fratellis and didn't look back after that.

Given the cheap ticket price of around 25 per day, and that for people living in the area they have to travel to London to see most of their gigs, this was certainly value for money as long as you were interested in checking out bands you weren't too familiar with before the likes of Automatic, Morning Runner and Charlatans took to the stage.

When the festival was announced, one of it's selling points was that there would be 'premium quality food and drink, courtesy of local caterers CBH'. The food itself was of a high standard, just not the sort of choice you might expect from your average music festival. Not being vegetarian I didn't check if they had non beef options for burgers, but I did notice they ran out of the only clearly advertised veggie meal half way through Sunday afternoon which could have been a problem for some. It was nice not to be confronted with Carling or Carling for a beer option though.

So will Electric Gardens become a regular event for years to come? The area certainly demands it and the relaxed friendly atmosphere means it's an enjoyable day or weekend. Sure it wasn't perfect but no festival is for a first time, but as long as they can attract the crowd pulling acts any festival needs to sell tickets, then everything else will fall into place.