Because middle-class or not, Wilderness Festival isn’t just about the music. There’s a big focus on fancy dress at Wilderness Festival. The Main Stage: where the biggest acts perform – as big and spacious as you’d expect!
Over the course of the weekend you can attend wood carving, foraging and toxic masculinity workshops, lake swimming, arts and crafts, axe throwing, ecstatic dancing, life drawing, paddleboarding, stimulating talks from prominent authors, yoga and meditation, and an unbelievable amount of gourmet food.
My personal foodie recommendations include: – late night Marmite crumpets from ‘Strumpets with Crumpets’ (these were also the cheapest food I found at Wilderness – a steal at £2.50 for two!). Most of the music in Wilderness’s main arena shuts off at around 11pm – which means there’s a hefty queue to get into The Valley, a wooded ravine which hosts DJs and music late into the night. You’ll spot groups in the same outfits, people carrying inflatables bigger than themselves, and at least one hen party dressed up as superheroes.
Smashing out upbeat euro pop from their latest album Chronologic, they also blissed my soul with a journey back to <|°_°|>, playing the electro swing bests "Lone Digger", "Jolie Coquine" and "Rock It For Me" with a bit of "Black Betty" crowd interaction and a smattering of Lindy Hop dancing. Wilderness is held at the Cornbury Park estate in Oxford, south England. Acres of decadence, sprawled safely over the yawning magnificence of Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, combine to create a scintillating country fair reverie – a heady mix of good music, high end food, luxury outdoorsyness and companionable folk. FYI there’s also a strict site-wide ban on glass. We settled in at the Atrium for Triptych, A Wilderness cross-arts Commission of grime and classical music featuring Lady Lykez and Lioness alongside the grime violinist Tanya Cracknell who plays in front of a live orchestra in sweatpants, with a towny swag. Plus you’re far more likely to be worried about their judgement of how fine your wine is than whether or not they’ve nicked your camping cooker. The conversations she opens up are necessary and important and we should all be continuing them – something that Rose did for Letters Live, a spoken word event about the power of correspondence, as read by Minnie Driver, Olivia Coleman, Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmonson. There’s also someone from Neil’s Yard wandering the site, ready to spray your hands with citrus-scented sanitiser!
Friday morning saw us parked up at the Atrium in front of the Royal Albert Hall Jazz for Kids: New Orleans session. Rumour has it that Wilderness are positing themselves as a food-focused festival, and you can see why: the entire site is filled to the brim with over a hundred street food vendors. The lake is also the prime spot for water-based activities: you can go out in a rowboat, take a yoga class on paddleboards or chill out in the wood-fired hot tubs which sit on the edge of the lake’s waters. Wilderness Festival has plenty of exclusive activities which they call ‘Experiences’. Say goodbye to dodgy food and watered-down beer – at Wilderness, there are lavish Long Table Banquets rustled up by big-name foodies like Yotam Ottolenghi and Deliciously Ella; a champagne garden sponsored by Verve Cliquot with waiters dressed in Great Gatsby-inspired outfits; and ex-Prime Minister David Cameron has been spotted multiple years running. 6 cans and 1 bottle. A crowd of people at the Atrium stage at Wilderness Festival. Areas like The Studio and Mindful Space hold sessions of yoga, pilates, meditation, sound baths, essential oil workshops, dance classes and vocal practices dotted all over the festival site – and some sessions are so well hidden that you might accidentally come across them underneath the trees. It felt extravagant at the time but it’s paid off since: I’ve taken the poncho to other festivals and can even swan around my house feeling like I’m festival-worthy in London!
I wish there were more venues like this at other festivals. He swayed casually into a cover of Billy Joel’s "Piano Man" with everyone “la la la, di da da”-ing along, and waving their arms in the air. Learn how your comment data is processed. It was deeply endearing, and his last song “Another Love” was unashamedly rapturous. My first year I arrived at a meeting point close to the festival’s entrance and was led by the hand around the far end of the lake in an immersive theatre performance, which culminated in a woman standing mournfully in the lake for a very long time.
My already partially feral children then refused my suggestion of a gypsy music workshop at the Troubador tent, insisting instead on the kids' area where my favourite children's theatre company The Flying Seagull Project were back for a comedy club special, teaching the tiddlypeeps how to tell jokes in a New York accent, with conviction and attitude, then inviting them up on stage to have a go. House of Absolut saw contemporary dancers emerging from the crowd to perform movements of body popping and tai chi, with combative wooden sticks with Butoh-esque tranquillity. The Valley: a hidden ravine in the forest – the perfect place for late-night raves. The Carousel: self-explanatory, and my favourite stage out of every festival I’ve been to! Nearby to the Forum is the Books Tent, which comprises an entire bookshop (and elicited strong memories of the Hay on Wye book festival!). The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. I’m so grateful that you’ve been following along since then – I was so nervous before that talk, so it’s great to know I came across better than I felt I hope you enjoy Wilderness Festival this year! It’s held every year in the first week of August. You’ll get picked up from London Victoria Coach station from 10am on 1 August and return from 10am on 5 August. His immersive style of mixing up classical loops and pop beats as he sits with his back to the audience come alive in “Unfold” as a particular highlight, and although he claims he and his fellow musicians are “going to make you sad today” the sweeping harmonies of strings are beautifully chimeric as opposed to melancholic. I have a wonderful photo of you with the lake behind and an installation of huge wandering fish coming past during your talk. Next up was a total treat for fellow music nerds, considering this guy rarely plays live and when he does, it’s at such tiny venues they quickly sell out. Acres of decadence, sprawled safely over the yawning magnificence of Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, combine to create a scintillating country fair reverie – a heady mix of good music, high end food, luxury outdoorsyness and companionable folk. The stipulations are as follows: 12 cans of beer, lager, cider or pre-mixed drinks OR 2 bottles of wine (decanted into plastic bottles) per person OR a combination of the two i.e. There are three categories – wellbeing, outdoor and dining – and include everything from massages, yoga raves and sound baths to hat-making workshops, foraging for aromatic plants and Long Table Banquets. Manchester - Charlbury (3 hours 2 minutes), Liverpool - Charlbury (3 hours 6 minutes), Newcastle - Charlbury (4 hours 18 minutes), Edinburgh - Charlbury(5 hours 44 minutes).
Bombay Bicycle Club has honestly never been my thing so I’m not entirely sorry that we were accidentally sucked back into the Jump Yard and veritably unable to leave Daytoner, a super fun global funk soul singer and ska band playing Snoop Dogg sample originals. Voice of the moment Freya Ridings bought her haunting, resonant heartbreak sound to the early evening mainstage set, dedicating “You Mean The World To Me” to her mum, and telling the crowd she’s proud of us for making it all the way through to Sunday, which we all agree is no mean feat.
Certainly not ones that offered Mindful Music and Body Percussion workshops in Troubador tents, or Mime artists holding aerobics in front of big red buses. Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!
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