Take every image that you associate with a music festival of old, throw it out and start afresh. Wilderness is the multi-award winning 4-day festival combining live music, contemporary arts and an array of theatre, craftsmanship and dining experiences.
Set in the beautiful forests and ancient parkland of Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Estate, this is a festival for grown-ups preferring to expand their minds intellectually to getting mashed up. Think lavish banquets from Michelin-starred chefs, literary debates, sunrise yoga sessions and surprisingly clean loos. Back again this August with an eclectic line-up, here are my highlights from last year.
Taking a relaxing wild swim in a tranquil sunlit lake, among aquatic plants and dragonflies was pretty fabulous after a night of hedonistic dancing
Talks & Debates
There are plenty of opportunities to expand your mind. Wilderness gives equal billing to the arts, showcasing theatre from the Royal Shakespeare Company and talks from the School of Life, Antony Gormley and George Monbiot
I don’t typically wake up at half past seven at a weekend festival but I was tempted this time by the classes on offer with Lululemon. It was wonderful to stretch out after sleeping in a cramped tent
Late night revelry
With many of the daytime festivities being very family-friendly, the night-time antics were rather more risqué with many flocking to the Pandemonium valley, essentially a big rave in the forest. The beautiful landscape was complimented perfectly by stunning lighting, with huge orbs hanging over the crowds, who went wild in an explosion of sequins, spandex, feathers and masks.
Overall, Wilderness was a unique and refreshing alternative to the usual festival scene. Despite a few good performances the bands didn’t really fire me up though and seemed to be background music for everything else on offer. I also wished that I planned a bit further ahead as some of the workshops and spa treatments were sold out on arrival. This year, however I will mostly be returning to see the avant-garde queen of electronic pop, Bjork headlining. I wonder what she will be wearing!
Set at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, Wilderness Festival will take place this summer from 6-9 August.