In Review: Wilderness Festival
Tucked away in the West Oxfordshire countryside, beyond Cotswold stone villages and rolling pastures, lies Cornbury Park, the beautiful back drop to Wilderness, a festival celebrating music, art, feasting and the great outdoors.
The sweeping fields and sleepy valleys come alive for this most beautiful, sequinned filled weekend in the height of summer. Wilderness is an experience like no other festival in the UK. It takes it’s inspiration from the natural beauty it is set within, and uses this to creatively produce a programme that inspires you to discover and explore all weekend.
The campsite is set beside an avenue of huge oak trees that march down towards three lakes that cascade into each other, and ripple and glisten in the summer sun, lined with water lilies and irises. It makes the most beautiful spot for some wild swimming, pootling about in a rowing boat, or even paddle board yoga, which was part of a host of well-being events lined up across the weekend.
Up through the woods on the other side of the lake, the festival opens up into a carnival of vibrant colour and shimmering sparkles.
Festival bars sit alongside pop up restaurants by chefs such as Angela Hartnett, and vintage stalls lead to hidden stages and forums for engaging talks and discussions on how to make the world a better place.
The main Wilderness stage, sits on a large meadow that sweeps down from the main house, bedecked with bunting and glitter. The music line up at Wilderness is always curated to offer you something very different from other UK festivals, with a emphasis on emerging talent and diverse, captivating headliners, who this year included Justice, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers and Bastille. Justice stole the show for me, with their epic set, fizzing with electro dance euphoria.
Jon Hopkins also enthralled audiences on Saturday evening with a powerful set and stunning visuals, and Mahalia entranced the audience with her soulful lyrics and melodies in the afternoon sun.
However, alongside the music, arts, food and great outdoors, the best part of Wilderness for me, is the amount of indie traders, street food and designer makers that come together to bring their unique creations and offer festival goers something quirky, unforgettable and rare.
The Secret Emporium was filled in amazingly talented designer makers from across the UK, including Rosa Pietsch, who is stocked in the Shop at the Old Fire Station, and Miesje Chafer who will be at our Indie Oxford Christmas Market on 1st and 2nd December.
From the Secret Emporium to the avenues of street food traders, the site is packed with incredible indie businesses. We tried fresh crab rolls from Salcombe, artisan coffee from Buckinghamshire based Carlito’s Coffee, and delicious Ghanaian food from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen.
Across the site avenues of indie stall holders bring colour, glitter and creativity. Jess from Smoking Gun Vintage made mermaid crowns, applique denim jackets and colourful feather headbands, Rosa Bloom’s stall twinkled with sequins and Beksie’s Boutique brought a rainbow of colour.
Nestled in a shady copse, the Green Crafts Village brought together talented crafts people to share their skills in a programme of workshops across the weekend. Orchis Floral held workshops to create beautiful natural headdresses, Cobalt Blacksmiths showed students how to forge, and Macramy’s Macrame held workshops in a beautiful tent looking down over The Atrium stage.
Oxfordshire based Harriet Riddell, captured festival goers on tapestry at her InStitchYou stall.
The diverse mix of experiences at Wilderness makes it a truly exceptional festival. There is so much to discover and get involved with, including the annual Sunday cricket match, feasting with friends, yoga in the Lunar Space, and ping pong in your fancy dress.
So, if you’re looking for a local festival with the excitement of sparkling late night revelry, lazy afternoons by the lake and dining experiences to rival Soho, this is for you! It’s a celebration of creativity, putting you at the centre of the experience, and giving you the time and space to make memories, wander, and unwind like no other festival does.
Here’s to Wilderness 2019.
Love, Rosie xxx