Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Festival Guide 2014 - Wilderness Festival by Rosie Davis

~ Wilderness Festival
photo by Claire Williams ~ 
7th-10th August
Wilderness Festival
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, OX7 3DG
Weekend camping tickets £143.50 + £8 booking fee

This is it, festival pick number three! So far we’ve had Love Supreme Jazz Festival in Glynde, and Port Eliot Festival in St Germans, Cornwall. Now we head to Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, to enter the wild and wonderful world of the Wilderness Festival.

Paradise Found. The words flash up on the screen in front of me as I enter the festival’s website. The words have been designed on to a backdrop of Lilly pads floating in a lake, the lake that ticket holders will soon get to swim in. Today the website flashes ‘Fewer than 200 tickets left, Folks’ and ‘One day to go’ (The festival’s crack website team have been on the pulse of the website and social media, so let’s give them a big hand for that). The lake is one step closer, and so is the paradise that is Wilderness Festival.

Wilderness Festival
It’s not only the scenic location that makes this festival very appealing, but also the people behind it. Secret Productions are the team that brought you Secret Garden Party, a festival that is renowned for support of artists, as well as putting on the ultimate party! They also bring us the Secret Emporium, which you will find at Wilderness. Filled with clothes, jewellery, artwork and other delights, the emporium is a showcase of makers, designers and artists. In 2011 Secret Productions set up at Cornbury Park, where the festival continues to take up residency every year.  

Wilderness Festival
Wilderness Festival is a place to dance, dine, dive into the lake, dissolve your worries of the world in a hot tub and bring those weird and psychedelic dreams to life. Banquet with a owl or a stag while being served food cooked by chefs from some of the UK's most praised restaurants; Moro, River Cottage, Hix and St John. The Banquets, Feasting and Gastronomy programme was one of the festival’s quirky yet luxurious elements that drew me in. A gourmet banquet, served to you at a beautifully decorated and laid out table, all done in a field. The combination of glamour and the outdoors lit up with candles and fairy lights makes this a meal to remember. But if that is a bit too glamorous for you wellie mud loving festival goers, there is always Hunter Gather Cook. This is the UK's finest foraging and cookery school, teaching you what to forage for and how to cook it. Almost everything will be processed and gathered on the day from the woods, fields and meadows of Cornbury Park. Which will you be - hunter or gatherer?  

Wilderness Festival

Each night in the Valley there will be a different fancy dress theme. Friday night will see the late night revellers change into a costume for Altered States. Saturday will be Disco Renaissance and Sunday will have you lost in The Cosmos. On the Saturday evening the tradition throughout the festival is for all Wilderness participants to adorn their faces with a mask, for the masked party. As the sun lowers itself in the sky, keep your eyes open for The Animal Stampede. Organised by the Artful Badger at 7pm on the Saturday evening animals of all varieties will storm through the festival. Sign up for free, get your mask made and join in the madness.

You may be reading this and thinking, “but where’s the music?” Do not fret, as there will be music day and night on different stages and areas. There will be live music by well-known names such as Joan As Police Woman, Sam Smith, Jessie Ware, London Grammar and Burt Bacharach.  Burt Bacharach?  Yes! Burt Bacharach. There will also be sounds to take you into the early hours of the morning with the Late Night Revelry part of the programme, featuring tunes from Eats Everything, Zero 7, Whit Mink and Horse Meat Disco.
Everywhere you look there will be performances in front of you, beside you and above you!  There will be the Debating Halls and Literary Arts supported by the Huffington Post, The School of Life and the Book Slam. Don’t expect to take it easy as there will always be something for you to do; Horse riding, wild swimming, The Chap Olympics, but if you insist on relaxing then take yourself to the sanctuary for some pampering.

There are still tickets left so have a weekend away and get lost in the wilderness.  

Wilderness Festival
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