Wilderness Festival 2012

Last weekend I went to the idyllic Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire to enjoy the  funshine at Wilderness.  Organised by the team behind the Secret Garden Party and Lovebox, the two-year old festival is distinctly original and unlike any other I have been to.

With an emphasis on ‘feasting, lounging and partying,’ Wilderness attracts a diverse, family-friendly crowd (there were as many beer-hungry ravers as there were milk-hungry babies) as it combines music, food, talks, debates, outdoor pursuits and late-night parties in equal measure.

With a beautiful boating (and for the more brave/buff, skinny dipping) lake, horseriding, fly-fishing, a spa sanctuary with hot tubs, yoga classes, massage tents, screenings by Secret Cinema, theatre, talks, debates, an array of craft stalls and an exceptional array of delicious food, the whole occasion is both creative and relaxing.  Tim Harvey, who organises the festival said, “Wilderness is more than just a feast for the eyes and ears… It’s a place to indulge the senses, relax, and eat well.”  And Indulge I certainly did....

Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Lianne La Havas, Spiritualized, Crystal Fighters, Temper Trap and Wilco were all playing at the festival, but the real headliners were the celebrated chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, Fergus Henderson and Valentine Warner who all staged decadent banquets across the weekend.  There was also a very popular Moro Souk Tent (below) and the Thyme Cookery School were at the festival offering some excellent classes. 

The copious, delicious food stalls spread generously around the park were certainly not offering the usual greasy festival fodder… With Fin and Flounder, Poco Loco, Churros Bros, Annie Mae’s, and my favourite chilli wraps from Arancini Brothers ('World Famous in ALL Posh Towns!') I could have been rolled home on Sunday.

Below: Festival Style - I loved these unfussy, simple and chic looks.  

This year Wilderness joined forces with The Vintage Festival (previously held at London’s Southbank.) So, admist the more usual festival attire (flower garlands, hotpants, colourful Hunter wellies) there was fantastic retro and sexy pin-up fashion in abundance (left and below).

Adding to the eccentricity of this festival, there was an immense vintage market (which I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to vacate), a 1950’s beauty parlour, a roller disco, and a stunning swing/jazz club offering dance classes.

Below:  Not a festival trend I EVER wish to see again... Leave the tails to the children!

Below:  I felt like Joan of Arc in this incredible Prangsta Costumiers Head Candy.

Love. Want. Need. Please. 

Below:  The wonderful Jack Savoretti
Watch my video of Jack singing 'Take Me Home,' one of my favourites, here.

The highlight of my weekend however, was The Old Vic Tunnels Masked Ball. An enormous masked crowd were led by an African percussion troupe in a midnight procession, from the Wilderness Stage into the Wychwood forest, for a magical extravaganza which had three DJs playing throughout the wood into the wee hours.

(Above: With You Magazine's Amy Williams and Old Vic Tunnel Director, Hamish Jenkinson.)  Amidst the corsets and stunning venetian masks I found myself, in a leopard print catsuit and cat mask, dancing alongside an array of heroic Batmen, a Skeletor, various furry faced animals, several morph suited revelers, and some bloke in a mankini…

Below: The Old Vic Tunnel's Masked Ball certainly put the 'Wild' into the Wilderness.

Early Bird tickets are already available for Wilderness 2013 here.
Sign. Me. Up.