Set in Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Estate, Wilderness offers an eclectic mix of starry music acts, talks, fine dining, wild swimming and spa-style pampering – all in the idyllic countryside.
First things first, the music: Bombay Bicycle Club are bringing their indie-rock beats to the stage following a three-year hiatus on the Friday night. Then on Saturday, Swedish pop visionary Robyn is getting the party started, playing hits from her latest album Honey along with much-loved classics from 2010 album Body Talk (because who doesn’t want to indulge in a moment of nostalgia belting out the lyrics to ‘Dancing On My Own’?). Finally, seeing off the festival for another year in true top-tapping, hip-shaking style is supreme dance duo Groove Armada.
Meanwhile, big name support acts come in the form of award-winning singer-songwriter Tom Odell, electro-swingers Caravan Palace and 2018 breakthrough star Freya Ridings.
One of the biggest pulls of Wilderness – and perhaps the only one to successfully tug London foodies away from the capital for the weekend – is the banquets and feasting scene. This year, gods of the restaurant world descending on the festival include Israeli chef Yossi ‘Papi’ Elad of Palomar and Barbary fame; Kitchen Table’s head chef James Knappett; Wilderness stalwart Angela Hartnett (of London’s Murano), and the team behind Petersham Nurseries. Each will be serving up fresh takes on their signature cuisine and filling watering mouths with a taste bomb of fine flavours from around the world.
Secret theatre in the forest
For a more wellness-oriented experience, look to the festival’s busy programme of activities and workshops, which include everything from yoga and climbing to axe throwing. Or, find more chilled fare in the form of the lakeside spa. There are new things afoot this year too: four brand new stages are to be unveiled, including an after-dark dance space and a venue to host more innovative arty offerings.
Those who want to infuse their festival experience with a dose of literature, intellect, comedy or impassioned debate are also in for a treat this year. From Adam Kay on his best seller This is Going to Hurt to a chance to hear from food critic Grace Dent and author Felicity Cloake, there's a hefty programme of talks taking place across the site. A favourite of ours is talks and debates headliner Letters Live, where a top secret cast of famous faces read some of the greatest correspondence every written.
Once cultured, fed and all-danced-out, head to the lake, where skinny-dipping is an essential rite of passage. And, don’t miss Bearded Kitten’s Sunday Cricket Match which has been running as long as the festival and promises to be the most colourful match you’ll ever see – complete with streaking and drunken commentary on the green.
So, if you’re looking to merge the finer things in life with the music, dance and high spirits of a festival, head out into the Wilderness.
|What||Wilderness Festival 2019, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire|
|Where||Wilderness at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH | MAP|
01 Aug 19 – 04 Aug 19, Times of entertainment vary over the weekend
|Price||£179.50+ (for standard adult tickets)|
|Website||Click here for more information and tickets|