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. Highlights on the main stage this year include Mercury-nominated South London rapper Loyle Carner, who is performing his signature blend of poetry and acid jazz. Serving up her famed Milkshake, along with other familiar favourites –
no doubt Trick Me and Millionaire among them – is Kelis. Then Foals, a firm favourite of the British rock scene since their inception in 2005, are filling the coveted Saturday-night cornerstone slot. And finally, on Sunday, 90s legends Supergrass – who gave the world the eternally popular earworm Alright among other hits – are closing the show as part of their 2020 reunion tour.
Plenty of fresh-faced favourites and up-and-coming acts are set to excite the crowds too. Among them are disco-house stars Bicep, Bristolian beatmakers Elder Island, acclaimed reggae DJ David Rodigan, neo-soul songwriter Joy Crookes and Irish rockers Picture This. Jazz aficionados, meanwhile, should take the opportunity to catch a set from world famous jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, whose musicians are performing at The Atrium.
One of the biggest pulls of Wilderness – and perhaps the only one to successfully draw 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 to host their own Long Table Banquet include Australian chef Skye Gyngell of Spring (who previously won Petersham Nurseries Café its Michelin star); Irish chef Richard Corrigan of Corrigan’s Mayfair; Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver of St John fame; and David Carter of Smokestak. Each will be serving up fresh takes on their signature cuisine.
If you’re hankering after more intimate supper-club vibes, climb the hill to The Chef’s Table. Here, overlooking vistas of lakes and greenery, you’ll feast on a tasting menu cooked before your eyes by a chef at the top of their game. Brad Carter of the Michelin-starred Carters of Moseley and Damian Clisby of Emile have already confirmed spaces behind the hob, with further names still to be announced.
Those who prefer to consume their festival fodder on the move are catered for to the highest degree, too. Angela Hartnett’s Café Murano and Petersham Nurseries are once again offering their top-notch fresh, seasonal produce, while wood-fired pizzas come by way of Homeslice, and Patty and Bun are serving up their sloppy but oh-so-tasty burgers.
For a more wellness-oriented experience, look to the festival’s busy programme of activities and workshops, which includes everything from yoga and climbing to axe throwing. Or, find more chilled pastimes in the form of the lakeside spa.
Those who want to infuse their festival experience with a dose of literature, intellect, comedy or impassioned debate should check back soon for the full line-up of speakers. Among the returning favourites already confirmed is Letters Live, where a top-secret cast of famous faces (who in the past have included Olivia Colman, Russell Brand and Benedict Cumberbatch) read some of the greatest correspondence ever written.
Those who emerge from their tent feeling groggy and a little bit fragile on Sunday morning should head straight to Sunday Papers Live for a reality injection. Here, a panel of journalists comment on the day’s hot topics, putting the world to rights.
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-spirited fun, head out into the Wilderness.
|What||Wilderness Festival 2020, Cornbury Park|
|Where||Wilderness at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH | MAP|
30 Jul 20 – 02 Aug 20, All day event
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|