Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Wilderness is a four-day, boutique, multi-arts and music festival, set amidst the idyllic Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. With an eclectic line-up, spanning Music and the Arts, exquisite Feasting and Dining experiences, Talks and Debates that will inspire and ignite.
This was my first time visiting Wilderness Festival, and on leaving I already wanted to return. It has a great vibe where crowds of party goers and families mix perfectly. Unlike many music festivals there isn't an overflow of people at the main stage, as many just relax and party at the various of stages and tents across the site.
Wilderness 2021 main stage featured the likes of Loyle Carner, Jamie XX, Rudimental Lyra, Sports Team, Mahalia, Georgia, Self Esteem, and many more. Across the site it's many stages offers a wide variety, including the likes of Phillip Pullman in conversation, well known actors reading letters live (which was my absolute highlight), Craig Charles spinning his Funk and Soul set, a cricket match featuring random streaking, Daisy Lowe DJing, and many more activities throughout the day.
It's hard to pick any definitive highlight from the weekend, as the festival delivers on all level, not once was I left wanting or feeling disappointed. There were certainly some stand out performances.
Sports Team recognised they were a replacement and didn't represent the typical style of act which featured on the main stage, making a bit of fun about it before delivering a high energetic set.
Lyra, after having some initial teething problems with the sound feed, gave the audience a fantastic set of electropop, certainly someone i'll be looking to capture again.
Loyle Carner headline was questionable by some, but I felt Loyle absolutely nailed it, and was exactly what the festival required to finish off those who had partied too hard throughout the day, and warm up those heading off to carry on to the early hours.
If there was one stand out moment, it would be Letters Live, this for me is what makes Wilderness extra special. Even working in the press tent I could not access who would be taking to the stage, as they keep this a tightly kept secret. On the Saturday and Sunday actor and actresses take to the stage to read out emotional and highly amusing letter, it's an absolute crowd pleaser and brings the biggest crowd to the Atrium arena. This year brought the likes of Amanda Abbington, Louise Brealey, Toby Jones, Ferdinand Kingsley, Jordan Stephens, Laura Haddock, and more.
The food options were outstanding, typically festival priced, yet brimming with many options to please all. Even though i'm not a vegan I often will eat vegetarian and vegan range if available, which at some festvials just goes as far as chips. However, Wilderness had a fantastic range of vegan and veggie options with much variety.
I plan to revisit Wilderness as a guest rather than in a working capacity. It reminded me of a small Glastonbury due to it's diverse range of stages, and the crowds not chasing the bands but enjoyed themselves wherever they stood.
It has a great range of camping areas, from general, quiet, family, to glamping. One of it's small downsides was the camping field in the quiet area, as the ground is uneven and covered in rocks. Possibly my late arrival gave me limited options, and if you arrive earlier maybe there is good ground to be found. Outside of that it had all the facilities you could need.
To find out more, visit https://www.wildernessfestival.com