Way up in the blue skies surrounding Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, the sun shone brightly, projecting it’s warm rays of loveliness on this beautiful space that was now home to the Wilderness Festival for the next three days.
I was lucky enough to have experienced the Wilderness Festival back in 2011 for what was then its first year. I went with a friend and my two eldest children and camped for the weekend. It was a great experience and with this gut felling it would return this year bigger and better, I just had to be a part of it.
This time however I decided to go it alone, well not alone exactly but with a friend just minus the children. Luckily I was in a position to do so as the children stayed with there father. This really was a great opportunity to let my hair down and have some serious fun.
Again camping was on the agenda and having finally set up the tent within the large camping area we decided to go & check the place out! My first impressions were of it’s size and how much larger the festival was in comparison with last year. As great as the festival was during its first year, I had felt that it was quite limited for the kids! This year things couldn’t have been any more different! There was a vast amount on offer from crafting activity, storytelling, hola-hooping, bubble shows and much more besides. With this I was tempted to make the couple of hours drive back to south london in-order to grab the kids. Of course I didn’t, mainly because there was more than enough on offer to keep me amused as well as the fact I was ever so slightly enjoying the “Me Time”
What’s great about this festival is how it’s not just your average music festival. This is a festival designed to attract varying interests therefore attracting a more diverse audience that consists of young party goers to middle aged old school ravers. With the Wilderness festival being so family friendly you can also expect to see lots of little tots running around in fancy dress, tutus and a pair of fairy wings. This is a festival like no other, offering a relaxed atmosphere while also keeping your mind and body stimulated. Whether you fancy joining in with one of the many intellectual debates and talks, indulging your inner senses while taking a relaxing soak in a wooden hot tub by the stunning lake, or an hours session at the roller disco, you’ll find it here at the Wilderness Festival.
Crafts: Although I myself didn’t engage a great deal in the various craft activities on offer it was easy to see just how much choice there was.The jewellery making in particular looked really interesting as I witnessed some of my fellow festival goers create some pretty impressive pieces.
Music: I love how the Wilderness Festival doesn’t focus itself solely on music alone therefore making it something of its niche ( after all, how can it with so much else on offer)? However, this doesn’t mean we were left wondering around in deadly silence. The Wilderness festival hosts a large live stage that’s graced by many different performers day and night. Some of the music on offer is by new & emerging bands such as the Stornoway a British indie folk band from the local Oxfordshire area who formed in 2006. Other acts included Rodrigo Y Gabriela, London Folk Guild, Spiritualized and many more!
The main stage isn’t the only place that you’ll find people up and dancing. I myself spent little time at the stage as I was far to busy taking advantage of all the other wonderful goings on around the festival site! Nonetheless, various types of Music from funky house, live bandstands & vintage harmonies could be heard playing around the different areas of the wilderness. Both day and night it’s easy to find something that suits your particular taste in music leaving you little choice than to get up on your feet and doing your thing Wilderness style!
Food: The Wilderness is a festival like no other when it comes to the standard of food on offer. Book yourself a table at one of the banquets and eat food prepared by some of the top chefs around or opt for one of the many food trailers preparing every type of munch imaginable.The standard here is high, I can say with confidence no festival goer will go hungry! The only problem your left with is making the decision of what your going to have!
Night Parties: Having no children with me meant I could dress myself in some funky festival get up, tie my hair with flowers and sport a spectacular mask once the sun went down. This years midnight masquerade Masked Ball hosted by the Old Vic Tunnels was a party not to be missed nor forgotten! The atmosphere was electrifying as large groups of festival goers were lead by a bongo drum procession into the Wychwood forest for a moonlit extravaganza. Sunday was just as incredible what with the fabulous Secret garden party that saw me dancing into the wee hours and left me looking like a sack full of crap for the entire week thereafter.
Vintage: This is actually a festival in its own right. This year they were unable to operate alone and therefore joined forces with the Wilderness making it just that bit more spectacular than it already was. The area housed some funky vintage stalls and even a place to get a decade specific makeover. Here you could chill-out at the Future Cinema (open air cinema combined with live theatre) or indulge yourself in a bit of roller skating to some old school tunes at the open air roller disco. By night vintage was the place to find some of the most devise dressers with many taking us way back to the dance floor of the forties ballrooms. I’m actually really pleased that Vintage joined forces with the Wilderness Festival and have been left wondering if this is set to become a normality. I really loved the vintage area and therefore hope it will be. If not than its just another festival I’ll be adding to my must attend list for 2013.
Sanctuary: I spent a great deal of time indulging my senses and refreshing my mind at the Sanctuary. There were many free sessions of meditation and yoga plus a vast range of treatments on offer which include massage, reflexology, acupuncture, holistic healing and more. My friend and I also decided to meet with the fortune teller who in all honest was a total joker! This guy wasn’t in tune with himself let alone ours. But we didn’t let him put us off and I later met with a sensational healer.
Rememberable moments: Yes, it’s true, This years Wilderness did host a secret swim that saw festival goers of all ages lose their vintage rags before plunging into the beautiful clear waters of the Cornbury lakes. A massive gathering of skinny dippers who were happy to let it all hang out in an attempt to help set the World record which was for the highest number of skinny dippers swimming in the one place. Did I lose my swimsuit? Hell no, but well done for those who did.
Camping: Cornbury park offers festival attendees plenty of space to set up camp with dedicated family camping areas and even the option to camp in luxury when opting for a weekends Boutique Camping.
Great Parking with an extensive amount of places.
There are plenty of toilets in and around the festival therefore avoiding huge queues of people dying to pee. Toilets are actually rather well kept, with toilet attendees making sure they are clean and well stocked with loo paper both day and night.
Camping facilities (toilets and showers) are some of the best maintained I’ve seen for a festival. You will also find a good number of water taps for filling bottles, washing pans etc… all over the campsite.
Boutique Babysitting is also on offer. Check the website for more information
Whats really lovely about the this particular festival is that of its friendly atmosphere. Both years I’ve attended this festival I’ve never witness a single bit of trouble (when you live in london this is incrediable rare especially when alcohol is involved)! Festival Revealers are free spirited and high on fresh air & happiness, an infectious state of being!
It’s my opinion, without a shadow of a doubt, that the success of this years Wilderness Festival has ensured it’s place on the festival top list. I can quite honestly say with great confidence that this is one of the best festival I’ve ever attended and I just can’t wait to experience it all over again in 2013.
Early bird tickets for The Wilderness Festival 2013 are already on sale… Find out more by clicking HERE
Disclaimer: This is a review post! I was not paid to write this but did receive a press and guest pass in-order to write and then share a review. All words are honest and that of my own.