I’m just going to put this out there from the start. I think this is my favourite festival out of any I’ve been to! Now I bloody loved Glasto but if you’re after the bizarre, the beautiful, and four days of pure bohemian magic then this is the one. How can you not fall in love with a festival where you can swim in a lake, rave in a forest and make a birdfeeder all on the same day?!
Wilderness not only boasts an entire spa and wellness sanctuary, a country estate set in 400 acres of private parkland, and more sequinned leotards than you’ll ever see at Gay Pride but the food is also some of the best you’ll ever find. So when my gorgeous friend Becky (aka TalkBeckyTalk) asked me if I was free and fancied going I was literally packed and in the car before she could change her mind!
Now if you’re music knowledge is far from au fait then fret not as I’d definitely say the bands take second stage to all the other amazing activities you can do at Wilderness. Fancy sunrise yoga or some bizarre team sports games? Want to try archery or make your own wedding ring? How about a Gong bath followed by a five course dinner in a banquet hall? This festival has it ALL covered. You could actually go there and come back healthier and fitter than when you arrived, alas this wasn’t the case for me as we arrived armed with Gin and the determination to have a right royal party in the champagne tent.
Now I wouldn’t say this is a purse friendly festival- there are way too many tempting ways to empty your wallet, and annoyingly as we found out as first timers, a lot of the activities need to be pre booked. However there are so many free things on offer too- group yoga, meditation, interactive theatre, talks and debates, free craft sessions, hiphop karaoke, and an insane amount of free silliness to watch or take part in around the central Atrium area of the festival. We spent many an hour soaking up the glorious Oxfordshire sunshine people watching too- there’s just SO much to feast your eyes on. Half naked women with banging bodies left right and centre, amazing circus performers, not to mention the incredible outfits that make even Cher’s wardrobe look like she shops at Bon Marche.
We stayed in a little wooden hut, which was super cosy (meaning FRIKIN roasting in the mornings) which had power to charge my camera batteries. Bring your own fairy lights and bunting though or you’ll feel left out! The beds were SO comfy but there’s very little room inside- just enough for me, my BFF and a weekends supply of Gin. There are so many options for camping- from the absolute basic two man tent to practically a palace of dreams. Ranging from gypsy style caravans, tepees, to little hobbit-style huts. You never know who you’ll bump into either, we were staying next to my blogging hero and right lovely lass EmTalks. What a gorgeous girlie, inside and out!
I can’t reiterate how much there is to see and do, and every day has a theme so get your feathers and your glue gun ready before you head off. All the stalls are epic too. One of my favourite was the Naked Juice stand- where you entered through a magical floral awning into a hide away filled with fruit, creative activities and the BEST hangover cure ever- free juice! I’m a massive fan of their Green Machine so this was the order of the day on several occasions….
We took a boat out on the lake on the Saturday (which is a free activity) and enjoyed a glass of fizz in the sanctuary spa hot tub. You have to pre book the spa but you get two amazing hours to enjoy the postcard-perfect surroundings from a wood-fired hot tub. We were so lucky with the weather- gorgeous hot sunshine, not a cloud in the sky- the very best of the British summer so far. It was even warm enough to swim in the lake! After dark it’s time to hit up the food tents. You can dine in style or enjoy any of the offerings from the food stalls. Hix was our choice of the weekend and we even met the chef himself- a rather merry Mark Hix makes for an interesting meal! The Valleys is the ONLY place to party into the wee hours and some dirty house was just the tonic after hours soaking up the cloudless skies at the folk stage, not forgetting Robert Plant- who totally rocked! There’s definitely something special about raving in a laser-lit woodland filled with balloons with thousands of glitter-clad people smiling back at you, all feeling the same vibe.
If you want to escape the norm, wear an animal mask and don a pair of golden sequinned leggings then this is the festival for you. So next year grab your best friend and head over to Cornbury Park. Sometimes beautiful escapism is all we need for a few days, especially in a world that seems so ugly right now.
To find out more about Wilderness festival click here.
Until next time,