Into the Wilderness…


Oh Wilderness, you were wonderful.

I headed off with a bunch of friends to Oxfordshire to revel in the Wilderness festival last weekend and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. In the post-Glasto flurry, we were looking for something to occupy us and this festival did that and then some. We rocked up after a short drive from London and pitched our bargain tent upon a beautiful hillside overlooking the vast grounds of Cornbury Park.

The festivities kicked in on the Thursday evening with some opening party DJ’s but the real magic began on Friday. We had the most incredible sunny days throughout and enjoyed our first yoga session with Sweaty Betty at 9am by the Bandstand. I cannot recommend their class enough – check out their whole community built around fitness here. The numbers doubled the second day as word spread how great the class was. Everyone had slung on their leggings and got into their child’s pose whilst being sprinkled with copious amounts of glitter – no yoga class will ever measure up!

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Then there was the lake…where people could swim wildly from sunrise until sunset (and some even attempting a post-drinking plunge), this was probably Wilderness’ best asset. Set within a forest, everyone had to walk around it to get to the main arena and it also housed the incredibly tranquil spa with the hot tubs that we enjoyed on the last night.

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It was so completely different to any other festival I’d ever been to – I actually returned feeling more refreshed than when I went which is very unusual. I recall post-Glastonbury I felt like my soul had dropped out and I wanted to spend a week in foetal position. It all got a bit much. Wilderness was just the right amount of everything – great food, random moments of fancy dress or arm wrestling competitions, a lovely mix of families, older people, the weird and the wonderful. It wasn’t the most musically focused festival I had ever been to (although Bjork was absolutely mesmerising), but that was more than okay because I went to some incredible talks about Mindfulness by Headspace, and a live debate hosted by the Barbican about ‘What it meant to be masculine’ nowadays. There truly was something for everyone – whether you were into taxidermy or exploration, drawing or foraging – if nature could offer it, then Wilderness would play host to it. Your imagination was the only real limitation to the activities on offer.

On returning, my friends and I described it as the perfect Utopia and why couldn’t we just be locked in to the Wilderness camp – this could be our new reality! And what a thing that could be….

Early bird tickets are now available for 2016.