Well, somehow it's already August, and the fifth edition of Wilderness Festival is upon us. As in previous years, it's set to pop up out of Cornbury Park, 1,700 acres of protected Oxfordshire woodland. But even when it calls an 800-year old deer park home, Wilderness' unique selling point remains its scope – the music line-up is a tight, carefully curated roster which represents a small part of a programme that features countless food and drink events, workshops, theatre, and outdoor activities. Plenty to see, plenty to do. Read on for DiS's tips for the weekend ahead.
I don't suppose anyone necessarily needs reminding that they should go and see Nils Frahm live anymore. That was more or less the point of 2013’s Spaces, was it not? Anyway, it’s Nils Frahm! In a field! Our money is on a set that puts aside the intimate and introspective ivory-tinkling in favour of virtuosic synth workouts and Frahm's acrobatic flash-bang showmanship.
I don't suppose anyone necessarily needs reminding that they should go and see Björk live anymore. It's Björk! Expect a run through of tracks from this year's post-marital confessional Vulnicura, which will likely amount to a particularly breathtaking kind of open-heart surgery. The Icelander headlines Wilderness's opening night.
Food and Drink
Wilderness is a festival where gastronomy can genuinely claim to go toe-to-toe with the arts, and once you've worked up an appetite wild swimming in spring-fed lakes, you’d be well advised to explore the festival's edible offerings. On-site restaurants run by Moro, Hix and Petersham Nurseries—as well as long-table banquets run by the likes of Raymond Blanc—seem a particularly indulgent festival experience, but require both advance booking and a second mortgage. Perhaps better off sampling from the extensive selection of street food vendors. Soft-shell crab at Crabbie Shack, French & Grace's Middle-Eastern inspired wraps, slow-smoked BBQ at Smokestak and paella at Paellaria all look worthwhile investments for your stomach, but there's certainly no shortage to choose from.
The Saturday Night Spectacle
Evidently an annual tradition down at Cornbury Park, last year’s audience delighted in ‘wolf dancing by enormous firelight’, whatever that means. This year’s blowout features Spanish theatrical group La Fura Dels Baus. Organisers remain fairly tight-lipped as to exactly what we can expect, but this video of the troupe performing at the opening ceremony of last year's Youth Olympic Games in Nanjiing has me sold.
A surprising late addition to this year's line-up, Sean Kuti follows the path trodden by his father, Afrobeat pioneer and socio-political activist Fela. An unexpected addition to a line-up already full of left turns, the hypnotic sound of Afrobeat will surely brush aside any chance of a Sunday lull.
Will Young: Using Mindfulness to Find Your Voice,
Boundaries and Your True Self
Will Young turns life coach. Not a clue what's going on here. Will report back.
Full details of this year's Wilderness Festival can be found at their website.