Blog: Wilderness Festival 2013, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire

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In the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, about 70 miles out of London, you’ll reach Cornbury Park. Yesterday I left a little bit of my heart in a field somewhere. I haven’t braved a festival for a few years, but along with 18 of my wonderful friends, and about 400 emails discussing logistics, car pools, tents, outfits, festival essentials (who’s bringing disco balls for the gazebo?!) we finally made it. Obviously the men were sent the day before to set up the camp, pump up the air mattresses and so on, the girls were just in charge of those important things such as face paints, glitter, mixers and ice boxes (yes we forgot the ice). There coudn’t have been anymore preparation. No sooner were we out of my little Fiat 500, and not a queue in sight (it felt like I was driving a lorry we packed so many bags of everything we didn’t need) we made our way to find our camp.

Little did we know that there were 2 entrances so we spent the first hour circling one field shouting our code names in the hope of one of the boys popping up to rescue us. Eventually we made it to base camp, many many kisses to the boys for their wonderful hard work, our first cocktail was presented to us. Vacuum packed Negroni’s (what, it’s just like a capri sun for adults?!). 

Once we were settled, and the final cars arrived, we headed in to the festival for a walk around. Wilderness is the most perfect festival, think massage tents, craft making fields, and hot tubs by the lake, shall we go for a dip? J Sheeky even rocked up in an airstream. You could learn how to do a Kate Bush dance routine near the bandstand, St John had a food hall, Moro were wafting delicious flavours through the fields all day, and we were booked in to Russell Normans Polpo masquerade banquet on the Saturday night, result!

LWSY Wilderness

Showing films all weekend, the Wilderness Stage was decked out with logs and hay bales to lounge over, for when you needed a dark space for an hour or two. I caught the end of an amazing film (who knows what it was) before finding my way back to base camp in the early hours of our first night…

We had big plans to see Rodrigues, Empire of the Sun, Martha Wainwright, London Grammar and Tom Odell perform, you couldn’t have wanted anymore entertainment. Need a recovery massage after the first night? No problem, just head over to the Well Being area. This weekend was going to be epic…

LWSY Wilderness

There is some of our team heading down to the lake for an afternoon explore…

LWSY Wilderness

 The angry looking owl by the Fever Tree camp….

LWSY Wilderness

As sunset fell, our thoughts and bodies headed to foodie heaven. Moro, Mac & Cheese, St John, Pizza tents, French & Grace, how were we ever going to decide what to eat?! Heaven….

LWSY Wilderness

In support of the amazing new restaurants in Brixton Market, close to my old home, I opted for French & Grace….

LWSY Wilderness

Then I walked round the corner to see the twinkling lights of J. Sheekey, maybe tomorrow I thought…

LWSY Wilderness

Next stop, Empire of the Sun headlining on the main stage. Minus an accidental power cut, it was an incredible set. A quick sprint over to Late Night Revelry, where the producers of Secret Garden Party created the most incredible scene. Imagine a beautifully decorated rave, full of beautiful people, insane music, and amazing outfits. Memories for ever right there…

LWSY Wilderness

I was relieved to wake up in my tent, next to the right person, phew I survived! Next stop, all thoughts to food!!! Who says you can’t have mac & cheese for breakfast?! Southern street food at it’s best. Remember cheesus loves you…

LWSY Wilderness

LWSY Wilderness

LWSY Wilderness

An afternoon filled with music, watching incredible trapeze artists, birthday bubbles and laughter, little did we know the best was yet to come…

It was time for the Polpo Venetian Banquet. A seven course feast by the wonderful Russell Norman. From London’s Soho to the Oxfordshire countryside, our evening was filled with incredible Venetian flavours, plus we HAD to dress up…

LWSY Wilderness

LWSY Wilderness

LWSY Wilderness

With a quick heads up via Russell to get there early to ensure we could all be seated together we tucked into our first Aperol Spritz, how did they know that’s our favourite drink?! 

LWSY Wilderness

LWSY Wilderness

LWSY Wilderness

Photo courtesy of Wilderness Festival (what a great team shot)…

LWSY Wilderness

LWSY Wilderness

After our wonderful supper we sprinted back to the main stage to see the illusive Rodrigues. He’s alive!!! Our last night was spent back in the valley for second night of Late Night Revelry. With performers from the Box on stage, I made some amazing new friends, and drifted off into the night, remembering it as the best weekend I’ve had in years. 

Bravo Wilderness, we love you longtime. Thank you for the memories…

#LWSY #Wilderness13 

With special thanks to Dean Callan at Monkey Shoulder for the incredible hospitality.

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