Wow. Sometimes you strike it lucky; I certainly did last week when our wonderful PR agency Inkling mentioned they could get me a family ticket to the Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire at the weekend.
I thought “yeah, why not? The kids would love to go camping for a night”. Despite having a quick glimpse at the website, I was still none the wiser as to what it was all about. Arriving Saturday lunchtime, pop up tent popped up, lunch BBQ’d we set off to find out what it was all about. Though difficult to sum up I’d go with fairly posh, well-spoken polite affair in a beautiful estate in Oxfordshire. Of course there was always the aroma of some tobacco based substance ever present, so there were lots of happy hippy adults and much alcohol seemed to be consumed. For a Wild event I’d say it was calmly wild, however I only did the event with Children in mind.
There was a whole bunch of side shows, actors doing strange things in unexpected places; a debate round table on all sorts of topics, the Church was the one I walked past… quickly… And plenty of main stage acts the like of who I honestly had not heard of… But all sounded cool… Wilco, Crystal Fighters, Spiritualized, Modeste to name but a few.
So you could indulge in the intellectual musings on a variety of different subjects or you could simply sit and listen to one of the many bands. Quite folky in places, it’s a nice sound. Friends of the Earth had a super little stage, proudly promoting their bee cause. And had some very mellow performances. Everything seems so much nicer in the sun.
And yes of course there was water and where there is water there is skinny dipping! (Swimming in a cold lake with no clothes on) Please note – we did not indulge. A highlight for us though was a wonderful experience presented by the Petersham Playhouse. Guided by actors and inspired by fairy tales, poems and myths we eloped with them on theatrical trail into The Cornbury Park Woods, our host being Jacob Grimm. It was quite magical in the dappled sunlight and you felt part of the unveiling stories.
So to sum up? For you to fully embrace the festival you should be prepared to dress up and have fun, get wet, a little dirty and happy – go make something out of wicker in one of the many earthly workshops or sign up for one of the banqueting feasts. I think next year I will go along with these things in mind and enter with my eyes wide open! All in all - summer festivals are great.