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The Wilderness Festival 2013

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Event: -
Let Out Your Wild Side


What better way to get in touch with nature than camping in a park surrounded three thousand acres of ancient woodland and four-hundred year old oak trees? Cornbury Park is one of the most idyllic places in England. The estate is owned by Lord & Lady Rotherwick, and is one of the few private forests in England.

But once a year, this private home becomes the meeting place of thousands of nature lovers as festival goers from around the UK gathering for a week of music, theatre, and feasts. The Wilderness Festival 2013 takes place between the 8th - 13th August, and promises to offer entertainment for the whole family. Whether you are a rock chick, health guru, or just born to be wild, there is something for everyone.

When you arrive, you will be greeted by the friendly barrow boys, who will help you set up in style. Choose from a selection of boutique camping equipments such as tipis, tents, huts, yurts, or if you can't bring yourself to leave the city entirely, there is even a bus named Beryl. After that all you have to do is decide where to stay - by the lake, in the woods, or in the tall grass; rough or luxury, you will find all the facilities you need.

So now you're there, what is there to do? That question could take all night to answer, but here is the lowdown of activities you can expect to enjoy:

Music



There is a truly eclectic cast of musicians at this year's Wilderness Festival. Empire of the Sun is a modern electronica band from down under, but with their psychedelic tunes and tribal outfits these Aussie singers retain that much loved hippy-ness synonymous with music festivals. On the other side of the coin, you have a wide range of folk singers such as Noah and The Whale, and the British-Ugandan soul guitarist, Michael Kiwanuka.

You know how many people believe Elvis is still alive? Well for the Detroit musician, Rodriguez, it is the other way around. There were once rumours that he was dead, but I'm sure much to the relief of fans, that rumour can be put to rest when he appears at the festival to continue his role as the 'greatest 1970s music icon that never was'.

Among other music arts, you will also get a unique, if not unusual camping experience from Vignette Productions, who will be performing an opera. It may not be the first thing you think of seeing at a music festival, but their Dido and Aeneas opera will be a passionate and epic tale of romance and tragedy.

Food

Forget about cooking tinned baked beans over an open fire; this might be a festival out in the wilderness, but your dining experience will be of gourmet standards. Expect to dine at a Venetian Banquet or wander into the Moro Souk Tent for some Spanish cuisine cooked over a wood burning oven and charcoal grill. It is also your chance to learn some key cooking skills at the Thyme Cookery School, where there will be talks, demonstrations, and workshops.

Theatre

Transe Express is considered one of the world greats of theatre, and this summer they will be performing one of their best shows, Maudit Sonnants. Their team of actors, acrobats, bell-ringers, dancers, percussionists, singers, and string quartets create a fusion of circus and theatre you'll never forget. Another circus troupe is Les Pepones, whose first UK appearance will display acts inspired by Charlie Chaplin and the silent film era.

If you have brought the kids along, then the Unicorn Theatre will be there to provide quality entertainment, and Petersham Playhouse are putting on a production of the Jabberwocky.

Nightlife



Festivals are all about late night parties, and there will be plenty in store during the week. Will you be able to find the Secret Garden Party? Or maybe you'd rather attend Rumpus the animalistic carnival that is 'like a scaled down version of Shangri La.' There will be even more chances to dress up at the The Bacchanalian Masqued Ball, a wild fantasy that enters the world of troubadours, gypsies and tricksters.

Remember, this is The Wilderness Festival, and nighttime is when the wildlife comes out to play. Stay up late enough and you might find yourself surrounded by some hedonistic woodland creatures, compliments of the Artful Badger.

Creative

Nature is always meant to be inspirational, and if you are feeling inspired, why not take part in one of the many creative workshops available? Children will be able to become journalists for a day at the Hoftman Examiner newsroom, while the teens will be able to let loose their inner rock god at the Witchwood School of Rock. Amongst all this hulabaloo, you will find some more at Hulabaloo Arts, where you can have a go at costume-making, stop motion animation, and making giant chalk paintings.

Outdoors

Let's face it; the whole point of going camping, is to get to grips with the great outdoors. But just because you are in the wilderness, doesn't mean you can't be pampered. Take a dip in the hot tubs at the Lakeside Spa, practice yoga, get a massage, or meditate in the peaceful surroundings of The Sanctuary.

Get some exercise while on a woodland stroll and learn about all the medicinal (and not so friendly) plants. You could also take a swim in the crystal clear lakes, go horse riding in the woods, or go for a wild run through the countryside.

Tickets to the festival are between 65-146.50, but you will probably make a better saving if you buy a family ticket for 335.

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Why? Rock out with nature
When: 8th-13th Aug
Phone: 020 3137 6380
Where: Cornbury Park
Cost: 65-146.50
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