A few months ago, I had the idea to go to a festival I viewed online last year and thought it looked interesting, I made a mini vow or silent hope that one day I would go. After all it was affordable and only just over an hour away. I arranged holiday and money and was set.
I really enjoyed myself at Wilderness and there are some main highlights and things to remember I will share here.
Have a plan but don’t stick to it
I got the programme (£10 at entry) and circled things I wanted to go to; talks, shows and tents. It had a handy map in there too that I studied and tried to work out religiously. I booked two Kundalini yoga workshops with Gail Love Schock the Thursday I arrived and unless you pre booked online it’s best to do as soon as you get there as the paid and free workshops get booked up quickly.
Through my planning of times things that were on I went to see: Lynne Segal talking about radical happiness and learnt more about Albert Einstein at David Bondanis’s talk Einstein’s greatest mistake in the Books tent.
In the Forum tent I missed the poetry (from what I heard of it it was good stuff) and went to the school of life Sunday sermon with novelist Francesco Dimitri all about igniting our sense of wonder in life. I had a funny discussion with the person sat beside me on how to add more wonder to a task such as putting a load of washing on, she suggested lay all the clothes out like art attack! How fun! I didn’t end up doing that but did dance to upbeat sounds of the band The Turbans who played Friday night.
I went to the Art tent two nights (all day time activities were too busy and they had run out of pineapples for pineapple painting) for life drawing and neon drawing. Both really great fun, drawing models with costumes and paints. The only annoyances were that there wasn’t any art paper, black would have been better for neon colours or a break in between, two hours drawing is a long time. Still if there’s a next time I will bring my own big sketch pad and book on other things such as dancing in the wild nature rather than relying on space at a small art tent.
With less planning I may have relaxed more and just explored, spent less time at my tent eating foods I brought with me and ate out at the festival, there was a huge variety of foods and snacks mostly at affordable prices.
Spend an evening listening to music at the main stage
I only went to one night of music and I’m really glad I did, I wasn’t fans of the bands before but they stood out to me as something to go and see. So on the Friday night I watched The Turbans, Aurora and First Aid Kit. Each had a different style and impact.
The Turbans were full of different sounds, big energy and enthusiasm. Aurora was very focused on her performance and has a big voice, I liked her song Warrior and I was reminded of the book The One Thing, you could tell her one thing was singing. I saw her swimming in the lake afterwards and walking around in a rainbow dress. The last band were country singers and sisters who made First Aid Kit, there guitar was incredible and I liked My Silver Lining and they performed Your the problem here, an angry song but they spoke of the story behind it.
Explore more, invite others
The most memorable parts of the festival are from connecting with others and going out and exploring the grounds. From chatting to a lovely couple at the art tent to talking to a family who kindly kept my space in the cabaret queue and told me about the crazy but worth seeing just out of curiosity late night DJing at the valley. It was finding that that opened up a whole part of the map I couldn’t find. The craft village, carousel and Love hotel, I finally found them, the field is huge!
The great thing about exploring too is that you relax more, relax into not having to be some place at some time, see the many costumes and take more photos. I got many pictures on my Polaroid and became more confident and creative in using it.
Sit, walk, swim – be present and enjoy the moment
The area where a big old style bus/camper van was a big field where there was mass singing, running, limbo, cricket matches the list goes on and just sitting down (you could participate too) and laughing and enjoying the moment brought joy!
Though I’m so happy I went, as I wasn’t going to wait around for a set of friends to get together or the perfect mate to come to my life, just go, just go. Is what I often tell myself if I’m unsure, it would have been a whole different fun experience if I had been with others. There were groups of people dressed each day in a different theme, gems on faces, bride to be over tents and couples having quality time in a creative wilderness.
Wilderness festival takes place art Cornbury Park, Oxford each August, check out more here.