Wilderness: the Most Epicurean Festival

With banquets organized by deli master Yotam Ottolenghi and Michelin-starred chef Fergus Henderson, an outlandish masked ball set deep in the woods, an outdoor spa, Secret Cinema screenings, some philosophical talks by the School of Life and the Idler Academy and educational star-gazing sessions with the Royal Observatory, Wilderness brings a new twist to the summer festival concept. Oh… and the music is not bad either, with Temper Trap and Rodrigo y Gabriela on the list.

Curated by the producers of popular Lovebox and Secret Garden Party, Wilderness is a festival like no others. Launched last year, it aims to celebrate not just music, but also food, talks and debates, theatre, late night parties and outdoor pursuits. “For us, it’s important for friends and family to come along and use the weekend as a place to indulge the senses, relax, eat well, escape, learn and enjoy activities that aren’t so easily accessible in our day-to-day lives”, explain its founders. Like last year, it will be held in Oxfordshire at the beautiful Cornbury Estate on 10-12thAugust 2012.

The Location For those who love the countryside and don’t want to travel too far from London, the Cornbury Estate in Oxfordshire couldn’t be better, with its 400-year old oak trees, four freshwater lakes and deer park… For those who don’t want to rough it up, there will be tipis, huts and yurts to stay in -all complete with proper mattresses and fresh linen- and a Lakeside spa with oak hot tubs, wooden saunas, a champagne bar and plenty of treatments available. Luxurious camping at its best…

The Food There are not many festivals where you can feast in a Bedouin tent created especially by London’s restaurant Moro, or where you can have proper banquets cooked for you by deli maestro Yotam Ottolenghi and Michelin-starred chef Fergus Henderson, founder of the award-winning St John restaurant.

The Fun Future Cinema will host the grand finale of their successful Bugsy Malone show performed across the whole event site, with pop-up Prohibition parties and hidden speakeasies. There will also be a Feast of Fools party organized by Viktor Wynd (of The Last Tuesday Society) and an outlandish Midnight Masked Ball conceived by the Old Vic Tunnels deep in the woods. Plenty to do for the little ones too, including a bushcraft overnight camp, a school of rock, jewellery-making and a Roald Dahl story centre.

The Music After all, it’s an English summer festival, so it wouldn’t be complete without a series of good gigs. Highlights will include Australian indie-rock band Temper Trap (of number 1 hit Sweet Dispositions) and Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who recently performed their much acclaimed brand of guitar acoustic at the O2 Brixton.

The Talks Because it’s not all about banquets and partying, there will also be food for thoughts with philosophical, literary and societal debates organized by the School of Life, Alain de Botton’s social faculty, and by Notting Hill’s Idler Academy on subjects such as self-sufficiency or poem writing. The Royal Observatory will also be on hand offering star gazing sessions.

All tickets available via www.wildernessfestival.com

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