Wilderness Festival 2015
Blessed with sunshine and an eclectic programme, the 2015 edition of the Wilderness Festival was a magnificent celebration of the arts. Set in the ancient parkland of the Cornbury Estate, this new breed of festival was a paradise for a chilled-out crowd.
The array of activities, including yoga raves, mask and forgery workshops, swing dance classes, archery and horse riding, left attendees spoilt for choice throughout the weekend. There were V&A talks and debates about the latest Alexander McQueen exhibition and decadent films screened at the Lost Picture Show. Food was a treat, with long-table banquets hosted by Michelin-star chefs including Angela Hartnett.
Friday’s headline act, Björk, appeared wearing a hat-cum-mask covering most of her face and a typically eccentric dress. She opened up the main stage with a flashy performance, accompanied by fireworks and film. The appearance was a rare treat for many, as this was the final concert of her European tour. Some fans were moved to tears as Björk played songs from her latest album, Vulnicura, written after the separation from her partner. However, there was a marmite-esque quality to her show, as some listeners found it too dark, walking away in search of more up-beat alternatives.
After a decade of absence from the festival scene, The Tiger Lillies performed over at the brand-new Grand Spiegel area. Their macabre set entertained a full-house, with the crowd laughing, dancing and singing along.
The after hours brought the wild forest in the Hidden Valley to life. Revellers danced late into the night to the sounds of DJ Francesca Lombardo and Flying Sorcerer, lit with bright colours and accompanied by aerial acrobats.
Hercules and Love Affair warmed up Saturday’s atmosphere with their LGBT disco music until the Caravan Palace set the crowd on fire with an energetic electro-swing performance. The band’s French singer, Zoe Colotis, was unstoppable, dancing all over the stage as she sang to her last breath.
A beautiful and mellow set from singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey, formerly of Portico Quartet, closed his tour. Electronic art-pop artist Róisín Murphy’s extraordinary, chameleonic act saw her mastery of fashion, comedy and passion made her show on of the best a quirkiest of the whole weekend. In addition, funk legend George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic collective put on an assured and celebratory show.
Sunday was a day of relaxation, sipping a frozen Margarita at the Juke Joint stage while listening to the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir and Jazz Brass Volcanoes, or trying the blindfolded multi-sensorial experience of the BitterSuite sensory concerts, where the performers broke the boundaries of the stage.
Finally, Seun Kuti and Ben Howard’s evening performance closed the most refined and cultural festival of the season. Swimming, sunbathing and drinking champagne at the beautiful estate was the perfect way to relax and reflect upon the experience, after the string of long partying nights. Wilderness festival did not disappoint.
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio
For further information about Wilderness Festival and future events visit here.