Chill out, eat well, rave and maybe even and actually learn something from this clever, cool gem of a festival that takes literature, food and art as seriously as the music.
If you notice London's food scene is a little quieter than usual in the first weekend of August, there's probably a simpler reason than you think: all the coolest people are at Wilderness. This Oxfordshire festival, while not a food festival specifically, has always been known for bringing some of the best talent in the London food scene and ushering them into marquees and tents for show-stopping feasts and banquets.
Starting out in the early 2010s, Wilderness was arguably the first festival to put as much thought into its food as its music, and certainly the one that brought smart and thoughtful food – from traders to headline names – to the forefront of the festival experience. The result has been a festival that blends a bit of everything – from big-hitting acts on the main stage to live podcasts and debates, cultural activities and workshops, and world-class food and drink – into one weekend celebration in the beautiful surrounds of Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire. As much as they can be, sun and good vibes are usually guaranteed.
In the daytime, music-wise, there are two main stages to choose from, as well as a host of other smaller stages dotted about the festival, and this year's headliners are arguably the biggest and best the festival's ever put on, with Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers and Christine and the Queens taking to the Wilderness stage for the last sets of the day. Elsewhere, neo-soul artists Pip Millett and Arlo Parks, party duo Confidence Man and pop throwback Sugababes complete a cracking line-up.
Other than food and culture (and, er, streaking during the cricket) the other thing burnishing Wilderness's reputation is its after-hours music scene, where the well-to-do nature of daytime events give way to a party and rave scene with a truly uninhibited and carefree atmosphere. The heart of the action is no-doubt The Valley, a huge sunken area hidden amid dense woodland where the festival's biggest names – usually house, disco and techno – play to thousands of revellers until the early hours. Past headliners at The Valley have included Honey Dijon and Eats Everything – who reappear this year – as well as Groove Armada, and US DJ Todd Terry completes a line-up that'll have a third of the festival needing a wild swim the next morning. The party can also be found at the LGBTQIA+ hangout the House of Sublime (one of the best parties at the festival, full stop) and even a legendary tent from champagne house Veuve Clicquot, reliably banging out some of the best beats.
The food, then: past years have seen reliably excellent traders serving from breakfast till the early hours, but the real draw is big-name chefs like Olia Hercules, Jeremy Lee, Adam Handling and Anthony Demetre in addition to top caterer Social Pantry.
General camping is included in the ticket price, but those who want to make things a little more luxe can choose from everything from a pre-set-up tent in Meadow Camping to Airstreams, boutique tipis and an RV park.
Bring swimwear – a dip in one of the two lakes is the ultimate cure for the previous night's ills. And on the food front, book early for long-table banquets and feasts, as they tend to sell out fast.
Full lineup here.
How do I get there?
For more detailed directions visit the website
General Camping is £229.50
When can I get them?
Tickets on sale now