The first Wilderness festival took place just five years ago, but it’s already an institution of the British summer thanks to its killer combination of great music, a beautiful site, arts and culture and amazing food. Nevertheless, we’ve got to ask: could this year’s Wilderness be the best so far? We reckon it could, and our main reason for that is… Björk!
Yep, the queen of Iceland (that’s what Björk is, right?) headlines Wilderness 2015, and she’s got a well-earned rep for a spectacular live show. We have no idea what she’ll do to bring her new album ‘Vulnicura’ to life, but we bet she’ll be wearing something amazing.
Björk’s possible rivals in the costume department include George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, as the cosmic funk legends perform a show called ‘Return to the Mothership’, and Andy Butler’s New York disco troupe Hercules And Love Affair. There’s more than enough heartfelt crooning on the bill, too, with Ben Howard triggering mass singalongs and Benjamin Clementine bringing his unique voice and knotty songs to Oxfordshire.
Also on the bill you’ll find Mercury-nominated singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey, piano innovator Nils Frahm and arse-kicking multilingual dance crew Ibibio Sound Machine, plus edgy pop prince Shamir, Icelandic singer-songwriter Asgeir, and hotly tipped electronic songstress Låpsley. In the Hidden Valley area of the site, shamanic disco demon DJ Harvey will be spinning grooves, while housier DJ sets come from Kim Ann Foxman and boogie duo PBR Streetgang.
Located at the heart of the site is the hugely popular Bandstand stage, which this year boasts a wildly eclectic programme: Norwegian synthpop artist Aurora, immersive, risqué cabaret from Lady Austin, Snoop sing-alongs from Hip Hop Karaoke, vintage dance at Swing Patrol and more fun than should rightfully be allowed on a relic of the Victorian age.
It’s another killer line-up of acts, then, but Wilderness is as much about eats as it is beats. As ever, the big draw is the programme of long-table banquets, presided over this year by culinary legend Raymond Blanc, Angela Hartnett (of Murano fame) and Sweden’s Niklas Ekstedt, the Michelin-starred chef behind one of Stockholm’s hottest restaurants. You’ll need to book a separate ticket for any of the feasts, or simply graze on the various street food trucks dotted around the site instead.
The other bits
Away from the main stage you’ll find decadent parties, theatre, opera, arts and crafts, cinema, fire-walking, flamenco classes, an erotic literature salon and yurt-building. Get thoughtful at a range of talks and debates: TV historian Dan Snow and trigger-happy comedian Dom Joly are a few of those who’ll be chatting and pondering. And let’s not forget the lakeside spa.
Wilderness festival sells out every year, so book now to get out of London (and out of this world) this August.