We can't start talking about festivals early enough here at Time Out. So we’re cock-a-hoop to bring you the line-up for this year’s Wilderness Festival, which takes place at its traditional home of Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire from August 2-5.
At the top of the bill are this year’s main stage headliners: Dan Smith’s anthemic Bastille crew, electronic dreamweaver Jon Hopkins and the unstoppable Chic ft Nile Rodgers. Supporting is a muscular core of acts from across the musical spectrum: there’s powerful composer and saxophonist Kamasi Washington, hilarious and heartbreaking singer Baxter Dury (on incredible form lately after his ‘Prince of Tears’ album last year) plus Chk Chk Chk and hugely soulful star-in-the-making, Mahalia. Special shout-out to IAMDDB, the Mancunian hip hop star who’s set to own 2018.
As ever with Wilderness, though, music is just one part of the programme. There’ll be activity from arts institutions like the BFI, the Royal Academy of Arts and the V&A, plus a return of Letters Live – which sees actors of the calibre of Cumberbatch reading from great works of literary correspondence. Wilderness is also a foodie haven, and this year there’ll be long-table banquets from Yotam Ottolenghi, feasting tents courtesy of Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano and Homeslice, plus chef’s table dining courtesy of Sam Buckley from Stockport’s well-regarded Where the Light Gets In.
At the back of the site is The Valley, where things get ravey late into the evening. Groove Armada, Severino and Peggy Gou are the first DJs to be announced, with more to come. And finally, there’s The Atrium, which always presents a fun spectrum of music and arts. This year, the great Pee Wee Ellis (saxophonist with James Brown during the Godfather’s pomp) rubs shoulders with The Wilderness Orchestra and performances programmed by Sadler’s Wells – perfect for dance fans with London withdrawal symptoms.