Wilderness festival returned to Cornbury Park from 1-4 August 2019 for a ninth sold-out edition. More than 10,000 guests were welcomed to the beautiful location for a world class line-up of musicians, culture, arts, wellness and food that once again cemented Wilderness’ status as an unmissable event in the British summer calendar.
Unforgettable performances came from headliners Bombay Bicycle Club (making their live return after a four-year hiatus), Robyn and Groove Armada on the BBC Sounds Main Stage, which also played host to acts as diverse as BAFTA-winning composer Olafur Arnalds, singer-songwriter Freya Ridings and Ivor Novello recipient Tom Odell.
Meanwhile DJs Erol Alkan, Honey Dijon and Richy Ahmed took to the decks to keep the party going well into the night while those looking for revelry of a different kind headed to the Atrium for a Ronnie Scott’s takeover headlined by jazz sensation Incognito.
Bigger and better than ever, this year Wilderness played host to four new music stages showcasing fresh and up-and-coming talent from a huge range of genres. Among the standout performances was Ghanaian electro-rap act Ata Kak while outstanding dance sets came from Kim Ann Foxman, Hannah Holland and Eats Everything.
Of course, there’s much more to Wilderness than just the music. Over the past few years it’s gained a well-earned reputation as one of the UK’s best foodie festivals and 2019 didn’t disappoint. Guests wise enough to book in advance were treated to Michelin star-level tasting menus by the likes of Tom Aitken, Angela Hartnett, Petersham Nurseries, James Knappett of Kitchen Table and Berber & Q’s Josh Katz.
Meanwhile, more casual dining was offered by some serious culinary heavyweights including Pizza Pilgrims, Patty & Bun and HotBox. Further foodie inspiration came courtesy of Guardian Feast which served up funny and insightful talks from Felicity Cloake and Grace Dent.
As always, culture also took centre stage at Wilderness 2019. The hugely popular Letters Live returned with captivating readings by Olivia Colman, Jennifer Saunders, Minnie Driver and Adrian Edmondson while Audible Live offered a series of intriguing (and packed-out) talks, interviews and panels with guests such as Rose McGowan, Adam Kay and Lily Cole. Elsewhere, light-hearted entertainment came in the form of an Alternative Miss Wilderness contest, the annual Wilderness cricket match hosted by Bearded Kitten and 1,557 people breaking the Guinness World Record for largest spooning cuddle.
Wellness, too, played a large part in the agenda this year. As well as the ever popular lakeside hot tubs, guests looking to recharge after the hedonism of the night before took part in mass yoga sessions and breathing workshops before indulging in rejuvenating massages and spa treatments.
See how Gentleman’s Journal kicked off Wilderness weekend at our Long Summer Lunch at Blenheim Palace…