Cricket matches, kay-laying, skinny dipping, laughing yoga and The Voice of Aunt Bessy, getting a child to read a story about a 'Dog that has Two Dicks' - all in a weekends work for Jack Wade at Wilderness
The tone was immediately set within the first 5 minutes, when my vision (amongst everyone else’s) was awkwardly unable to avoid a male nudist, rather nonchalantly, strolling through a crowd that had a dominant family presence.
It had an atmosphere that was so relaxed people were standing horizontally. You’d see groups sitting for hours on end, engrossed in their own company, feeling no need to be somewhere at any dedicated time. This was the beauty of Wilderness at its simplest, it was purely about enjoying your surroundings, and not being dictated by a line-up that had you trekking from stage-to-stage, to get a miniscule view of someone you semi-care about.
The main-stage tended to be filled with spectators choosing to sit and admire rather than stand and shove, and when those who were ready to stand, it seemed they’d adopted the P.E.-like method of making sure the person either side of them was a nice arms width apart.
Throughout the weekend, the Victorian charm of King Charles filled Wilderness with chirpy spirits through the infectiously catchy 'BAM BAM', 'Loveblood' and a socially current re-working of Billy Joel’s 'We Didn’t Start The Fire'. From then, it was onto London born beauty, Lianne La Havas, who delivered a set full of elegance and heartache, and also featured fellow Wilderness performer Willy Mason, on the endearing 'No Room For Doubt'.
The very much-hyped Jake Bugg, had more than a sizable crowd jittering along to his simplistic sound of Dylan-esque Country, and Britpop Oasis tones. Whilst both Aussie contingents Temper Trap and Cloud Control, stormed through sets that consisted of a more amplified and electric sound than their contemporaries’.
The weekend provided further performances from: Spirtualized, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Wilco, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Oxford quartet Stornoway, who had a girl of 3 or 4 on her mothers shoulders singing along word for word, whilst looking in disgust at other spectators to whom the band were unkown.
Amongst the array of music that was on show, there were many-more things that this Oxford based festival had to offer. For the children that attended, I feel sorry, because any school fete they go to from now on, will be of no comparison, with activities consisting of: cricket matches, camel rides, boating, entertainers and a monumental amount of bubbles.
The same goes for the older generation, and any big festivals. You’d have The Folk Guild erupting with large slapping echoes of hand on flesh, the pulsating sounds that would last a life-time (and wishing it actually would) down at the Valley and just the general dress-up of the crowd could keep you enticed in curiosity of, how? How can anything get any better than this?
Even those inevitable morning downers could just be washed away by a quick swim in the lake and glance around at the greenery that surrounded. Also, it is worth noting that Wilderness was part of the World’s Largest Skinny Dip.
If Wilderness were to be a supermarket chain, it would be Waitrose, clean and classy, with plenty of an organic offering. Overall, Wilderness has a weird-wonder and beauty that can only be fully described and understood by experiencing it yourself, so buy a ticket.