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Wilderness Festival - Cornbury Park, Charlesworth, Oxfordshire. 4th....7th August 2022

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 5 / 10 / 2022

Wilderness Festival - Cornbury Park, Charlesworth, Oxfordshire. 4th....7th August 2022


Nick Dent-Robinson is impressed by this year's highly unusual Wilderness Festival, which as well as sets from Underworld, Years and Years and Sophie Ellis Bextor, included a lecture from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, celebrity cooking and a streakers' game of cricket.

Wilderness Festival has to be one of the UK's most glamorous, flamboyant and creative music events. This year it was held from 3 – 6 August at its usual attractive venue, Cornbury Park near Charlbury in the heart of Oxfordshire's Cotswold Hills and it attracted over 20,000 people during its four days of weird and wonderful fun in the sun. Many felt this year's Wilderness was the best one yet. It was brought to a close on Saturday night by dance icons Underworld - Karl Hyde and Rick Smith – who whipped the crowd into a frenzy with an exhilarating set of pounding rhythms. There had also been headline sets by electronica act Jungle and by 'It's A Sin' actor Olly Alexander's electro-pop band Years and Years whose elaborate stage show featured roller-skaters in risque attire and motorcycle helmets! Moloko star Roisin Murphy was performing as were Grammy-award winning record producer and DJ David Morales, Laura Mvula, South Korean DJ and dance music producer Peggy Gou, former Maccabees member Orlando Weeks, soul & funk afficionado and comedian Craig Charles plus the crowd's favourite, kitchen disco queen, Sophie Ellis Bextor. After her fantastic performance, Sophie was enthusing to me that the sheer variety of entertainment at Wilderness makes it one of her and her family's favourite festivals. Some more unusual names contributing to the event included actor Damian Lewis expertly playing jazz to a packed tent of fans, Oxford evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins encouraging glitter-strewn festival-goers to ponder the meaning of life and explore their true values plus comedians Russell Kane and Suzi Ruffell sharing their insight on the state of the world. There were scantily-clad cabaret acts, serious rave activity in a steep wooded valley, a full-scale cricket match complete with streakers plus numerous long-table feasts prepared by some of the country's top chefs. As usual, a smattering of celebrities joined the fun including fashion model and racing driver Jodie Kidd, Strictly Come Dancing's Tess Daly, model Liz Hurley, presenter Vernon Kay, 'Killing Eve' star Jodie Comer, former prime minister and local resident David Cameron plus actors James Norton, Helena Bonham-Carter and Claire Foy. Festival boss Rory Bett agreed 2022 had been a vintage year for Wilderness. “The audience at Wilderness is what powers the show and this year has just been amazing. We'd all like to thank everyone for making it such a memorable weekend. See you all in 2023!”

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Wilderness Festival - Cornbury Park, Charlesworth, Oxfordshire. 4th....7th August 2022

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