Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wilderness Festival 2012

Last weekend I did something completely out of character. I closed down my email, switched off my computer, packed the car and I forgot about work. Really forgot about work and I never do that. My inability to switch off is quite possibly the trait I dislike the most about myself but I'm my own boss and the buck stops with me. I have a family to support and I do what I do to provide for them. That's what I tell myself at least.

I packed the girls into the car and off we went to the stunning Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire for the Wilderness Festival
This was to be my first festival experience with children but even more epic than that, this was to be my first camping experience with children.

Luckily we were spending the weekend in the company of a seasoned camper with a tent big enough to accommodate us all. (Us all equals, Biba, Betty and me and camping Jedi Claire with her mini me, LL thrown in for good measure.) 
What she failed to tell me was that she usually turns up after her strapping husband had dealt with the tent creating and the beer has hit the perfect temperature for consumption.

We didn't give up though (because we had no choice) and after battling with the tent for over three hot and sticky hours, victory was ours and the Wilderness called.

By Friday evening the site was already buzzing and we flitted around before settling with some friends outside the amazing Bubble Inc emporium, complete with a bubble master who could have easily given Johnny Depp's Willy Wonker a run for his money. The girls were hooked. All three of them and time flew past.

Playing bubbles at Wilderness Festival
Biba playing bubbles
The big Friday night event was Secret Cinema's Bugsy Malone. Yes, we've already seen it twice but this promised to culminate in the biggest splurge fight ever. It's what attracted us to the festival in the first place but kicking off at 11pm was simply too late for families. We were disappointed to say the least.

On Saturday morning our first priority was to fill up with food. We planned to head straight over to the dedicated children's area so that the girls could unleash their creativity for a couple of hours whilst we showed minimal input and had a good old gas.

Sidetracked by a sign for THE VINTAGE FESTIVAL, we changed direction, took in the cool vintage market and chanced upon a tent dedicated to children's craft activities. Free children's craft activities and the girls were off in a flash.

The Vintage Festival at Wilderness
Making stuff 
Betty and LL went off to make stitch-less tu-tu's but eagle eyed Biba spotted a Dr Marten's T-shirt that was about to be cut up and 'up-cycled' into a knitted, faceless, brand less, scarf. She swooped like a true fashionista, fluttered her eyelashes at the knitting circle and in under a minute the T-shirt, in its oversized glory was residing about her person.

It's interesting to see this brand love blossom in her. Earlier this year she sketched out a boot design idea, found Dr Martens address online, put her drawing in an envelope and posted it off to their head office. 
As a parent you presume that's that. But not only did she get a reply via email. She also received a handwritten letter from the head designer and a bag of Dr Marten's goodies. 
Because of that I really do believe that she will be brand loyal for life. I know that I would.

Saturday evening after an exhausted LL was tucked up and snuggly in her pushchair we headed back over to the Vintage area. The girls went to their first ever roller disco and we drank cocktails whilst nodding to 80's disco in the dark. Happy days...

Wilderness Festival Party animal
When you are 2, the party only lasts as long as you do...
After a spot of vintage tea dancing we were ready to drop and once again missed out on the Secret Cinema show. We trundled back to our tent as eager party goers, dressed to impress passed us on their way to the secret masked ball by the lake.
No Cinders moment for us though. Back at the tent, we toasted marshmallows, giggled and flaked out for the night.

Sunday morning and we were off for a swim. We'd used diversion tactics for most of Saturday but there was no getting out of it. Tent packed, cars packed, off we went, following the woodland trail down to the stunning lake.

Waterfall at The Wilderness Festival
Wilderness Lake
The girls were in like a shot. I abstained, but then I know how cold and grim lake water is and I have no wish to put even a toe near it again - ever!

Swimming in Wilderness Lake
Wilderness swimming
If I'm honest, Wilderness Festival was over too soon. We had a really good time just chilling and chatting, with no agenda, no work, no phones and no worries and it really was just what we needed. We were so slack that the pictures here are THE ONLY ones we took and we always take photos, of everything. 

That said, there were things that weren't perfect like the emphasis on late night activity, the lack of toilets, advance schedule information, the fact we didn't see Bugsy Malone and... well that's it really.

It's quite something to witness a festival from the absolute, polar opposite, demographic than you are used to and as the late night party animals started to surface late on Sunday afternoon, I wouldn't have swapped places with them for the world.

Will I go back to Wilderness Festival next year? YES, absolutely and as it was sold out this year I suggest you think about getting your tickets now. You won't be sorry.

Read Claire's review over on Bambino Goodies.

Disclosure: I attended the festival on a family press pass. All words and views expressed are my own unless I stole them from Claire or the girls.


  1. I'm glad y'all had a good time but what were they thinking putting on something at 11pm?!?!

  2. Awww this has made me all warm and fuzzy.

    You forgot one thing though.... COCKTAILS!!!!

  3. Well we better go back next year so I can get the facts in order... I also forgot to mention resting the hot frying pan on my thigh and splatting that hot marshmallow on my jeans:)

  4. 1. That bubble picture is fantastic
    2. I still want to see the Bugsy Malone thing. Shame on the organisers for having it at 11pm - that's poor.
    3. Amazing update about DM's - well done to them!

  5. It was fab to see you but far too brief. We will be back next year too, let's make a date! We were fed up about late night Bugsy too, made it difficult juggling teens, tween and tot. But everything else made up for it!

  6. Looks like you all had a fab time. I am loving the bubble picture. x

  7. This looks like a fantastic experience, the photos are cool. I love the lake picture, even if it was freezing!

  8. Looks like a fab festival! Love the photo of the bubbles too


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Appreciated as always. xx


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