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Culture, Music

Wilderness 2023 Closes Triumphantly

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Electrifying performances from The Chemical Brothers, Christine and the Queens, Fatboy Slim, Sugababes, Arlo Parks, Confidence Man, Franc Moody, The Zombies and more on the Wilderness Stage.

Surprise performers including Benedict Cumberbatch, Noma Dumezweni, Emma Corrin, Claire Foy, Taron Egerton, Jordan Stephens, Dolly Alderton and Sinéad Cusack took to the stage for return of Letters Live. Three new gastronomic concepts this year saw Olia Hercules, Jeremy Lee, Patrick Williams, Dom Fernando, Anthony Demetre, Adam Handling, Masaki Sugisaki, Imogen Davis & Ivan Tidsall-Downes, Joe Woodhouse, Christina Soteriou and Sarah Turner cook up a storm for guests. Crowds flocked to tantalising performances in The House of Sublime from the likes of Haus of Fatale, The Cocoa Butter Club, Queerdos Cabaret and more.

Wilderness marked its twelve season in spectacular style, with an extended weekend of fresh and progressive multi-arts programming, rich with vibrant new venues, world-renowned musical talent and a first-class culinary line-up; once again cementing itself as an undisputed highlight of the summer festival calendar. The enchanting surroundings of Cornbury Park became the backdrop for a sensational line-up of diverse, multi-genre talent across the weekend – including electrifying performances from headliners The Chemical Brothers, Christine and the Queens, Fatboy Slim, Sugababes, Arlo Parks, Confidence Man, Franc Moody, The Zombiesand more on the Wilderness Stage. On Saturday evening, festival-goers were wowed as a 500-strong cast of drones took to the night’s sky for The Wilderness Spectacle. Created in collaboration with SKYMAGIC, the world’s leading aerial light show studio and team behind King Charles III’s coronation drone display, crowds were wowed by illuminated sketches across the night sky, from a soaring phoenix to swirling luminous shapes, transporting all watching to a wild new universe. After sundown, The Valley came alive, with crowds raving into the early hours on the forest dance floor with Honey Dijon, DJ Paulette, Kerri Chandler, Elliot Schooling & Liam Palmer (Appetite), Storm Mollison and Todd Terry taking to the neon-illuminated forest stage, closing with a hedonistic journey through the History of Rave by DJ legend, Eats Everything. The Atrium, where world-class arts, musical magic and hilarity meet, curated yet another memorable line-up across the weekend. Highlights included the return of the ever-popular Wilderness favourite, Letter’s Live, which saw a diverse array of outstanding, surprise performers including Benedict Cumberbatch, Noma Dumezweni, Emma Corrin, Claire Foy, Taron Egerton, Jordan Stephens, Dolly Alderton, Sinéad Cusack and more take to the stage to share remarkable letters written over the centuries to a captivated audience. Bringing fine dining en-masse with unique dining experiences packed with globally renowned chefs and the UK’s hottest news names in the culinary scene, Wilderness delivered three new innovative gastronomic concepts this year. Olia Hercules, Jeremy Lee, Patrick Williams and Dom Fernando treated 390 diners each to mouth-watering four-course dining experiences at the Wilderness Long Table Banquets; Anthony Demetre, Adam Handling and Masaki Sugisaki cooked up a storm for guests at The Chef’s Table; and The Wilderness Kitchen partnered with the Social Pantry to serve up vegetarian and vegan feasting from Imogen Davis & Ivan Tidsall-Downes, Joe Woodhouse, Christina Soteriou and Sarah Turner. The Forum, the festival’s HQ of talks, debates, panel discussions, welcomed internationally renowned activist, model, writer and broadcaster Munroe Bergdorf, who joined Travis Alabanza in conversation; bestselling author, broadcaster and host of the hit podcast How To Fail chatted to Times Radio journalist, Hannah MacInnes; and EarthPercent joined writer and broadcaster Gaia Vince, discussing ways the music industry can engage with the climate crisis.

Across the field, The Books Tent, curated by East London’s Phlox Books, hosted inspiring discussions from the likes of Gina Martin, Aja Barber, Charlie Mackesy, Maddie Mortimer, Iona Mathieson (SAGE Flowers), Courtney Daniella Boateng & Renee Kapuku (To My Sisters), Charly Cox and more.

On the sunny grounds of The Playing Fields, a field dedicated to spectacular silliness with an action packed spectacle of games and fun hosted once again by The Bearded Kittens who played host to a long-standing Wilderness favourite, the legendary, infamous cricket match.

As the sun sets on this roaringly magical long weekend of naughtiness, frivolity and wholesome hedonism, Wilderness looks forward to welcoming guests back with open arms in 2024.

EARLY BIRD TICKETS FOR WILDERNESS 2024 ON-SALE 10AM WEDNESDAY 9TH AUGUST - MORE INFORMATION HERE

Image credit: Fanatic

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