For those of you who know me, I like a festival – but not the ‘real’ festivals. I like festivals like Coachella where I can dress up nice and stay in a hotel. I like festivals like Wireless and Lovebox, which are single day events that don’t require me to sleep in the grass (unless I pass out in my front garden) Just kidding of course. I live in London, my front garden is concrete.
Well NEWS FLASH, I've finally found a full-on festival that I can get on board with! For those of you that I DIDN’T hound via Instagram and Facebook, I went to Wilderness Festival the other weekend. A camping festival in the middle of leafy Oxfordshire.
I genuinely expected to hate it, and not enjoy the camping experience but I completely throw my hands up in the air and admit it. I was wrong. I had a great, comfortable time camping and it was the best festival I’d been to.
I already wrote a big love letter to Wilderness in my weekly article for Yahoo!Style (read about The Rise Of The Lifestyle Festival here) – but here’s a more personal approach, from a big non-camping, non-nature loving individual like myself.
Before August, the only real camping experiences I’d had were on D of E expeditions at school (yup, I did this for 2 years – mainly because it was the only activity that we got to do with the Boys school!) Safe to say, my experience of camping is not a fond one. Fortunately my friend Sarah is a Glastonbury veteran so gave me all the TOP TIPS.
Basically, as long as your tent is big enough and you're warm and drunk enough - it's all goood. The facilities at Wilderness festival are excellent. The toilets are emptied several times a day, so much that the portaloos don’t even smell. Not even of that horrible blue bleach stuff – they’re just fresh EVERY time.
It’s not Glastonbury, you don’t end up with nowhere to camp if you don’t turn up on the first day. There’s different zones – including quiet, family and boutique zones. Just make sure you know how to put up your tent! I left that one to Sarah.
Everyone recommended an air bed but to be honest, they are too heavy to carry so I bought one of those self-inflating foam mats (which are basically like a regular mat but once you open a valve they get a little bit more squishy). Totally worth it, much better than a normal foam mat and only about £7 more.
Also - this bottle from Chillys Bottles is a lifesaver. It's a revolutionary flask that keeps cold water ice-cold for 24 hours and hot water hot for 18 hours. You don't need to freeze it or any planned prep like that - just fill it and enjoy the chill! I put water in it last thing before bed and it was gloriously cold in the morning, even though the tent was an absolute furnace.
Oh, and the good news? The big size holds a WHOLE bottle of wine.
I also brought along this Zerreau Towel Off Shampoo - the little version is only about £3.50. Basically you rub the foam into your hair and then towel dry it for clean, lovely smelling hair! I love the concept - but you have to have a really absorbent towel (even kitchen towel works) and it's not particularly great on fine hair. However, it works well on thicker hair like mine which is stuffed to the nines with dry shampoo...
A few things we got up to...
|Mass yoga in the morning|
|Neals Yard Workshop|
|Deliciously Ella X Neals Yard beauty launch|
|The Saturday Spectacle|
The best thing for me about Wilderness Festival is that it's not just about the music. Whilst the majority of my festival experience involves getting pissed up and jumping around to the only song in the set that I ACTUALLY recognise, Wilderness offers a great deal more than that.
Obviously it's still a music festival and there is still plenty of jumping around but there's also a WHOLE other wellbeing/cultural programme which I was really into. And this is me, whose idea of fitness and culture extends to "doing a mini ab crunch from slouch position to reach my snacks, as I watch Netflix."
Whilst I love the idea of going to the ballet and becoming a bendy yoga babe but they're things I just never get round to. At Wilderness, we stumbled across Morning Mass Y0oga and then nursed our night-before hangovers whilst watching contemporary dance and drinking ice-cold fruit cider. HOW LOVELY.
We also went to listen to a couple of talks and we ended up at a Neals Yard workshop making our own natural bug repellent spray. All whilst under the glorious glow of tipsyness. THIS is a festival?!
One week later, I've made myself a YouTube playlist of yoga videos to do in the morning (eventually will start), made my own natural facial toner with essential oils and googled 'how to make beetroot hummous' - so it's been eye opening in more ways than one!
I would definitely consider going again next year - with MORE extravagant costumes and, hopefully, a better yoga technique..