The future of music festivals has been a much-discussed topic this summer. Having been involved with festivals for many years and seeing them grow in popularity to become such a significant part of the events calendar, it has become increasingly clear that diversity and creativity of content is essential to their success.
The festival-goer should never be underestimated and in the current economic climate, where people are being more particular about where they spend their hard-earned pennies, we are constantly learning and striving to make sure our festivals remain relevant to meet the demands of an extremely savvy and discerning audience.
I found visits to Glastonbury so inspiring (who wouldn't?) and loved its layered approach. Moving on to actually run stages at Wilderness and other festivals including Lovebox, Lost Vagueness and most importantly Burning Man, led me to have a more site-wide and world-wide perspective. Ensuring that every element of a festival fits in with the ethos of the event is so important - engaging the people who want to spend time in our community on every level.
The key ingredients for a great festival include good partnerships, creative crews, lots of imagination and a true love for the arts and music. Our focus with Wilderness was to put on a festival which had the outdoors at its heart and soul - a simple but hugely important element of festivals that deserves to be celebrated. Cornbury Park is breathtakingly beautiful and we are delighted to have it as our home.
Having extremely creative and talented people who put their heart and soul into the event is essential and ultimately determines what people experience on-site. Our crew and creative teams love the event so much that they work tirelessly, knowing we will support them to make their dream plans become a reality. Being a part of making the party is amazing fun and hard work but when we see our audience appreciate everything and can see just how much effort, detail and love has gone in to it then that's the best feeling in the world. After all, without them there would be no party in the first place!
As a small festival, Wilderness' appeal is not dependent on the headline acts but on all the diverse elements of the festival working together. Wilderness brings together arts, theatre, talks, parades, music, food, debates, cinema, late night parties and well being and festival-goers can instantly see where their money has gone with such a wide offering on-site. Wilderness will always be defined by passion and imagination and award-winning curators pioneering arts in breathtaking landscapes. The music is a significant aspect of the event but we don't prioritise single elements of the festival programme. No individual area is more important than another - we bring together everything and enjoy every single bit of it!
This year's line-up combines long table banquets from renowned chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, Fergus Henderson + St John and Valentine Warner plus a souk dining tent from Moro, music from Rodrigo y Gabriela, Wilco, Spiritualized, Lianne La Havas, cinematic spectaculars from Future Cinema, workshops with the Idler Academy and School of Life as well as a Lakeside Spa. It's this range of offering and originality of content that we believe leaves people with an amazing memory and one that makes them want to come back and do it all over again.
Wilderness is a celebration of the arts and outdoors bringing together music, food, theatre, cinematic happenings, talks and debates and the great outdoors at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire 10-12 August. www.wildernessfestival.com