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I’ve left London for five days to sleep in a tent in a field, eat five meals a day, listen to lectures in a marquee, and dance with wild abandon under the stars. Yup, it’s Wilderness again: a festival for the arts in the parkland of Cornbury House in north Oxfordshire.

My sister and I set off on Thursday afternoon in my tiny car, with every shelf, kneehole, and seat back crammed with a tote bag of STUFF. We squeezed in Posetta Baddog in her dog box, and drove up to my father’s house in Northamptonshire, where I made the very wise move of swapping my car (and the dog) for his beast of a Jeep. There’s a hurricane warning in place for Sunday, and there would be little hope of getting my car, with its extremely low slung chassis out of a muddy field. And, of course, there’s a lot to like about driving a car with that much power under the throttle.

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After an epic Tesco stock up, we then drove cross country to my mother’s cottage to drop off a shopping load for her – she’s in hospital for a knee op and I worry about her carrying heavy groceries down her car-free lane. After filling her vases with flowers, stashing her bedside table with chocolate biscuits, and walking Billy the Whippet, we finally set off on the last hour of our journey, south this time, towards Cornbury.

Our accommodation is in boutique camping, thanks to the lovely people at Smashbox UK, who are making us up each day at the festival, as well as all the festival goers: their make up artists are roaming the festival giving makeup touch-ups through the day, and there’s also a Smashbox retail yurt up by the Secret Forum, with make up appointments for £10, redeemable against purchases there and then.

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This is our tent:

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We settled in slowly on Thursday night by booking into the Moro tent for a five course Morito sherry tasting feast, and then rolled off to bed in our red lodge. Sis got lost for thirty minutes on her way back, so she is now banned from going anywhere on her own. Contemplating making her a bedazzled leash in the Accessorize crafting atelier later this afternoon.

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It pelted down with rain last night, meaning we missed seeing all the bands on the main stage – although Metronomy sounded great from a distance…it’s beautifully sunny again this morning (Saturday) but this news from the papers is not filling me with hope that tomorrow will be dry. Thank goodness for our Jeep-load of Barbours, Hunters and bin bags.

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Today we are all about the festival glamour: we’re having our make up done by Emma White Turle for Smashbox (think a LOT of sequins and eyelash action), before heading off to the Mulberry picnic, hosted by Cara Delevigne in the Walled Garden. After that I’m planning on checking out the Pavlova menu at the beautiful  Laurent-Perrier Orangery – before drinking our LP Champagne during Book Slam with Irvine Walsh, and heckling my friend Matt Rudd who is also speaking then.

This evening it’s all about the dancing and the fun – Burt Bacharach is tonight’s headliner, and the Box are getting up to their usual shenanigans in the circus tent.

I just really, really hope it doesn’t rain again: it’s tricky busting a move under an umbrella.

 

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4 comments

Reply

Bertha may be a bit rough.Have fun and be safe.
All the best
James

Reply

You always make everything sound so glamorous even a potential hurricane in a field!
WEM (Sara)
x

Reply

Wow – it looks great! Hope you survived the hurricane. We were at another festival and our gazebo metal work snapped right in half on the Sunday morning 🙁 not fun!!

Rosie xx

Reply

I was one of the lucky girls (in the blue wig!) who got to enjoy the incredible Polpo feast on Sunday night. I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you- we had an amazing evening, the food was so scrumptious and we met some lovely people. It really was the perfect ending to a such a fantastic weekend! Hope you had a great time- and maybe see you out in the wilderness next year 🙂 Jess xx

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