THE man behind one of Oxfordshire’s biggest music festivals – Wilderness – believes the event can still go ahead.

The music and arts event is set to take place on the Cornbury Estate near Charlbury, from August 5-8. Headline sets will come from DJ Jamie XX, rapper Loyle Carner and live drum & bass act Rudimental.

Rory Bett, chief of organiser Mama Festivals and VIP Nation Europe, said: “As we remain confident that Wilderness will go ahead, we are thrilled to be throwing wide the gates to the stunning Cornbury Park Estate once more to a sold out show.

“The response to this year’s line-up announcement has been humbling, making the team even more determined to make this tenth year of Wilderness, the very best yet.

“We are hand in hand with the Chief Medical Officer and the Government in terms of how we need to progress and what measures we will need to undertake to keep everyone safe. We will be releasing up to date information closer to the event.

“Everyone has experienced hardship during the past months, we have endured a pandemic, we are mostly vaccinated, now it’s time for Wilderness and the rest of the live events industry to play our part in the process and deliver the social ‘antidote’ and bring us back together.

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“We are so excited about this year’s line up and cannot wait to see the amazing headliners Jamie XX, Loyle Carner, Rudimental and a host of incredible talent take to the Wilderness stage. Music of all genres, wellbeing of all styles, extraordinary dining in beautiful locations and world class street food, theatre, spoken word, dance, games, wild swimming, workshops and the stunning landscape of Cornbury awaits.”

Many other festivals have again postponed their events due to the ongoing pandemic.

Also booked to play the festival are Kidlington reggae selector David Rodigan and his Outlook Orchestra, Irish dance music stars Bicep, London disco-funk duo Franc Moody, multi-instrumentalist Georgia, jazz talent  Alfa Mist, Irish rockers Picture This, Americana artist Katy J Pearson, Holly Humberstone CMAT,Weird Milk and singer-songwriters Charlie Cunningham, Jodie Nicholson, Joseph Reuben and Lyra.

Famed for its DJ sets, this year’s parties will be presided over by funk and soul lover Craig Charles, Grammy-nominated house and techno DJ Nic Fanciulli, and Portuguese tropical jazz and soul DJ Mafalda.

There will also be sets by Worldwide FM DJ Luke Unabomber, London’s Dom Chung, The Blessed Madonna, Jayda G and Eats Everything who will perform in the festival’s Hidden Valley – an elaborately illuminated ravine surrounded by trees and lit with lasers.

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The festival’s strong programme of intellectual pursuits and spoken word performances will continue, including a repeat of its popular Letters Live shows, which have previously hosted A-list stars Olivia Coleman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley and Russell Brand. As previously, the line-up is kept a tightly kept secret.

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Also returning will be its gastronomic line-up, with long table banquets, which this year go fully vegetarian and vegan with feasts cooked by Helen Graham, Robin Gill, Lee Westcott and wild food restaurant Native.

A smaller Chef’s Table restaurant will cater for just 26 diners at a time in a venue overlooking one of Cornbury’s lakes. Chefs include Michelin-starred Mei Mei founder and ex-Masterchef Elizabeth Haigh, Osip founder Merlin Labron-Johnson, and Brad Carter of Michelin-starred Carter’s of Moseley.  

There will also be shows by the 47-piece Wilderness Orchestra, cabaret, comedy, an unusual Miss Wilderness event and talks and debates – with a line-up including His Dark Materials creator Philip Pullman in conversation with BBC producer John Lloyd.

Tickets have sold out.